Spring King interview: Elton John actually asked for some vinyl and CDs

Spring King on their debut album, meeting Elton John, the influence of Brian Wilson and more.

Jimmy Coultas

Last updated: 10th Jun 2016

Image: Spring King 

It was only a year or two ago that Spring King were plugging support slots aplenty in Manchester, their frantic surf-punk sound occasionally subsiding for an extremely well-earned slow-jam.    

Stretching from then to now, Zane Lowe stirred up a cross-Atlantic whirlwind when he played 'City' (listen below) as his first track on Beats1 radio. Then more recently they went for holy grail; just announcing their debut record due in June titled Tell Me If You Like To. 

Read about details of Spring King's autumn tour

The band have already unveiled multiple slices of the pineapple via singles like 'Rectifier', 'The Summer' and 'Detroit' - each of them salt-sprayed summer anthems ready to steamroller festival season and eventually a trip to the land down under. 

In anticipation of what's to come and on the back of a Jools Holland outing, we caught up for a chat with the band about all that is Spring King and the possibility of guitarist Pete's Dad adding that all important sax-appeal. 

In your infancy we saw you play varied support slots from DIIV to Mac Demarco, how has life on the road as a headline band been treating you?

Life on the road as a headline band has changed from tour to tour. We’ve seen the fans grow and grow over the past year or so, to the point where the crowds are singing every word and really getting into the sets. It’s been a bit of a life changing experience for us.

We’re grateful for the fans we have, and that’s what keeps us going on days where we’re stuck at a motorway service station at 4am having not slept for 24 hours. I feel most comfortable on the road at the moment.

A lot of the dates are down south, as a northern band are you encouraged when your support spans the country?

We started out playing in Manchester and London mostly. As things have grown we’ve tried to get out to new cities as much as possible. We’ve always wanted to play as many towns and cities as we can, and as the music has slowly seeped into new ears we’ve found ways to make it work to visit new places.

You’re off to Australia in July, how excited are you to be heading down under?

None of us have been to Australia, and I think it’s going to be a wild one! We’re playing Splendour in The Grass as well as two other shows in Sydney and Melbourne with Beach Slang. I’m excited to see what the music scene is like there and also to hang out with old friends like Fraser A Gorman and hopefully the CB3 crew.

How was it be invited to play on Jools Holland and how was the experience?

Jools Holland was an incredible experience. All the artists were so friendly and the crew were really professional. It made it easy for us to give it all the energy we had. The response to the performance has been really positive, we’ve had a lot of fans messaging us since.

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Elton John was also on the bill, did you speak to him at all?

Yes! He actually asked for some vinyls and CD’s. He was really friendly and interested in the music.

Speaking of genius pianists, you’ve recorded a track for Huw Stevens’ session that’s broadcast on Wednesday (18th May), what was that like?

We did a piano session for Huw, the first piano session we’ve done too… Sometimes it can be hard to translate our energy to piano and acoustic guitar, but I think we did it well! Huw has always been supportive of what we do, chuffed he had us on the show for it.

You’ve also been recording your debut album, any bathrooms involved this time around?

We recorded the album between my house and Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire. A lot of the vocals were done back at mine as well as ‘City’ and ‘Who Are You?’ (listen below) which were both completely recorded at my house.

We’ve always used the bathroom for the drums because that’s where they used to be set up and it was an ease thing. The future stuff will probably be recorded in a new space, I want to always challenge our sonic identity in new ways.

‘The Summer’ was Radio One’s track of the day, you’re getting a lot of exposure in all the right places at the moment, how exciting are things for you guys right now?

If you had told me a few years ago that recording garage songs in my house would bring us so many great moments, i’d have laughed. This has all been quite unexpected for us. We’ve always kept our head down and played as many shows as we physically and financially can make possible, and it’s slowly paying off. The best bit about it all for me is playing the shows and seeing people enjoy our music.

The track is your homage to Brian Wilson, why is he such an inspiration to you?

When I first heard the Beach Boys I was a kid but didn’t really hear much more than ‘I Get Around’ and ‘Good Vibrations’. When I was about 24, for some reason, I decided to listen to some more and it blew me away.

I wasn’t really into songwriting before hearing Brian Wilson’s compositions. Something in the productions and arrangements struck a chord with me and I became hooked on the balance he created in his music.

With your album coming out and plenty of festival dates it’s going to be a big summer for Spring King, which date are you most looking forward to?

I’m really looking forward to playing Reading Festival and Leeds Festival again this year, as well as visiting new festivals like Bestival. Australia is going to be crazy and supporting the Kaiser Chiefs is going to be just as mad! We’re very lucky to be playing so many great shows.

Perhaps the most important question, will Pete’s dad be playing a cameo role like at Reading & Leeds? 

Steve will most definitely be making cameo appearances this year, but when and where will have to be a surprise... 

Spring King go on tour this Autumn, but you can see them at Reading Festival and Leeds Festival alongside other shows - for more info head to Spring King tickets.

Like this? Try Watch Spring King perform live on later... with Jools Holland.

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