SPEAK are an electronic art-rock quartet from Austin, Texas. Comprised of Joey Delahoussaye, Troupe Gammage, Nick Hurt, and Jake Stewart, the band have released two full-length records and an EP titled Girlsongs, which is their great a cappella spin on tracks by women. To know more about SPEAK, we spoke with Troupe to discuss their next album, the collection of a cappella covers, and their ultimate concert line-up.
AMBY: Hello SPEAK, what’s the band been up to lately?
SPEAK: Finishing our sophomore album, which we’ve been working on for the past two years! Very excited to have 14 new songs ready, in addition to a bunch of videos, remixes, and more fun stuff on the horizon. We’ve been getting the new tunes ready to play live and can’t wait to get back on the road in 2014.
AMBY: How would you describe each member of the group in one word?
SPEAK: Troupe: LA, Nick: NYC, Joey: Chicago, Jake: Seattle.
AMBY: I love your electronic, art rock tune Peaks. What inspired the song?
SPEAK: Peaks was written while we were on tour, driving through the mountains in Colorado. After spending most of my time trapped in dingy venues the previous month, I was trying to imagine what it’d be like to be on the top of one of the mountains with the massive, sprawling world surrounding me. Lyrically I took a lot of inspiration from that particular touring experience and trying to channel strange energies and experiences into something positive. When I got home I was really influenced by all the different bands we’d been on the road with, so I just kept adding and adding to the song, which is why it sounds like a 10,000-genre mashup.
AMBY: How did you come up with the concept to create your collection of a cappella covers, Girlsongs?
SPEAK: I did the Chairlift cover as a one-off thing a while ago, because I realized the song worked really well for my vocal range and I loved singing along to it. I figured the fastest way to do it would be to record everything vocally so I didn’t have to spend as much time on production and it ended up sounding more sonically interesting than I expected! Later we played some shows with Tegan and Sara and started listening to their discography heavily. A song called Red Belt was the only song I could sing along to in full voice so I decided to do that one as well — they really loved what I had done so I decided I may as well flesh the thing out into a full EP!
AMBY: You’ve done some amazing a cappella covers. Can we expect to see any others in the near future?
SPEAK: I’ve definitely considered a Girlsongs II — I had a bunch of artists I didn’t get to the first time around — Bjork, Bat For Lashes, Kimbra, Marina and the Diamonds, etc. Stay tuned :)
AMBY: Which groups or artists from Austin should we keep an eye on?
SPEAK: Our friends Mother Falcon consistently excite us with the stuff they do musically, so I’ll have to tip my hat to them!
AMBY: What’s next as far as recording goes?
SPEAK: Nothing!!! …And it feels great. I’ve actually started working on the 3rd LP though, because I’ve gotten used to having no life outside of the studio. But mostly we’re just getting things ready for the release of LP2, doing remixes, working up new songs live, etc.
AMBY: Who would be in your ultimate concert line-up?
SPEAK: Kanye West, Blur, Delicate Steve, Gnarls Barkley, Lucius, Miguel, TV On The Radio, a re-formed Tigercity. That’s too many but it’d be a mini-festival.
AMBY: What’s the best release of the year?
SPEAK: Ouch that’s rough…. it’s been a REALLY good year for music. Depending on who you ask in the band, Phoenix, Haim or Cage the Elephant are definitely contenders. I personally find myself most drawn to the new Drake record though. I listened to Take Care pretty extensively so I thought I might be bored with his shtick by now, but somehow I’m even more into this album than the last one. My fictional spirit animal is probably a drake.
AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about SPEAK that nobody knows yet?
SPEAK: If I told you specifics I’d obviously have to kill you, but I can reveal that an artist we really love asked me to do an a cappella version of a song I really, really, really love, and it will be released as a remix at some point. Also another artist we really love is putting out a record and we’re featured on it and we’ve been sitting on this knowledge for YEARS and I can’t wait to actually reveal the specifics. I’ll tweet it at you guys as soon as I’m allowed to ;)
Thank you SPEAK, for giving us your answers!
Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout