Steam Spookeasy's New Album In Full.
This Friday in Dallas, spacey pop-rock outfit Spookeasy will be releasing their debut full-length with a celebratory event at La Grange. Produced by Eric Harvey of Spoon, Faux Show is a big leap from the band's self-recorded EP, their only other recording to date. The sounds on the slick new disc run the gamut from garage-y Velvet Underground-inspired blues, spacey pop, Black Angels-style psychedelia, and, of course, some Spoon for good measure.
Before that release show, though, the band has been kind enough to pass along an exclusive stream of the entire record for us to share with Central Track readers. Give it a listen at the end of this article.
First, though, read our Q&A with Spookeasy guitarist Logan Kelson, who spoke with us about working with Harvey, what it's like being in a band with your girlfriend (Kelson is dating Spookeasy frontwoman Stephanie Burns) and the young band's already impressive, Spinal Tap-like streak of replacing drummers.
How did you guys get hooked up with Eric Harvey and get him on board to produce the project?
A lot of that has to do with the Local Yokel Show podcast, which isn't doing programming as frequently as it once did. We met Tom [Bridwell] kind of randomly through some friends, and they record that show at his house. He asked us to do it, we looked it up and noticed a lot of other good bands had done it, so we thought it'd be good.
During our interview, they found out we were looking for a new drummer and Tom was like 'Well, I'll drum for you for a while. And I'll help you make a record.' So we had Tom on board, and we knew we were going to make it at his place — at Tomcast Studios.
During pre-production, we were shooting around Salim [Nourallah] for a little bit, and Tom was friends with Chris Holt, but he was not really up our alley. Then, obviously, [John] Congleton was kind of booked as big he is right now — as was [Stuart] Sikes, who was working with Somebody's Darling.
Eric was cutting part of his solo record at Tom's place at the time, so that's kind of how that all worked out. He had produced his own stuff, but he had never produced a band before.
Me and Stephanie are big Spoon fans, so when it kind of worked out where, since he was available, it was a no brainer.
There is a lot of obvious Spoon influence in your music. What was it like working with Eric?
All of my really close friends — including Stephanie — are all really big Spoon fans. I liked them, but I didn't own every record and I couldn't sing every lyric to every song or anything. When we started working with them, we already had the bulk of the record written.
I started really listening to Spoon hardcore when we knew we were going to work with him because I really wanted to find out what that sound was. Once we were making the record is when I started to really like Spoon a lot. Probably a little too much. I probably shouldn't have been listening to it too much while we were recording, but I didn't really care. I didn't want it to necessarily sound like Spoon. I wanted it to sound cool. When you listen to Spoon records, they all sound really slick and cool. I wanted the record to sound good, but not too good — really slick but also kind of dingy. Eric kind of got that right away.
Before we started making the record. we wanted a really garage-y, psychedelic sound. We wanted to sound really Velvet Underground-y, but the thing is we weren't really writing Velvet Underground-y songs. I think we ended up with a really nice marriage of this clean production mixed with really cool, dingy sounds. It did end up sounding kind of like a Spoon record.
You guys go through a lot of drummers. How does that affect your band's dynamic?
We've been a band for two years and we've gone through four drummers.
It's kind of a lot for a band to absorb. It's kind of like a new drummer every six months, so you're always gaining and losing a new sense of identity. You kind of want to find out who your band is and what you sound like and what you're going for. When it has this rotating member thing happening, it's hard to get that launched. Drummers are good musicians and definitely a necessity when it comes to being in a band, but we can't let this member, or lack thereof at times, get us down.
We've talked about using drum machines and samplers and laptops, but we didn't really want that. Especially Stephanie. She's pretty adamant about wanting to be in a rock band and to have a person with a heartbeat and a soul. Every time we went without a drummer, it would only be a couple of months before we found somebody. We've been kind of lucky where other people have heard that we were looking and came and volunteered, like Jordan [Williams] from Hormones or like Adam [Locklear] from Rocket Arm or even Tom. We've been really fortunate that these guys were in our corner and that they believe in us. It's been nice not to have to get on Craigslist or put up an ad at a Guitar Center.
What's the dynamic like being in a band with somebody you're also dating?
This is a lame answer, but it's kind of 50/50. It's going to have its negatives and it's going to have its positives. When the wheels are running really smoothly, things between us go smoothly.
It's hard not to bring the music side of things into the personal side of things.
There have been times when we're not seeing eye to eye on something musical, and we'll have to remind ourselves that this is a band problem and not a you and me problem. We're not mad at each other personally, we're just mad that we can't get a certain gig or things like that. Sometimes you don't want to be around your bandmates all the time, but you live with your girlfriend, so you have to be around her.
Writing is the most rewarding part. Writing and recording, for sure. That's when it's always going to be at its best because we're getting to be creative together. Even if it's just recording a demo at home on our Mac, that's really nice. That's good for a relationship, I'd say. It's like if you and your girlfriend were both really into hiking. You're doing something together, you're accomplishing something together. It makes you feel good about each other and respect and like each other even more.
Lots of our buddies in bands don't know how we do it, but you just kind of have to shrug that kind of stuff off.
Has Stephanie ever come to you with a lyric that makes you think, 'Oh that line was about me or this one thing I did?'
Those moments do happen, but I try not think about it. I try not to be conceited and think it is necessarily about me or the way I do this or the way I do that. If I see a lyric that she's written and it hits kind of close to home, nine times out of ten if it makes me cringe a little. But it probably means that was a really good lyric.
You just have to step off the boyfriend high horse and just realize that if it does come across that way, then it just means it's a good lyric. And it probably means it's a little more true, and you probably need to keep it in there.
The LP has a lot of different things going on than the EP. For instance, there are few songs on the new album where you sing.
When I'm writing lyrics, which isn't super often, I try to write them with Stephanie's voice in mind.
I don't really have a problem singing in front of Stephanie or her family, but I've never really thought of myself as a singer. I like to be a guitar player. It's kind of my thing. But I always have to sing the songs I write to her — just to see what she thinks of them. I could just sit there and hum, but if I already have some lyrics, then I just go ahead and sing them so she can have a better idea of what I'm going for.
I sang [“We Don't Sleep in the Night”] to her, and she was really supportive and thought I did pretty good singing it. She thought I sounded good on it and I didn't really mind singing it. The words were kind of fun — there were a lot of words, and most of our songs don't have that many words — and that song was kind of more talking than singing, so my nerves weren't as bad.
The rest of the band heard it and was like, 'Go for it.' I'm not really looking into singing a whole lot more in the future.