Spring Offensive pair the simple combination of sumptuous vocal harmonies with melodic indie to create music that not only is joyous but meaningful. Against the backdrop of Offensive‘s rhythmic musings, we are treated to emotionally driven stories that address the worries that young adults face – money problems, monotonous jobs and the hideous monster itself, self doubt. But at the heart of everything they do is their quirky British charm and defiant passion for the music they make.
We caught up with the band’s guitarist, Matt Cooper, to discuss how life’s changed since releasing their début album, cover songs, their appreciation for crowdfunding platforms and much more.
You’ve recently been asking fans to suggest songs for the band to cover, as you’d imagine the response has been pretty good. What’s been your favourite or the most random suggestion so far? Are you a fan of reworking songs by other bands?
We’ve picked a song pretty close to our hearts (you will hear what it is soon) but it was a tough choice. There were some pretty astounding suggestions- The Star Wars theme with no added lyrics was a tempting choice.
We like reworking tracks actually, and it is sometimes a nice escape from just being stuck in your own structures and melodies, and get into someone else’s head. That’s why we usually enjoy choosing artists that sound nothing like us. Our last cover for instance was Drake, and whilst we are close personal friends, our music doesn’t crossover much.
You recently released your début record ‘Young Animal Hearts’. Listening back to the album you must be very proud of the body of work you’ve produced, what are your thoughts on the record now that you’ve had time to reflect upon it?
I don’t think we could be more proud of that record. It took us a long time to write and changed shape many many times, but finally got to a place where we were happy with it and it said what we wanted it to say. When you get to releasing an album and touring it, the songs always seem to take on a life of their own. Occasionally you look back on a song and think ‘what the fuck was I thinking when I wrote that?’, but that hasn’t happened yet!
Incidentally, we worked out the other day that, in the career of the band, we have recorded close to 50 songs, but we still struggled to find the right 11 for the album. That’s how picky we are, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
What made you name the album ‘Young Animal Hearts’?
It was one of the track names, and felt like a pretty neat summary of the sentiment of the record.
Is there a particular track on ‘Young Animal Hearts’ that you hold especially close to your heart? Can you tell us a little bit about the track and why it’s so special to you?
‘Cut the Root’ is a favourite of mine. I think it ended up sounding exactly like we wanted it to, which is strangely quite rare. It came from a very honest and personal place and was a joy to write.
(Some tracks are like writhing sea-creatures that you hook on your line and it then takes about 6 months of reeling in, hours of arguments, and a lot of pain to eventually pull on board. When they arrive, they lie on your deck screaming and wriggling and only then can you know you have caught it, and not the other way around. ‘Cut the Root’ was not one of those).
You funded your début record through Pledge Music, and it was clearly a success. Would you recommend this method to other bands that are struggling to raise the capital to make their début record or even an EP?
Absolutely we would. As long as you have people that want to hear your music. Nobody is just going to give you their cash (unfortunately)- you have to tour, and release a bit of music first and get people excited. It is a platform for people with a market but no money.
You recently got the chance to play a session for Daytrotter. They are known for having very good taste and they always pick great bands for their sessions. Do you have a favourite sessions that you’ve heard from bands that have played for Daytrotter previously?
We had a great time with Daytrotter and really enjoyed recording our session. Efterklang is a personal favourite, but I mean, they always sound amazing.
I hear that you’re already chipping away at new material for album no. 2. How’s it shaping up? Are there songs that didn’t make the first record that you might give a shot on the second?
All new material at this stage. Never look back.
When inspiration strikes are you one for opting for the pen and paper or do you reach for your phone?
Anything I can get my hands on at the time. Letters, phones, backs of hands. I try and stay away from ‘lyric books’- too much pressure to write neatly.
What was the first gig that you personally went to yourself as a punter? Do you think your first live gig experience had any influence on who you are today – did it spur you on to start your own band?
I hope not- the first gig I went to was The Eagles at Earls Court. If we sound anything like them, then I quit.
You hear all the time from blogs and music websites, who we tip for greatness in the coming year, so I wanted to turn the tables a little and ask you, who do you tip to be huge or at least break through into mainstream consciousness in 2014?
Chris from the band definitely has his finger on the pulse so this is where I hand over to him “My tips right now would be Lapsley, Georgia Mason, Jack Garratt and Leisure. All completely different, ranging from ambient EDM to classic soul song-writing brilliance. They’re all incredibly exciting and painfully young.”
His word is gospel. I totally second Jack Garratt. Go and listen to ‘Worry’ right now.
If you could choose to have your music featured in any film or TV show, which would you choose?
Would having Werner Herzog making a documentary about us count?
What has being a professional musician taught you about yourself?
At the risk of handing out patronising bullshit advice, I would say you have to try and be involved in as many different projects as possible- don’t be narrow minded or too single focused. You only develop and improve by working with others and mixing things up.
Some of the most brilliant people I have met through this band don’t know whether they are coming or going because of the amount of things they are juggling at one time.
A special thanks to Spring Offensive for this interview and for more info on the band, check out the following links below: