Interview: Spring King: “When you love something, perseverance is second nature”

Spring King: “When you love something, perseverance is second nature”

Tarek Musa joins DIY’s 50th issue bash as he gears up for the release of that long-anticipated debut album.

The steady approach might have defined Spring King’s first few years, but things hit warp speed quicker than the Millennium Falcon making a hasty escape. The first band to be played on Apple’s earth-shattering Beats1 radio station, it was that which formed the spark on their well-soaked petrol rag. Since then, they’ve inked a major label deal, though not before making one possibly over-excited punter at one of DIY’s Don’t July To Me Baby shows mutter, “They’re the hottest unsigned band right now.” How very Zoolander.

We’ve followed them every step of the way, tracking an evolution like few others. We’re like proud mummies and daddies here at DIY, and thankfully Tarek still thought us cool enough to pop along to DIY’s 50th issue bash. Maybe. He might have just had nothing else on, in all honesty.

In 2011, they were: Tarek Musa was patching together early Spring King demos after standing out as a production whizz-kid. He was still practising his best Phil Collins impression, mind you.

Right now, they’re: Signed to a major label, Zane Lowe’s favourite new band, the best singing drummer extravaganza since that gorilla in the chocolate advert. What more could you ask for?

What’s the best thing about being in Spring King?

For me being on the road with the band, playing our music to people, and travelling the country is always fun. We have a great time on tour, something always happens which is either funny, challenging or surreal; even the long drives have positive value to them. I like the production side of Spring King too, being in the studio exploring ideas and playing with gear brings up a lot of lightbulb moments.

What have been your favourite / most surreal / most silly moments of the past few years?

I think our first proper tour ever with Courtney Barnett was a huge learning experience and a favourite for all of us, something we’ll never forget. We were touring in my mum's car and we could barely fit everything into it, not to mention the five of us, you could do nothing but laugh at the situation!

Last year we played at MIDI Festival in France which was beautiful, that was a favourite of mine because the festival and the surroundings are so stunning. It was surreal being on a stage that overlooked this picturesque town at sunset whilst we were playing ‘My Sleeves’ of all songs.

If you could relive any day from the past five years again, what would it be and why?

Either the first day we all had a band practise way back when… or I’d relive the Beats1 experience, that was just one great, huge head-fuck.

“Supporting bands is how scenes are started and movements are made.”

Which forgotten bands of the past would you like to see come back?

I’m not sure how forgotten they are but Rage Against The Machine, Capdown and Fugazi. I want At The Drive-In to come back too; I know they are this year, so I'm excited to see them play. There’s a lot of bands like Cap’n Jazz, Small Brown Bike, Cursive, Bad Brains… I’m basically listing my teenage years here.

If you could give yourself one piece of advice when you started out, what would it be?

I’m not sure if I’d ever give myself advice. Maybe I'd tell myself to “persevere with whatever it is that you care about”.

If you could pick one album you loved as a teenager, and make it compulsory listening for future teenagers, which one, and why?

At The Drive-In, 'Relationship of Command'. I love all their albums, but this one in particular had so much energy. I’d listen to it every day, to and from school. When I got home I’d just try and find as many videos as I could of them playing live. I’d always end up watching their Big Day Out videos over and over, it’s those videos that inspired me to express myself musically.

At The Drive-In - Arcarsenal (Live @ Big Day Out ‘01)

“Loving what you do is enough for someone to take notice.”

What does a new band need in order to ‘make it’? Time and space? A stroke of luck?

For us it’s been unpredictable at a DIY level. Loving what you do is enough for someone to take notice. When you love something, perseverance isn’t even a thing you consider, its second nature. You need to be involved in every aspect… not necessarily controlling everything but making sure what it is you want to get across is expressed through the music, artwork, mixes, etc.

Which three new acts are the most exciting, and why?

Sheer Mag are exciting, i’m gonna be spinning their stuff all summer. The Big Moon have a sweet live show, you gotta check them out if you haven’t! Whitney because they have some great tunes, including their cover of 'Southern Nights', and they’ve got a drummer/singer too.

How important do you think it is for bands to support one another?

It makes sense to support a band you’re friends with or you enjoy listening to. That’s how scenes are started and movements are made.

What’s your favourite music venue in the world and why?

It was the Kazimier in Liverpool which recently closed down. Some of the greatest nights were had there. I remember seeing Thee Oh Sees there and the place was going nuts. Second to that would be La Maroquinerie in Paris, which we played supporting Slaves. Both the venues have an interesting layout which creates both a distance from the band if you’d like to watch from the back and also an intimacy because there are so barriers if you want to be in the pit or close up. We’ve had some great times in both.

Taken from DIY’s 50th issue special, out now. Subscribe to DIY below.

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