Ayden John Spiller
Describe your music in three words
Strings, whinge, cringe
Can you tell us about the projects you are involved with & how lockdown has altered their activity over the last 12 months?
Before lockdown, we were in the process of introducing Gag Salon to the world. The band consists of the three remaining Palm Honey members and Tom Dimmock, who was in Raays. After Palm Honey, Joe had put together a bunch of demos and we got back to work. We have a bunch of material ready to go and we had been rehearsing for live shows. Obviously, we were stopped in our tracks by COVID but we’re all itching to get back to it. I’m quietly confident about the project and can’t wait to finally share the result of our hard work. It can’t be rushed, of course, there are more pressing issues happening in the world right now and we need to stay safe, but when we can it’ll be guns blazing for sure.
If it hadn’t been for the national lockdown it’s hard to say whether or not I'd feel the same urgency to write and release my own material. It’s something I knew I always wanted to do but just thought it would come when the time was right. I was just decorating the silence of isolation, not knowing if I’d release anything, but ended up excited at the prospect of sharing the outcome.
Has lockdown varied the music you’re choosing to listen to or create?
What's funny is that I haven’t been listening to a great deal of music. I tend to mostly listen to music when I’m travelling and use my time at home to write and record. It’s difficult to say whether or not lockdown has influenced my writing stylistically but I think there's something to be said for the relationship between the environments you create in and the outcome.
How did you find the experience of making solo music in comparison to creating music collaboratively as part of a band?
It's a very different experience and I’ve come to appreciate songwriting as a craft a great deal more. I’ve started listening to music differently, beyond the sonic packaging and aesthetic, paying attention to how well the song is crafted. I think it’s helped my writing massively and I actively try to not force anything and let the song come out when it’s ready. I’d argue it’s something the artist has very little to do with or at least it often feels that way in a good session.
I think the big difference in comparison to band work is not having anyone to bounce your ideas off, it can be difficult knowing which ideas to see through to the end. Whereas being in a band like Palm Honey, it was easier to tell which ideas weren’t going to make the cut. I’ve played with Joe and Seb (Palm Honey, Gag Salon) for years and much of our connection as musicians is our ability to improvise and experiment, which doesn’t allow for much verbal communication or overthinking, you follow the vibe until something sticks, or move on if nothing does.
Your first single Lazy Boy was released last year, can you tell us about the track?
So Lazy Boy was written as soon as we went into the first lockdown. Like many others, I just went into panic mode and felt like I needed to be doing something. It was so much fun because I’d never sat down and tried to write and produce a fully comprehensive song. I learnt a lot from the experience but it was incredibly challenging trying to do it all myself, I have so much respect for artists that can do it all themselves.
What are you working on at the moment?
Lockdown has made just about everything incredibly difficult, including being able to get into the studio to record (let alone afford the privilege). I decided towards the end of 2020, I’d make some of what I'd been working on available to people regardless of whether or not I could perform them live or get into the studio. There’s an early access version of Small Crown, which is available upon signing up to my mailing list. It’s a part of A/B side single and will be available later this year (I hope).
Do you prefer the creative side of being in the studio or the energy of playing live gigs?
I really miss live shows, even the tedious bits like waiting around and sound checking, there’s an energy about it that I don’t really get from anything else. I think it’s something I'll never take for granted again, maybe even drink less beer to take in the experience more.
I’m equally excited to get into the studio and give this batch of songs the full studio treatment to be fair. I’ve built such a good relationship with my producer Sean Seton, and I think once the world opens up again we’ll be keen to lock ourselves in a room and nerd out over microphone placements.
Name another local act or two that we should check out.
There’s so many! A good friend of mine Jarro released a cracking album last year and I know he’s got some more material up his sleeve so definitely keep an eye out. He’s become somewhat of a creative and spiritual counsellor to me over the years. He’s a fantastic producer and such a kind person, I have so much respect for him.
Definitely check out Joe’s other project J M Hatley too, he put out a two-part single last November and it’s great. He’s someone I admire as a songwriter and since writing my own stuff I’ve come to appreciate just how hard the guy works. I’ve listened to some of his other tracks and there’s one in particular that I love and have to actively try to not rip off.
Music projects aside, JJ Cooney is an artist that’s overcoming the pandemic by taking up other mediums. He’s primarily a tattoo artist but is also a great photographer. He’s the type of creative I’m envious of because he seems to take to just about anything. I managed to convince him to become my photographer and he somehow makes me look great! Some of his prints are available to buy so definitely get them while you can.
Sign up to Aydens mailing list to hear an exclusive preview of his new track 'Small Crown', available for a limited time only.
Photo by JJ Cooney