Interview The Spinto Band

On the eve of their first ever trio of UK shows, DIY caught up with Thomas Hughes (bass and vocals) for a chat.

The Spinto Band

are a sextet who hail from Wilmington, Delaware all the way over in the U-S-of-A. By the end of 2005 they’ll be your new favourite band. They’re already ours: their woozy, hazy pop gems won us over the instant they invaded our ears and their debut album ‘Nice And Nicely Done’ has been on rotation ever since. This Is Fake DIY recently described them as ‘sounding like Burt Bacharach teaching Phoenix to fish while being fed grapes by The Strokes’, but in reality they’re actually way better than that rather bizarre mental image suggests. On the eve of their first ever trio of UK shows, DIY caught up with Thomas Hughes (bass and vocals) for a chat.

How does it feel to be creating such a buzz over here in the UK when you’ve yet to play a show or even properly release your album here?
Buzz is such a difficult thing to gauge, especially when you’re not in the country where you’ve been accumulating it. I’m extremely excited to come to the UK, not just to play music, but for the culture.

Have you been to London before?
I went to London on a family trip once, but I was fourteen so I didn’t really care what was going on.

You’re doing the traditional scuzzy London venues here in England. You’re all still pretty young - back in the US was it difficult starting playing music when you were even younger, especially as most of you were underage?
There are plenty of all-age venues in America so it hasn’t been too much of a problem. There were couple of instances where they wouldn’t even let our younger members inside the club until we had to be onstage - they had to exit immediately after playing.

Are there any other bands from Delware/Wilmington This Is Fake DIY readers should be checking out at the moment?
One of my favorite bands at the moment is a local Philadelphia group called The Teeth. I’m not sure what music here is transatlantic, though. Half-handed Cloud, Why?, and Asleep in the Sea are certainly worth looking at if they haven’t been imported yet.

What was the process of recording your debut ‘Nice And Nicely Done’ in Tennessee like?
It was recorded over various holidays and school breaks. Robin Eaton and Lij were wonderful producers, especially when it came to encouraging and harnessing our creative enterprises. I mean, it really shows in the fact that they let seven unsupervised kids run rampant in a studio full of instruments and recording equipment.

Is it difficult at the moment trying to juggle being in a touring band and, for some of you, your school studies and commitments?
There are definitely times where I have to be doing homework in a dimly-lit club, trying to concentrate over a horrible opening band’s music.

How do your friends react?
Most of my friends are excited, but also (deservingly) make fun of me. As cool as it is for the band to have your photograph in SPIN magazine, it’s also a little embarrassing on a personal level.

‘Nice And Nicely Done’ has had overwhelmingly positive reviews - how does it feel to read all this glowing praise?
It’s always exciting to read someone else’s impressions of your music, even if the review isn’t positive. As lame as it sounds, Googling ‘The Spinto Band’ has become one of my favorite hobbies.

What about the next album?
As far as that’s concerned, it hasn’t been recorded or rehearsed yet, but we’ve thrown some ideas around the mulberry bush.

Do you feel it’s beneficial that you were allowed to tour ‘NAND’ at a grass-roots level?
Absolutely. When releasing something on a smaller scale, there isn’t as much pressure to succeed, thus creating a friendlier and more fun environment to ‘work’ in. If we sold fifteen CDs in a night, it would be considered successful, but I’m sure fifteen CDs to some bands on a major label is a disappointing night.

Talking of labels, how did your partnership with Bar/None come about?
They heard the CD and wanted to put it out. Three of my musical idols started out on Bar/None, so it was like a dream for me to be working with them. It’s also wonderful to visit their website and see our CD sandwiched between Esquivel and Architecture in Helsinki, two favourite artists of mine.

What was playing the huge CMJ music conference in New York like this year?
CMJ was crazy in the sense that there was hardly anytime for anything other than band-related stuff. I didn’t have the time to see any of the bands I wanted to because I always had to be doing something else at the time.

So what does the future hold for The Spinto Band?
Our dream has always lied with our company, Spintonic Productions. We hope to release music, films, and publications once we get the time and startup costs organized.

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