Until about a month ago I had not even heard Spirits.
Then I ended up doing a trade with a friend overseas and got talking about Hardcore.
He was telling me how very little new Hardcore is his thing but this band Spirits were the shit so of course I gave them a try and I really like them.
Got straight in contact with the band and had a bit of chat about one thing and another.
DR: First up, do you want to introduce yourself and let us know who’s in Spirits and who plays what?
My name is Robert and I play bass and occasionally sing a part or two in this band. Mike is our esteemed frontman who you’ll often find trying to do mid-air toe touches during shows. Kevin plays drums and really like coffee and ice cream. Last but not least, Charles plays guitar, yells a lot of background parts in songs, and is often seen soaring stupidly high in the air during shows from his years of posi-jump training.
DR: When & where was Spirits born?
Spirits is a pretty young band having played our first show just over a year ago in the fall of 2014. We’ve all more or less been friends for several years and after our old band dissolved we decided we wanted to keep playing music so started Spirits and hit the ground running, so to speak. Since then we’ve played a solid handful of shows here and earlier this year we did a 3.5 week tour of Europe right after our first full length came out.
DR: What was the main style focus you wanted to go for with Spirits?
From the start of the band we all agreed that we wanted to keep playing an amalgamation of melodic hardcore/punk. We don’t try to pigeonhole ourselves though so draw from a lot of influences ranging from 90’s Epitaph punk to early 2000’s hardcore, some mainstream pop influences, and a few other dashes of things mixed in. We basically want to play music that we like, that keeps our attention, and to play it in a very concise and no-frills manner.
DR: What Straight Edge Hardcore bands do you feel have influenced your music the most, and also non HC?
There are so many bands that we draw influences from as I mentioned above, but some notable names would be things along the lines of Dag Nasty, Go It Alone, Faded Grey, Propagandhi, Count Me Out, and things along those lines. We all really like a wide range of music so some elements of things like 90’s radio bands, some mainstream pop, and such are definitely in mind when we get together to flesh out some songs.
DR: You have quite a bit out now, what’s your newest release?
Our latest release is still our LP “Discontent” that came out in May. Since then though we’ve finished a few other releases that aren’t quite out yet, but they’re finished technically. We have two new split 7″s with a total of 6 new songs (3 on each) coming out in the near future, as well as a song that will end up on a youth crew/hardcore comp coming out some time in 2016. We’ve also written a good chunk of new songs for our second LP and will hopefully start to get that fully sorted out in the next 2-3 months.
DR: You guys have some pretty interesting non traditional Hardcore artwork, tell us a bit about the ideas and artists behind it.
A lot of our artwork comes from the standpoint of wanting to create visually stimulating, engaging, and interesting artwork that hasn’t necessarily been done before or that is very non-traditional as far as hardcore is concerned. It has a lot to do with trying to get out of the confines and restrictions that a lot of people try to throw onto the genre and simply wanting to push the boundaries of what people associate hardcore with. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your standard live shot, varsity font band name in bold album artwork, but it’s simply not the ONLY option and certainly isn’t something that has to happen in the genre from my viewpoint.
DR: What are some of the most popular topics you guys like to write about?
Our singer Mike writes the majority of the lyrics for this band and consequentially the bulk of the lyrics are personal anecdotes from his life and experiences and a glimpse through how he views the world. Songs topics can range from political to personal reflection, but with his take on those issues.
DR: You have recently been to Europe right? How was that and what were some of your favourite places and bands to play with?
We went to Europe for almost the entire month of May earlier this year. It was an awesome tour and we all had a great time. It was our drummer Kevin’s first time leaving the States and it was all in all a fun experience. It still blows my mind to think that our little band could go half way around the world to some foreign countries and that people there know our songs and are so welcoming and thankful for coming there to play shows. It really makes the world feel like a smaller place sometimes. All of the shows we played were rad but we had an especially good time in Munich, Zurich, Paris, Prague, Berlin, Krakow, and everywhere in between. And as for some bands people should check out, we’d highly suggest Gone To Waste, Mind Awake, Street Chaos, Almost Equal, and Swain.
DR: Where do you most want to tour with Spirits next?
As a band, we’re most interested in playing shows in places where we haven’t played yet. I’d love to go to Asia and Australia/New Zealand as none of us have ever been there. Same with South Africa. We’re currently in the very beginning stages of planning another European tour for next year that will hopefully take us to a lot more of the often neglected spots in Europe as far as shows and tours are concerned like Scandinavia, some of the ex-Soviet block countries, and things like that.
DR: Off Topic – I see you guys did a Star Wars print shirt, are you big Star Wars fans and what are you feeling with regards to the new movie?
I will say, speaking for myself, I am a big Star Wars fan and have been since I was a kid. The original trilogy were a huge influence on me in my youth and remain some of my favourite movies. I think the new movie looks like it will hopefully be pretty awesome. Episodes I-III get a bad wrap (understandably) and I think the new movie will really be a great jumping off point to continue on with the story that is Star Wars.
DR: What does the future hold for Spirits man?
It holds as much as we can fit into it! Like I mentioned above, we have a handful of releases on the horizon with some new songs and then Discontent is getting an Indonesian release as a cassette, as well as a 2nd press here in the States and then a new Euro exclusive pressing. Other than that, it’s about time to start chipping away at this massive pile of new songs we have to choose what’s going to make it onto LP2 and to see where we can go for some shows in 2016!