Eine ausgiebige Deutschland-Tour auf die Beine zu stellen kann für eine kleine, noch relativ unbekannte Indie-Band aus England ein ganz schöner Kraftakt sein. Doch bietet es auch die Möglichkeit einen großen Haufen neuer Fans an Land zu ziehen – so geschehen im Fall der fünf Jungs von Spring Offensive aus Oxford. Diese machten sich Ende Oktober für 10 Gigs auf den Weg nach Deutschland – mitsamt ersten Vorschusslorbeeren von der BBC, NME bzw. der Uncle Sally*s. Neben Konzertbühnen gab es auch einiges an Presseterminen zu bewältigen, immerhin war man ja nicht zum Spaß unterwegs, sodass auch wir Stift und Papier zur Hand nahmen und die Herren zum Frage-Antwort-Spiel einluden – hier das Ergebnis: Spring Offensive im Bedroomdisco Interview!
1.) Band facts
– Name: Spring Offensive
– Band members: Lucas Whitworth, Theo Whitworth, Matt Cooper, Joe Charlett, Pelham Groom
– Residence: Oxford, UK
– Current album: Pull Us Apart
– How did you start making music – had you been forced to play an instrument somehow or was it in your own interest? What was the occasion?
We were all forced to play instruments, but we don’t play those instruments any more. I guess picking up a guitar rather than sitting at a piano is some kind of rebellion. It makes you look cooler too. Right?
– Do you remember the first song you’ve ever written? What was it about, do you remember a line of it?
The first song? I think Matt wrote one about a Space Cow… All tapes of us from before the last 10 years have been destroyed.
– How did you all come together and decided to form a band?
We’ve known each other for about a decade, and have been making music together on and off the whole time. A couple of years ago, we started writing and recording in this formation. It seemed to work!
– In which situation did you came up with the name “Spring Offensive”, why did you choose it and what meaning has it for you?
There’s a brilliant poem by Wilfred Owen with the same name. A lot of what he does in that, we try and do as well. Basically it’s a nice bit of writing, and a good conceptual springboard for us when we started out.
– How do you normally work on songs? What are the steps/processes, what are the usual problems of finishing a song?
Generally speaking the songs start with a lyric or a concept of some kind. We try to have a clear and focused idea of what we’re writing about, and the music grows out of that. Then we arrange it for a band, make them sound like songs. That’s the part that takes time, and can be quite frustrating, but also hugely rewarding.
– Could you tell about the production process of “Pull Us Apart”? How long did it take, where did it happen, what were the difficulties, how did you prepare for it? What was the best, what the worst moment? Most told anecdote?
We started working on it in 2009, and attempted to make a record with real coherence. At the time we had just moved into Oxford, a town none of us were from originally. It was difficult, and we felt kind of isolated. It made being in a band almost unbearably intense, and the songs tend to be born out of that obsessive quality in us. It also made us stronger as a unit, as a group of friends. The best moment was probably when we signed off on it, and could move on. It was our most ambitious project to date at the time, so finishing it was momentous for us.
– “A Stutter and a Start” is one of our favorite songs – can you tell us what it is about, how it was done and if there is a story behind it?
The song is the story of a man whose car has broken down, and, sitting in the cold, he decides that staying there is preferable to what he was travelling towards – his other half, waiting for him in a restaurant, where he was planning on ending their relationship. Better to stand someone up than face the shame. The narrator believes himself to be triumphant somehow, as though the realization that he is stuck there is a triumph of some sort. It’s a confused song. Hopefully in a good way.
– There is also a very nice and tricky video to this song – could you tell a bit about the shooting and the idea behind it?
We liked the idea of making something that involved a level of artistry, was fun to watch, and could be done on no budget. I think we achieved all three. Firstly, we got to work with a great filmmaker, Dave Matthams, who could realize what we wanted to achieve. Matt and he plotted through the shoot, in which a man walks through his whole day from start to finish. It was tricky, and involved a day of rehearsal, but finally we got it on the 5th take. Videos are hugely important; the most common way that people consume music is through YouTube videos. If the video is good enough for people to watch it again, and share it with people, then you are more likely to get people listening.
– In what situations do you write songs/lyrics/which themes do inspire you to write songs?
Really it’s all sort of things that inspire us. Matt usually comes up with the original theme, and I join in at that point. At the moment we’re writing songs about not having much money and struggling to meet the rent. That’s because we tend to be thinking about it a lot right now. It hasn’t always been the case, and nor will it be. But right now it’s a preoccupation for many people, so it’s worth singing about.
– We heard that you’ve plans to work on an album soon – can you tell a bit about how far you are into preparing the songs, how the plans look like and what we can expect from the new songs?
The new songs can be heard live! We can’t say much about how or when they will be released yet, but we’re very excited about them.
– You’re currently touring through Germany: What went well, what not so well, what was the best meal you ate and what will become the most told anecdote?
Right now we’re in Mainz, having been to Berlin, Hamburg, Köln and Siegen. It is, quite frankly, absolutely incredible. Everyone is so friendly to us, the crowds are amazing and cities and countryside and people are beautiful. It couldn’t be better. Apart from the long drives. Oh, and we haven’t eaten a bad meal so choosing one would be difficult, but last night’s spread at the Vortex was top notch.
– What are your next plans?
We’ll go home and work out a way to come back here next year.
– What are you doing if your not making music?
Working at jobs that aren’t particularly interesting, and thinking about making music while we’re doing them.
– What did you learn in 2011 up to know?
That Germany is more fun to play in than the UK. And to always trust your instincts.
– Your Top 3 records of 2011 up to know? Why?
Lifelike by Joan of Arc, Smother by Wild Beasts and C’mon by Low. Bon Iver’s album would be the bonus. Why? Because they’re all awesome.
– Which song would fit to your actual situation?
Poor Man’s Son by Chris Trevor. It’s pretty much the tour song.
– Which song makes you dance independent of your situation?
This Charming Man by the Smiths is completely irresistible. Miserable indie kids that we are.
– How would your “Bedroomdisco” look like?
Probably quite cramped, but in a sexy way.
– Who did fill out this questionnaire?
Lucas, mostly, with some essential assistance from everyone else.