Suicide, anxiety, Brexit and finding hope – Spring King on their ‘utopian’ new album ‘A Better Life’

"We wanted to completely flip that idea and try and put something out that was super positive, almost in a naïve way; offering a utopian vision"

Despite dealing with suicide, anxiety and post-Brexit Britain, Spring King have revealed how their upcoming second album ‘A Better Life’ seeks to be a ‘super positive’ and escapist experience. Read our full interview with the band below.

The follow-up to the band’s acclaimed 2016 album ‘Tell Me If You Like To‘ will arrive in August, after the band recently unveiled the launch singles ‘Animal’ and ‘Us Vs Them’.

“For this record, we kind of changed the writing quite a lot compared to the first album,” guitarist Pete Darlington told NME. “The first record was primarily Tarek writing everything and the rest, I was kind of contributing parts here and there where this record was a lot more collaborative so it was a new process for us all to do that together and ‘Animal’ was the first song as part of that process that we really felt captured the energy of where we wanted to go next.

“So when we were talking about what’s coming out first, ‘Animal’  just felt like the right way to introduce people to the new sound. For me it’s the best introduction to the record that we could have hoped for, really.”

Sonically, would you say the new record is more of a ‘rock’ album? 

Tarek Musa (Frontman\drummer): “Sonically, we had an actual proper budget this time. By ‘proper’, I mean just a budget full stop. We went into a studio and we tracked it there, produced it ourselves, mixed it ourselves, which meant we had complete control over how it was going to sound. It definitely feels heavier this time, punchier and a lot more interesting than the first record. The limitations we had aren’t in place on the second album. It’s more of a beast, it’s heavier. There’s a lot more thought put into this record, both on the production side and the songwriting side.

“I really hope it’s received well by our fans because I basically want them to hear this record and instantly want to come and see us live again. That’s our bread and butter, playing live to our fans.”

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Tarek Musa of Spring King of Spring King performs on stage at Heaven on June 23, 2015 in London, United Kingdom (Photo by Andrew Benge/Redferns via Getty Images)

What do you think your fans expect of you?

Pete Darlington: “Good question. I don’t know. People would love the record but then they’d come and see us live and they’d suddenly realise what the band was about. Like, they needed both of the experiences to make sense of what us, because we’re not really a traditional set up. The sound was quite varied and bombastic, whereas this time around I think we talked about wanting to bring elements of a live show into the record a little bit more – like the kind of chaotic nature.”

T: “I think the fans expect a little bit of energy as always with us. We love putting on really sweaty shows where everyone can lose themselves, and I think there’s an element of that that the fans will expect to be on this record. And it definitely is there.”

Lyrically, what would you say this album is dealing with?

P: “Obviously, the world is a fucking weird place and there are a lot of bands around who are making angry music in response to that – and that’s totally legitimate and it’s necessary. But for us, we wanted to completely flip that idea and try and put something out that was super positive, almost in a naïve way; offering a utopian vision. The songs can be really uplifting and it’s about losing yourself and coming to a show and having a really great time.

“But at the same time, some of the topics we deal with lyrically can be quite sensitive. Like, there’s a song about suicide on there and there’s songs about anxiety and a post-Brexit song on there – a political element. Maybe on the surface you wouldn’t get that straight away because it does just feel good and it feels like a positive journey.”

How did you guys come about covering suicide and anxiety in musical form? What made you want to touch on that in terms of Spring King?

T: “I think we read a lot and I feel like we’re always reading the news or seeing what’s out there, Pete’s a big fan of Noam Chomsky and just reading books that give you an alternative to the Daily Mail and all that bullshit. I think that plays a part for me, especially these days. I keep interested and as a musician I find it quite hard to use that knowledge in a way that actually makes a difference. So the best I can do is channel it through my music, at this stage in my life.

“I feel like reading stuff like that has definitely inspired writing lyrics about anxiety and world problems, but I try to do it in a non-obvious way so people can either take it or leave it. They don’t have to have the political angles shoved down their throats. They can read deeper into the lyrics if they want to, and if not they can just have a good time. It’s about finding that balance with people so they can enjoy the songs and get whatever they want out of them.”

What are your hopes for the record? Do you want this to be your ‘breakthrough’ album or does that not really play on your mind?

P: “I personally don’t really think about it like that. One thing we’ve always talked about is wanting to document the time in our lives when we’re doing this. We do carefully think about these records, how it’s constructed and what we’re trying to say, but at the same time we’re just trying to capture this time without really thinking too much about what the consequences are going to be – like “Is this our breakthrough record?” or “Is this going to sell really well?” For me personally, I feel confident about this record. I have confidence that people are going to like it. Whether or not that means we’re going to be huge or we’re going to sell loads of tickets, I don’t know, but I think musically it’s the best thing we’ve done, and I think that’s all we hoped for, really.”

Spring King

How do you feel about approaching the charts as a guitar band? Do you think it’s possible for guitar music to break through?

P: “I don’t think about it too much but I definitely think it’s possible. I remember The National got a number one record last year. And Wolf Alice do really well, and Arctic Monkeys obviously. Then there’s Lower Than Atlantis who are a bit heavier. I’m not saying we sound like those guys but there’s definitely a hunger for music like ours. Whether or not we can hit the charts, I don’t know, but that’s just one signal for how other records are going.

“You can talk about marketing and that stuff all day long, but ultimately, if you wrote a song and you love it, you just share it with your friends and they share it with their friends and that’s how it works. You can’t plan for that or buy that. People have just got to like it and share it and so far, ‘Animal’ has been doing that and I hope it continues.”

The band release new album ‘A Better Life’ on August 17. 

Spring King tour dates and tickets

Their upcoming UK tour dates are below. Tickets are available here.

19 – Glasgow St Lukes
20 – Newcastle The Cluny
21 – Sheffield Plug 2
22 – Liverpool O2 Academy 2
25 – Bristol Thekla
26 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
27 – Birmingham O2 Institute 2
28 – London O2 Forum Kentish Town
29 – Manchester O2 Ritz

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