Out of London’s DIY scene has flourished a band in Ulrika Spacek that have engineered a mesmerizing, fuzz-driven, avant rock sound that pierces the skin and cuts deep.
Having released debut long play The Album Paranoia (Tough Love Records) in early 2016 to widespread acclaim, the Berlin-born, London-based five piece followed it up this year with Modern English Decoration (Tough Love Records).
A more rich, expansive work that put to bed the ‘difficult second album’ adage with one listen, the album cemented the band’s status as one of the country’s most promising, genre-defying, outfits.
Singer Rhys Edwards spoke Rough Smooth Mag about the band’s current trajectory, touring with Slowdive and the upcoming return visit to Glasgow, where they play The Hug and Pint on Monday 9th October.
Modern English Decoration feels like a more expansive record with different textures and more room ‘to breathe’ than The Album Paranoia. How important was it for the band to really add new touches to the sound, more mikes etc.
“I think texture is something we like about both of those records. But whereas the first is possible more characterised with fuzz, MED has a cleaner but chimey thing going on. We wanted parts to interweave but chime together distinctively.”
You called the second album a ‘5am record’ as opposed to a 1 am record in The Album Paranoia, can you expand on that?
“Referring to the lyrics mainly. There are quite a lot of references to memories of that time in that living room. The album is very much set in that room. The album is a very household album which in part explains the album title.”
And with the second record you’ve maintained that DIY, underground aesthetic that enveloped the first album. Is it a key part of the process as much as the music itself (ie the answering machine preview/artwork)?
“Doing things ourselves is really the only way we know. Tying everything together yourselves makes it more rewarding and something that we can be proud of. Its nice to express yourself in as many ways as possible.”
Thinking back to putting down that first opening riff of ‘I Don’t Know’ have you and the band perhaps surprised your selves in terms of the frequency, level and quality of output you have put out since then in such a short space of time?
“We are just lucky that we kind of hit the ball running really. I’m glad we have managed to get two albums finished in two years. We haven’t started our third album yet, but look forward to start working on it. For the time being it feels good to have those two records out, think they sit nicely together.”
You’re a band that has spent a lot of time and taken advantage of Europe and the possibility of getting out their to play shows. Noticed you are especially big in France. What kind of makes doing so such a fruitful and rewarding experience for a UK based band?
“We love playing in mainland Europe. Its a very fulfilling feeling to return to cities and see an audience grow. On this current tour we have played in Germany more and went to Scandinavia for the first time.”
And how has being on tour with Slowdive seeped into the band in terms of insight into how they operate. I know Rachel Goswell is a big fan of Ulrika Spacek and Rhys even met Christian as part of his thesis?
“They are lovely people. We saw them again recently as we played together at Levitation festival in France. They tour in a nightrider tour bus so have a bit of a different operation. They travel through the night and wake up in a new place. We wake up in a place far from.
“Where we are going and have to get there through the day. It would be nice to play some more dates together in the future. Its nice to see them get a lot of appreciation, in a way that they didn’t in the past. Its nice to see firsthand that music travels from person to person over time, and can connect with future generations.”
You’ve had two really, really great shows in Glasgow at the Hug and Pint. Reflects perhaps a knowledge and love for the band’s music here, helped perhaps by the DIIV support slot also (and the Art School slot with Slowdive). Is is something you’re aware of from your end?
“We have always enjoyed our shows in Glasgow. It has been nice to go there on more than one occasion. Lots of bands say that it is one of there most favourite places to play. We like how its an audience that you have to win over though. You have to earn the right to get that ‘warm’ Glasgow reaction. It is not a coincidence that so many bands talk about it, but it does not come automatically. We like that.”
And with the Ride support slot on the horizon too, what’s the immediate plans post standalone tour and Ride support. Back into producing more music and continuing to bend/defy/dilute music genres and channel more creativity?
“Yes we will take a little while to go off and start collecting ideas in a few different places. We will then get back together and start the third record. After the ride tour we have a big show for us in Paris where we will be putting on our night ‘Oysterland’ outside of London for the first time. This will be us signing off for the year.”
For tickets to the Glasgow show, click here