SPQR – Interview

We recently had the opportunity to chat to SPQR about how their 2018 has been. It’s good news indeed, and next year looks set to be even better! See for yourselves below!

By Jane Howkins

How has 2018 been for you? Any highlights you can tell us about?

Hello! 2018 has been maybe the first year in my adult life where I’ll stand there on NYE, swaying gently in a non-existent breeze and say, ‘Do you know what? That wasn’t so bad.’ Aside from all the usual daily existential dread and mental health grappling that I’m sure we all have to do throughout the year, the band and me personally have had some ‘YES!’ moments. My highlight of the year is losing 2 1/2 Stone and keeping it off which is a miracle because I’m such a yo-yo. The bands highlights are much more exciting. We’ve played some amazing shows including our first SOLD OUT one, signed a record deal and had the opportunity to spend some time in an amazing studio called Hermitage Works in London with the absolutely lovely Margo Broom!

How do you see 2019 going for you? Anything you’re particularly looking forward to, either musically or in your personal lives?

I have a lot of hope for 2019! More than ever before! Which makes me nervous and excited at the same time. This year SPQR has done more than I could ever have hoped and I will be starting 2019 halfway through writing our first album which has been, so far, a wonderful experience. I found that the sense of purpose that a label brings when they are interested in putting an album out with you has given me a little push to get creative with my time and to focus on making something meaningful for myself and maybe others!! I’m really looking forward to hopefully do a proper tour in 2019 and I think all of us are excited to get back in the studio and make some stuff.

You recently signed to Modern Sky Records. How did that come about, and how has it been working with them? All good we hope?

We came into contact with Modern Sky through Sam our manager and its all been lovely so far! Obviously its very early days and everyone seems to have their own horror stories about labels but they seem to like us and the stuff we have done so far, so fuck it it’s all going to be fine! The opportunities that they can provide us with at this stage are incredible and I hope we all get on forever like a lovely fairytale. We’ve met the CEO Dave and that was a very positive encounter, so I have faith.

You’re from Liverpool, which obviously has quite a big musical history. Do you feel like you have to live up to that at all? How is the music scene there at the moment, and are there any local bands you can recommend to us?

I will probably be bludgeoned to death for this so let’s cherish the time we have before this gets published, but I’ve never been all that invested in Liverpool’s musical history. I’m a bit fickle and most of the more well known music that Liverpool has churned out over the years just hasn’t been for me! Yeah I know, fuck me. BUT for years I’ve been part of an incredible scene in Liverpool and have watched and played alongside so many talented and creative people and that gives me hope that Liverpool is more than all that nostalgia bollocks! Its not all people with very long hair in psych bands either. It’s quite diverse. There’s Ohmns, Beija Flo, Eyesore and the Jinx, Salt The Snail, and Queen Zee to name just a few!

What sort of stuff influences you as a band, and what have you been listening to recently?

This is hard because I’m very stupid and have the tiniest attention span ever, so stuff I’d consider was influencing the band changes so often it’s ridiculous. One week I’m like ‘I love guitar’ the next I’m saying ‘guitars are boring I never want to play it again’, which is quite funny now but makes me a nightmare for Jack and Bex who have to deal with me running around with my ideas like a headless chicken. Recently though I’ve been very interested in bands that you can see have always tried to expand their ‘sonic palette’, that aren’t afraid to take the songs they write to different places. That’s what I’m trying to do. I really want to open up every avenue for creativity without building any walls for myself. I want to give my brain the opportunity to just do its thing, whatever that thing may be. The last few months of brainpower has been put to exploring creativity and trying to find not just how to access it in certain ways, but which of those ways suit me best. I have this vision of the end result being this flowing river between song and what’s in my head, or what I am feeling, with both of those things being aligned and flowing freely together. Wow I went off on one then didn’t I?

You recently released a new single called Slowly. What can you tell us about that? Do you have any more singles planned for release?

Slowly was written AGES ago over a few days of working at it. Sometimes a song falls out of me, and sometimes I have to drag it out piece by piece. I wanted it to be a very SPQR song so contrary to what I said in the last answer I’d built it around the SPQR framework, thus putting up lots of walls for my creativity which is probably why it took so long. I like it now though. It definitely IS a very conventional SPQR song, with all the joltiness that comes with that, and I was very proud of the bridge which really came together in the end didn’t it? There’s loads of singles coming in 2019, just you wait! I’m proud of all the songs that will be coming soon and with Margo at the production helm, I feel like it’s the start of something great.

Do you have any plans to release an EP or album any time soon? If so when, and what can you tell us about that?

Because I’m a sell out now and I’m not in charge of my own releases (which is fine, I really never wanted that task or was any good at it anyway) I’m not 100% sure when the EP will be out, but it will be before mid 2019 I imagine. It’s 4 songs and they are all very much their own things, so hopefully even if you hate it, it won’t be a boring listen. As you know, it was recorded with Margo Broom in Hermitage Works Studio and as you also already know, I feel like these songs are a big ol’ step in the right direction.

Do you have any tour dates lined up? If so – when and where?

Not yet, what a let down we are! It will be sorted ASAP once a few things are in place but it’ll have to be soon because I go a bit nutty when I’m not playing shows.

Why do you think people should come and see you live, and what can people expect from one of your shows? Why should people pick your album up and check your music out?

This is hard isn’t it?! I can’t really say it’s rubbish because where would that get me? But I can’t go overboard with how great I think I am because…where would that get me? So I’ll try and stay in a middle of the road place. Ah, middle road. My old friend. I’m going to say that you should both see our live show and listen to the music because if nothing else, it’s honest and true and I put my whole being into every show we play. Whether you think its shit or great, I don’t think you’d ever be on the fence with it, and that’s exactly where I want to be.

Any last words for the fans?

My daily advice to myself: Take every day as its own thing, if its a fucking shitter and you want to disappear write the whole day off, let it affect you in whatever way it wants and start again tomorrow. Allow yourself to feel! Also, try not to take yourself too seriously! Life will make a joke out of you so try and give it a bit back!