Spector like a lot of things. They like indie music, they like floral shirts and they really like to talk. We recently met up with Fred Macpherson and Chris Burman from the band to find out more about the making of their debut album Enjoy It While It Lasts, partying with James Blunt in Ibiza and what Trevor Horn tried to make Tom Waits do for him. Oh and we tested their indie knowledge at the end too. Grab a massive pinch of salt and read on.
Twelve songs, ten studios, seven producers, one album. How does it feel to have your debut album finished and out in the world?
Chris (Guitarist): Relieved. It’s been a long process. We’ve worked really hard on it and it’s getting some good reviews already so we’re positive. Finishing the recording was actually a better feeling than releasing it will be I think. That was a great feeling, a sense that something we have worked on is ready and done.
Fred (Vocals): It’s like finally getting the all clear from your doctor. It’s the best feeling imaginable, apart from maybe your honeymoon. I’ve never been on honeymoon but it’s good to have something to work towards.
What did making the album teach you about Spector and, indeed, yourselves?
Fred: This album has taught me a lot. It’s taught me where I fit into the world - and it’s not via the medium of music.
You worked with Trevor Horn on the album. How was it to get in the studio with such a huge name like that?
Fred: It was a wonderful experience. Anecdotally it was off the chain.
Chris: He has worked with pretty much everyone and he doesn’t hold back on his opinions.
Fred: He told us a story about how when Rod Stewart was recording his cover of Downtown Train by Tom Waits they decided that the middle eight wasn’t working so Trevor called Tom up and asked him to write a new one for him.
And how does working with Trevor Horn compare with getting into the studio with Tom Vek?
Chris: Tom Vek is really wonderful to work with because where Trevor Horn has amassed a huge knowledge of how things work over thirty years, Tom Vek has already abandoned many of the things other producers might rely on. It was quickest we have ever worked on a song.
Fred: 99% of the time he takes things very seriously but then every once in a while he lets things slip and allows a ridiculous idea to get through the net and that’s when something great happens.
You worked with numerous producers across the album and seemed to be recording almost as soon as forming the band. How did making the album affect the songs on there?
Fred: It’s a very emotionally honest album and we basically lived the songs as we were recording them. If something is not worth saying then it’s not worth recording and so nothing on the album is there to fill in a gap.
Chris: The driving thing behind the album on the whole is that there was a symbiosis between us being in London and living our lives and then going to the studio and recording the songs.
Spector seem to tour relentlessly. How is life on the road for the band and what have you learned about one another through touring?
Fred: You have to realise that you can’t be everyone’s best friend all of the time and know when you have to step back and be quiet sometimes. It’s a lot like being in a family. You just see each other all the time. What can I say to Chris twenty days after an event when he’s been with me every day and was with me when it happened in the first place? Love is when there are no awkward silences and you can just sit there for hours, just knowing you care for each other. The other thing I have learned is that life genuinely begins and ends in London but the rest of the country is definitely there.
One place that your travels have recently taken you is to Ibiza. How did you find it on the party island?
Fred: Picture this, you’re in the hotel where they filmed the Club Tropicana video with James Blunt, the Kaisers, Brandon Block and the bloody Rizzle Kicks. Then you step outside and see Dappy smoking a cheeky (removed - editor) that’s when you know you have arrived. In Ibiza.
Did Dappy have any words of wisdom for Spector?
Fred: He said, “There’s no light at the end of the night and I was never afraid of the dark” and I was like, ‘you know what? I’m going to use that’ and I did on track one on the album.
Is he credited for those words?
Fred: No, he is not. Dappy actually wrote a lot of the lyrics on our album. Dappy, a man called Fazer and a beautiful girl named Tulisa.
Harry Styles is also inextricably linked to Spector. Can you explain how this came about and are you fans of his work?
Fred: I appeared on Nick's Radio 1 show and he said he could get Harry to introduce our next single so I said if he could do that then he could get the premiere of the song. Nick obviously knew that would mean everyone was listening to his show that night and probably ensured he got the Breakfast show too. I think we can fully take credit for the success of Nick Grimshaw and, additionally, the success of One Direction in America. It was that song, Chevy Thunder, that broke those boys worldwide and yet our single didn’t even chart.
Chris: I have actually spent some time with Harry and he has a very wide knowledge of music, far wider than you might expect.
Fred: He’s a genuinely nice guy and he’s working on a new One Direction album which he tells me is going to be better than the first. I have no reason to doubt him on that at all.
Finally, to end we have a quick fire quiz on the era of indie music which has inspired Spector and ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’
Fred: Amazing. Bring it on.
1) Which country were The Datsuns from?
Fred and Chris, together: New Zealand! CORRECT
2) Which QPR football player did The Others write a song about?
Fred: Stan Bowles CORRECT
3) What was the annual salary detailed in The Rakes breakthrough single?
Fred: 22 Grand. Also, did you know Dominic Masters of The Others took that job when Alan from The Rakes left it and went on to write the song ‘Lackey’ about it? CORRECT
4) In which country was the boarding school where The Strokes Julian Casablancas met Albert Hammond Jr?
Chris: Switzerland? CORRECT
5) Complete the 2005 NME tour line-up. The Killers, The Futureheads, Bloc Party and…
Chris: We were there, Brixton Academy. It’s Kaiser Chiefs. CORRECT
6) Name us three bands who could be accurately named under the genre ‘Thamesbeat’.
Chris: Larrikin Love, Mystery Jets, Les Incompetent, Jamie T, Airhammer, Good Shoes! CORRECT
7) Name Jet’s most recent, and final, album.
Fred: Ooh, that is a killer tie break question. I don’t know. I can tell you the name of The Music’s second album if that helps? WRONG (correct answer - Shaka Rock)
8) Name the hit pop single Sam Endicott of The Bravery went on to write in 2009.
Fred: Shakira - She Wolf. CORRECT
9) Which Girls Aloud song did Arctic Monkeys cover on Radio 1’s Live Lounge in 2006?
Fred: Love Machine? CORRECT
10) Finally, name the best Razorlight song.
Chris: America, Don’t Go Back To Dalston. I don’t know! Fred: I would say joint Rip It Up or Golden Touch. I’d listen to that debut album any day of the week. CORRECT (technically no wrong answer)
So, Spector score a huge 9/10 in the Gigwise indie quiz. Their album ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’ is released August 13th.