Spirit Animal Talks With TMI About Their New Album
Answered By Cal Stamp from Spirit Animal
Hey Guys!! So excited to be chatting with y’all! What led to you guys forming Spirit Animal? What’s the meaning of the name “Spirit Animal”?
Funny story. Steve actually started the band after a chance encounter with a twelve-point buck in the California wilderness. My understanding is that he was living in Los Angeles, having kind of a rough time, and considering a move back East. He went for a hike at a nearby state park in search of peace and clarity, but instead got hopelessly lost in the woods. After hours of aimless wandering, he stumbled into this big, majestic deer. They stared at each other for a moment, then it took off into the underbrush. Steve followed and somehow managed to find the trail again, making his way back to civilization. After that he packed up his shit, moved to New York, and started Spirit Animal.
How did you guys all meet & become a band?
As a matter of fact, I almost didn’t join the band. When I first heard the music, I thought it was really cool but didn’t see where I fit. It was very synth-driven and esoteric, whereas I’m a pop-minded guitar player. But then I went to see them perform at a little club called Pianos in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The whole show was super high-energy and over the top, with Steve stomping around in these huge boots and doing ridiculous high-kicks. That’s when I decided I wanted to be a part of the band. I just wanted to have as much fun on stage as they were having.
Can you tell us a little something about each of you? How would you describe your musical style as a band? What artists/bands are you influenced by?
Paul’s roots are in the DC hardcore scene, Ronen is a Berklee College of Music grad, Steve grew up on a steady diet of rap music, and I worship Tom Petty. It’s an eclectic mix, but it works because we all share the same goals. We all want to make high-energy music with big choruses and clever lyrics. We all want to push the envelope a little bit, and we also want to push ourselves and each other. Each of us has had a pretty profound creative influence on the others. Having all those different backgrounds at our disposal really helps us grow as writers and performers.
Are there any projects in the works you guys can tell us about? Are you planning to go on tour to support your new album?
We are about to put out REBORN YESTERDAY, which is a deluxe re-release of last year’s Born Yesterday. It’s got all the songs from the original record, plus three new tracks that we’re really excited about. We are also releasing a video for Painkiller, directed by the talented Carlos Lopez Estrada. (He made a great indie film last year called Blindspotting.) Both the album and the video drop September 20, and a week later we head out on the road with Theory of a Deadman.
What’s the best thing that has come out of this career so far? What’s your biggest struggle in this career so far? You have worked with some well-known producers and songwriters. What have you gained from working with them?
For me, the best thing to come out of our career has been all the great relationships we’ve developed with other talented writers and producers, and of course all the cool music we’ve made together along the way. We wrote and recorded this album at studios all over the country. We flew in and out of California in one day to do a six-hour session with one of our favorite producers, Ricky Reed. We wrote a couple songs in Tenacious D’s rehearsal studio in LA, a couple more in someone’s basement in Nashville, and another one in a beautiful loft apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. The creative process has been a literal adventure. The greatest challenge is, as always, getting that music heard. But that’s why we do what we do. We love to tour and perform in front of new people and meet new fans. It’s a challenge worth accepting.
What are some of your hobbies?
We do a lot of hiking on tour. This country is so vast and beautiful, and we are lucky enough to see a lot of it when we are on the road. We try to make it a priority to visit as many state and national parks as possible whenever we are on tour for an extended period of time. Whether it’s the Oregon coast, the Colorado Rockies, or the Utah desert, there is just so much to see. We are also pretty into sports. Paul, Steve, and I have a music business fantasy football league that we participate in every year, so we end up watching a lot of football and talking a LOT of trash.
Does your fan base have a name? How do you want your relationship to be with your fans? What social media platform do you use most to stay connected to your fans? What was the craziest fan encounter you guys have had?
We have an amazing, dedicated fan base called the Spanimals. It’s been incredible to watch it grow. It’s a really warm, welcoming community that travels all over the country to meet up and hang out at our shows. Some of them have even been getting Spirit Animal lyric tattoos, which is pretty crazy to see. We make a real effort to stay engaged with our fans, whether its in person at shows, or online via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. It’s important to us to have a good relationship with the people who listen to our music.
What impact do you want to leave on the world?
When I was in younger, I struggled with anger and depression. When I felt lost, my favorite bands gave me a sense of meaning and purpose. Now I’d like to be able to pay it forward and offer that to the next generation of music fans.
What goals have you guys set out for the band?
We just want to tour, write, and record. And maybe pay the rent, too. As long as we are accomplishing those goals, we are living the dream.
Do you guys have any advice for aspiring music artists?
Be great at your craft, meet as many people as you can, and above all, be very, very patient.
Do you have any last things you want to tell your fans?
Come see us at the merch table after a show! We love connecting with our fans, so there’s almost always gonna be one or two of us standing back there after we finish playing. You don’t even need to buy anything, just come say hi!