In the nearly fifteen years since the release of its debut album, Telephono, Spoon has grown to become one of the biggest and most respected bands in the indie-rock pantheon. This year's Transference is arguably the band's best record yet, a challenging, surprising and thoroughly excellent rock album that incorporates the best moments of Spoon's storied history into one cohesive statement of genius. We spoke with Britt Daniel to get the story behind the new work.
Westword: This the first album the band produced on its own. How did that contribute to the end product?
Britt Daniel: We've been co-producers on every album but the first one, but this is the first one we've done without any outside heavies at all. We ended up using a lot of what on other records would have been demos; we ended up just using that stuff as part of the record. I think that lends a more sort of spontaneous feel to the record. A lot of the singing on those songs is me singing it when I was actually writing the part. When that happens, there's a way you sing under those circumstances that you'll never be able to do again.
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Each of your records seems to have a unique aesthetic that's always connected, yet distinct from the others. Is that intentional?
I think it's just been the natural progression, you know. I'd love to, at some point, say, "Okay, we're going to do an R&B record," and then go do it, and do it really well. But usually the way it works is, we're kind of desperate for songs that are good enough to go on a record, and we're just working for those ten, eleven, twelve songs, whatever sort of style it may be.
You're one of the longest-running acts in indie rock that still seems really vital and relevant. Is there a perspective that comes with that?
One thing we decided several years ago was that it has to be fun or else we don't want to do it. I know that when we started out, there were a lot of things that weren't fun that we just did because we thought we should. I remember, maybe around the Girls Can Tell/Kill the Moonlight time, I said, "We should just do what's fun." Not that any part of being a band is really actually painful, but there are parts of it that make you feel a little creepy if you don't mind what you're doing. I was just watching The Hurt Locker the other night; now, that's a hard job. I've got nothing to complain about.