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How Spoon Evolved, Whilst Remaining Relevant

Words by Sam Nichols

Austin-based rockers, Spoon, formed 23 years ago. In just two weeks, they will release their ninth studio album, Hot Thoughts which, according to bassist Rob Pope, has brought a new sense of vigor to the band.

“Our new album feels really fresh! We’re firing on all cylinders at the moment, not that we weren’t before but we took a long time off to write this album. We didn’t play a show in 14 months.”

Having locked in two shows this month – one in Sydney’s Metro Theatre and one in Melbourne’s Croxton Bandroom, it sees Spoon share the album with Australia almost immediately after its release.

Since their inception in the early 90s, Spoon have built a reputation as a constant indie band, albeit slightly adapting but never leaving their roots. And hey, keeping to your sound isn’t a bad thing. It’s the reason why people go and see Guns’n’Roses all over the world. But the problem is that it’s stale.

However for Spoon, this new album entitled Hot Thoughts is not just a catalyst to a new found sense of momentum, but it’s also been a chance to explore a new artistic direction; something that has proven itself to be nothing but a positive for the band

“Spoon’s been around for a long time. We’ve been playing the same songs for 10-12 years and it’s become boring for us so if a fan sees us for three or four times, they’re going to be bored too. We’re looking to entertain our old fans as well as looking for new people and fans to enjoy us. We try to do that every record but it’d be really awesome to see our old fans and some new fans at our concerts.”

According the Rob, the inclusion of keyboard player Alex Fischel as a permanent member to Spoon has opened this new door where on the new album, Alex was given free reign and in turn, helped kick off this new Spoon like we’re seeing before.

“Our new record has a new approach. Things sound a little more futuristic there’s some interesting piano and synthesiser parts and made a wild, future vibe with the record.

We’re revamping a lot of older songs because we’ve just being doing the same songs for so long! So we’ve been trying to try to make our older songs suit the new album. It makes it more fun for us too.”

But if you’re a purist and thinking Spoon have thrown away everything you’ve ever liked about them, don’t give up on them just yet. First of all, change is life but more importantly, despite the change Spoon is still looking to give fans the exact same experience in their tours, choosing to embrace the smaller, more intimate venues seen on a tour as opposed to the one-off show at a festival.

“We feel playing small clubs is better for the audience to see us, especially considering how long we’ve been away for. When we play something more intimate with walls and ceilings, me – it’s way more fun for us and it allows our fans to be in an environment where they’re happy and can see us have fun. It’s what we’ve always done, always will do and what our fans expect from us.”

Spoon’s first tour to Australia since 2015 is going to momentous for anyone who’s a fan of the band as well as for the band themselves. Twenty-three years is a long time for anything to exist so to see Spoon grow into something different at this age (ironically at the age most of us actually grow up) is exciting to say the least. 

But if you’re a purist and thinking Spoon have thrown away everything you’ve ever liked about them, don’t give up on them just yet. First of all, change is life but more importantly, despite the change Spoon is still looking to give fans the exact same experience in their tours, choosing to embrace the smaller, more intimate venues seen on a tour as opposed to the one-off show at a festival.

“We feel playing small clubs is better for the audience to see us, especially considering how long we’ve been away for. When we play something more intimate with walls and ceilings, me – it’s way more fun for us and it allows our fans to be in an environment where they’re happy and can see us have fun. It’s what we’ve always done, always will do and what our fans expect from us.”

Spoon’s first tour to Australia since 2015 is going to momentous for anyone who’s a fan of the band as well as for the band themselves. Twenty-three years is a long time for anything to exist, so to see Spoon grow into something different at this age (ironically at the age most of us actually grow up) is exciting to say the least. Find tickets here.