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Spencer Withey

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Describe your music in three words

Sleepy, simple and cosy

Can you tell us about your new release?

This release is my first crack at properly releasing a solo creation. This past year has forced me to become self-sufficient when composing and not rely on other musicians to write with. This change has been quite fun as well as very complicated and difficult for me when arranging songs; a big part of my writing and recording is always to aim to generate a life and soul of a jam, I find it hard to jam within my own head sometimes while I get distracted by everything around me.

 

Both sides of my single reflect different personal feelings from the last year and both these sides reflect my different flavours in terms of my musical styles. Side A with ‘I Wanna Love You’ is my optimistic approach to lockdown, drawing from a strangely, optimistic and up-tempo selection of vintage crunchy funky sounds. Side B with ‘inside’ is a more introspective creation for me and depicts 80s style jangly guitars with some softer and more distant dreamy melodies. All together, this single is my very own time capsule of the last six months and I am big happy to be releasing it properly.. whatever that means nowadays!

The single has a wonderful 60’s feel in the way it has been recorded, can you tell us about that? 

I wish I could shake this 60s sounds obsession off.. but  I suppose I grew up with it and it is stuck for life.

I have always loved 60s music and I never really got into any newer stuff until a couple years back. My ears are buried heavily in the heavenly sonics of Abbey Road and Motown studios - I have the musical taste of a seventy year old studio engineer with a large and dusty record collection.

 

In my own studio I have a 1980s Akai 4000D reel to reel tape machine - I use this to add tape character when I mix. I use the tape machine to create my own organic delays and feedback - a technique associated with early reggae and dub which I also love. Tape is fun but it can also ruin a track… I tried to use it tastefully and not overly lo-fi my music to the point where it is inaudible!

You grew up around the Reading music scene, tell us about your memories of live gigs & your favourite venues

I grew up in Reading although I am actually from a small town twenty minutes drive away. When I was 17 I began volunteering at The Rising Sun Arts Centre as a sound engineer, then working with Heavy Pop at Are You Listening Festival whilst as a technician at Oakford Social Club and South Street Arts Centre - this experience was great for meeting new young up and coming bands and was a big part of my growing up and moving away from small town life and college 

- not that I have grown up just yet.. I still piss about with sound all day and night just as I did then.. I am 21 now!

 

Weirdly - I have probably only ever been to around 4 gigs in Reading that weren’t the ones I was doing sound at though; I always ended up working my weekend nights doing the sound and never got to be a standard gig-goer. Being a soundie is often better than being a standard gig-goer though; you can nearly always see the band and you are usually in the best spot in the room for the sound.. ‘usually’.

What music/artists influence you the most? 

Tame Impala would be my biggest modern psych influence. He is the ultimate bedroom producer as he shows it is all possible to write, play, record and produce all at the same time.. whilst all on his own - everyone else collaborates in their own way whilst he does it all by himself. Other modern artists I have listened to and learned a lot from include Mac Demarco, War on Drugs and Willie J Healey - they all have these strangely modern sounds with a vintage structure and framework to base around. I want that sound, I love that sound, I steal that sound, I take that sound!

 

Has lockdown effected the music you are choosing to listen to?

I think it has. I have noticed I am much hungrier to discover new music than before. I spend a lot more time listening to radio like Radio 6 and Boogaloo Radio; scouring for new tunes and styles to be inspired by outside of my normal reach. I am interested to see how this will influence my next single - I am starting to get into Daft Punk now they have split and some more dance influenced bands.

Do you prefer the creative side of recording or playing live gigs?

I probably maybe think that I prefer gigs, it's less pressure and less  time consuming.. but in reality I love the creation of being in the studio. Nothing is better than being at my desk having full control over a session and being able to take a song in which ever direction I fancy.. I cant do that on stage. Also, I find small gigs can be so uninspiring and pointless usually - no one shows up and there is often very little atmosphere (Obviously I mean pre covid aha!). Nothing worse for a young artist or band is to be playing to constant empty rooms; it makes you feel like your music is trash and no one likes you - its probably true but I’d rather not find out if it applies to me yet!

 

What are your plans for 2021?

To release regular singles and music and EPs and albums and collaborations and remixes etc. To build and grow a small audience of real human people who enjoy my type of niche music and to not give in to the pressures of life (whatever these are, still yet to find out!) and to not be disheartened by a lack of success in the streaming department (1000 streams on a song would be like getting to number one TOTP for me!). Create a music page for music that I am all proud of - not sell out and start making trap rap crap clap to get sound cloud streams

Name a couple of other music acts that we should check out

I think you should honestly check out Deja Blu and Memory Farm. We have them both on our 7" vinyl at Cosmic Sounds Records, they are both great artists in totally different ways. Deja Blu are a deep, hazy dream whilst Memory Farm are a distorted, scary nightmare of sound. I mean you have to like the sound of at least one of those descriptions??

'I Wanna Love You' & 'Inside' are out now!