INTERVIEW: Life on the road suits Spoon

Spoon drummer Jim Eno speaks about new tour ahead of Vancouver concert 

Photo courtesy of Live Nation
Photo courtesy of Live Nation

Spoon have been around since 1993, growing their fan base steadily along the way. The Austin-based band rolls into Vancouver on Saturday night (September 2) in support of its ninth studio album Hot Thoughts. Spoon may simply be one of thousands of ‘indy rock’ bands to have formed in the 90’s. However, its longevity and consistency enables it to stand apart from almost all of its former peers that may still be touring (Radiohead comes to mind as one true peer).

Spoon is arguably one of the best-reviewed bands of recent times. Indeed, according to Metacritic’s review consolidation criteria Spoon topped ALL bands during the last decade. Yes, topped the list! Hot Thoughts continues in that vein and is definitely one of its strongest releases to date. This is a band that is always moving forward and is not shy about its desire to share its music with as many people as it can. While it takes the recording process seriously it is committed to bringing those records to the world and spends a lot of time on the road. It’s a commitment that is evident when I caught up with original drummer and co-founder Jim Eno before Spoon hit the stage in Edmonton.

Vancouver Weekly2017 seems to be dedicated to touring and spending a lot of time on the road. You’ve been doing this a long time. What is normal for you? Being on the road, or being at home?

Jim Eno: Life on the road is normal. This album is different as we started the year doing a lot of promos and travelling throughout the States, Mexico, Europe and Australia. We don’t usually do that much promotion. With touring, we’re hitting some smaller cities and places other than major cities.  A lot of those smaller cities, where we haven’t visited in a while, end up being super-fun shows and the fans are really into it, because maybe not a lot of bands go through there. We’re trying to play this music in front of as many people as possible. So we’re going to hit a lot of different places.

VW: You’re playing more shows in Canada this tour than normal. What’s the reason for that?

JE: Touring is complicated. We play a lot of festivals and have to plan our routes around those and be opportunistic. Our records generally do quite well in Canada, so we’re trying to get in front of as many people as possible, and Canada’s a great place to do that. We get into a groove when we are touring and sleeping on our tour bus. We do about four or five shows in a row and then get a day off.

VW: What music have you seen recently at festivals that excited you?

JEWe were in Portland recently and got to see Iggy Pop and then Beck so that was pretty cool.

VW: You have a vast catalogue. How do you build a set list and draw from that catalogue?

JEThere are certain songs that we need to play every night. But our setlist is different night to night. We would probably go crazy if we played the same set night in and night out. We like a little bit of variety. We have about 30 songs we can play on a tour. The other thing is we added a new touring member at the start of the year (Austin based multi-instrumentalist Geraldo Larios). He’s awesome. He’s a great person to have on the tour and in the band. He’s a great guitarist and a great keyboard player and a great friend of mine, but he had to start from scratch to learn all these tunes since January which is no easy feat, so we have to pick and choose around those that he’s learned and we’ll add some more as we go along.

VW: What are your favourite venues? Indoors or Outdoors?

JE: I do prefer indoors. There is something about four walls and how it impacts sound. That being said, there are some incredible outdoor venues like Red Rocks (in Colorado) and we’ve had some great festival shows outdoors and we’re definitely looking forward to being back in Vancouver.

Spoon play the Malkin Bowl with White Reaper Saturday night (Sept 2) at 7PM. Tickets at Ticketmaster.ca