SPOON: BRITT DANIEL The X-Press Interview

Indie rockers and Australian faves Spoon are back with a greatest hits compilation, Everything Hits At Once, featuring one new song, No Bullets Spent. To find out what is currently going on in the Spoon universe,  the band’s plans for their next releases and what the journey has been like so far, MICHAEL HOLLICK sat down with lead singer Britt Daniel.

I imagine compiling a greatest hits disc could be quite challenging. How did you find the process?

Narrowing down the songs was the first difficulty, we have a lot of songs. And then at first my idea was a really long compilation with rarities and b-sides but as time progressed, that concept didn’t seem to make sense with the purpose of this endeavour, (to introduce new fans to the band), so I had to trim that triple disc package down into one disc. Then from that point, there was any number of ways that we could have gone with so in the end we focussed on picking the songs that have lasted the longest in our live sets or were the most immediate in their sound.

You’ve been quoted as saying that you warmed to the idea of a greatest hits compilation when you remembered the impact that owning The Cure’s Standing on a Beach and New Order’s Substance. What was it about that these compilations that stood out for you?

I saw those records as an ideal example of what we would be doing (releasing a greatest hits) because those records worked so perfectly on me. I got a taste of the band and then I wanted to go and buy, or bootleg, every Cure record I could get my hands on. The releases worked so well on me, and for the band too. It was just brilliant, the next time they put out a record they were absolutely huge because of the impact. 

This release features a brand new song, No Bullets Spent. What can you tell me about that?

We recorded a few songs this year as we wanted a new song on the greatest hits and I knew that whatever that song was, it was going to have to be fairly sturdy so as to stand up next to the other tracks. This one really seemed to work, it does feel a bit more of a rock outing and that is a response to the last record which was synth heavy and quite pieced together, less about a band playing together.

The release of a greatest hits often serves as a time of reflection for band. I was wondering if Australia has had any role in the development of Spoon?

We do love Australia, we have toured there after each record and it has always treated us very well. Specifically, I actually started writing the songs for the last record in Melbourne, so there is that direct influence with Australia. We had some shows planned, so I decided to take a long break and go a month early, rent a place in Collingwood and get started on the writing for the record. That was a really good working process too.

What can we expect from Spoon into the future?

I don’t know. I have about as good idea of where we’re heading now as I did when we were starting out 20 years ago. I do know that we’re in the middle of making a record right now, we’ve been working on it since February and we would be working on it now if it weren’t for the greatest hits release. So we have the greatest hits tour now, and it’s actually been quite a bit of work getting all the pieces together for the release, so it’s not a regular year. I know if it were, I’d be at home working on new tracks right now.

Finally, the cover artwork for the greatest hits features a tambourine with eight sets of zills. Is there a reason for the number eight?

Really? There’s actually two copies of the record artwork, one for digital and one for physical. We had the red background but the original image didn’t work, and that’s how we arrived at the tambourine. I mean, I really do like that tambourine. So there’s eight is there?

I was originally thinking it was linked to the band’s nine records… 

Yeah, yeah..  we could make something up like a good conspiracy theory. Maybe I don’t love the first album as much, so this eight is the real deal (laughs).