A Better Life
A BETTER LIFE: SIGNED LP
A BETTER LIFE: SIGNED CD
A BETTER LIFE: SIGNED CASSETTE
A BETTER LIFE: SIGNED LP, CASSETTE & US VS THEM TEE
A BETTER LIFE: SIGNED VINYL, SIGNED CASSETTE & ZINE
A BETTER LIFE: SIGNED CD, SIGNED CASSETTE & ZINE
A BETTER LIFE: SIGNED CD, SIGNED CASSETTE & T-SHIRT
A BETTER LIFE: SIGNED VINYL, SIGNED CASSETTE & PATCH
A BETTER LIFE: SIGNED CD, SIGNED CASSETTE & PATCH
The Hum has my favourite kick drum sound on the album. Every time I press play and hear that kick drum I smile. I wonder if I’m the only one? It’s just so aggressive and satisfying. It makes me think about the difference between the way a musician or artist hears and enjoys their own music and the way it’s heard by everyone else. There tends to be a gap between the intentioned meaning of a song and the way it’s read but I wonder how specific production choices are heard and how important those choices are in the success of a record. When the production is right it can elevate a song.
When Tarek is working away on sounds I don’t really have the technical prowess to tell him what it is that I like or don’t like about a sound – how to e.q. or compress something – but I know what feels right and we agree 99% of the time. Having a shared vision for what a Spring King song should sound like is so fundamental to enjoying what we create. It must be tough for other bands who work with external producers. Having to not only find someone who understands and can share in your vision but is also someone you don’t mind spending hours in darkened rooms listening to the same 5 second guitar clip 100 times over and over on repeat.
The riff in ‘The Hum’ started as my attempt to write a Spring King version of ‘Bodysnatchers’ by Radiohead. That Radiohead riff is one of my favourite of all time. I love the way it moves in a krautrock-y way. James is especially into bands like Can too so we wanted to try and bring a little of that feeling into this record somehow. You might not get that from the track but that’s how we envisioned it initially!
The outro of the song, right after the final chorus, is possibly my favourite moment on the album. There’s this strange whirling electronic thing moving up and down. In the studio we referred to it as the robot bagpipes. It was discovered by Andy in a moment of madness. He was on his hands and knees late at night twisting and kicking his octave pedal. I remember sat watching him silently, smiling at the strange monster he was creating. I love you robot bagpipes. I hope we can hear more of you someday.
Memory is weird. When I think about our song ‘Animal’ the first thing that comes to mind is sitting on a broken grey settee in our writing room in London with James and Andy standing next to me, our knees almost touching. We all had guitars in our hands and were playing the verse riff of the song. Round and round and round. Andy was gritting his teeth. James had his hair over his face (as he often does) and was rocking around doll-like. It just felt fun to play. The best riffs feel fun to play.
When Tarek was recording the drums for the demo we talked about wanting the song to start with a memorable fill. Every time we play Rectifier live there’s at least one person in the crowd air drumming the first fill of the song. It’s funny to see. Before we’d even written one note of the new album me and TJ had spoken many times about what we wanted to try achieve but also what kind of musical details we wanted to include. More big weird fills was right up there for both of us. I love Tarek’s bombastic drum style.
After the drums were done I sat outside on the floor of our balcony with a guitar trying to work out a chord progression for something else. When I stepped back inside Tarek had basically freestyled the melodies and lyrics off the top of his head. It was pretty raw but a lot of the ideas stayed and made it onto the final recording.
We’d also spoken about wanting to incorporate more harmonies and gang vocals this record. It’s something we’d been doing live for a while anyway, but had never really captured on record. As a band we love the Beach Boys for their songwriting but also their vocal harmonies. Dirty Projectors as-well. And the Four Freshman! There’s so many greats that inspire. I love singing without words too. Chet Baker would often sing trumpet solos. Now I’m not saying we even get close to any of the bands or musicians, but the spirit of what they do is something that we think about when arranging backing vocals. For me music is at its purest when the singing feels honest and lucid.
The final memory of Animal that jumps out is when Tarek sent me the first mix after we’d been to a residential studio and re-recorded everything properly. It sounded so raw and exciting, beyond my expectations even. I had my headphones on and was jumping around my parents house in bliss. Its the best mix Tarek has ever done and felt like the perfect introduction to A Better Life.