Exclusive Video Premiere + Interview: SPIES – “Sea Creature”

It’s been almost two years since we last spoke with SPIES. So, we believe the appropriate question is what have they been up to since?

Following the release of their upbeat yet melancholic single Moosehead (2014),  the band dropped their latest EP Sea Creature on February 25th. Comprised of Michael Broderick (vocals), Conor Cusack (lead guitar), Neil Dexter (rhythm guitar), Hugh O’Dwyer (bass), and Jeffrey Courtney (drums), SPIES deliver a darkly atmospheric song with the release’s title track. To accompany Sea Creature, we’re pleased to share their new cinematic video which was directed by Dublin-based writer and cinematographer Bob Gallagher.

To learn more about the release and catch up with the Irish alt-rock quintet, A Music Blog, Yea? recently spoke with SPIES. Follow updates from the band, indulge in our interview, and exclusively follow the song’s emotional, heartwrenching tale through the video below:

AMBY: Hey SPIES, welcome back to AMBY. Where does our interview find you today and how have you all been?

Neil Dexter: Hello AMBY and it’s great to be back! For the past few months we’ve been busy with the release of the new EP, jet setting from Moscow to London and then back to the emerald isle for a few shows after that. Also we’ve been working on writing our first full length album, so we’ve been busy!

AMBY: You recently released your latest EP Sea Creature – congrats! Tell us a bit about the EP and your experience recording it.

Neil Dexter: We recorded the EP over a productive winter weekend in a beautiful studio in County Wicklow, Ireland. All 5 tracks were recorded live in a demo-like style and that gives the EP that live rough around the edges vibe. Subsequently we came up with the idea to release the EP with this collection of songs to be pressed on 12″ vinyl. 4 out of 5 tracks were already fully formed songs when we went in to the studio and the engineer (Rian Trench) added some extra magic by tracking some beautiful piano in ‘Sea Creature’ and atmospheric synth in ‘Quincy Morris’ (wouldn’t be the same without ’em)… And let’s not forget that awe-inspiring 12 string line in ‘The Holidays of Jed Bartlet’ played by our very own lead guitarist. ‘Always’ was recorded initially as just an “instrumental idea” and then a few months later Michael sat down to write some lyrics and a melody for the song. He then tracked the vocals the very next day in Dublin’s lovely ‘Lamplight Studios’. It’s a strange way of doing it but Michael sure pulled it out of the bag with his graceful crooning and the track manages to find itself nestled comfortably between Quincy and November Sky on side B of the record. We really enjoyed recording and releasing this record and we can’t wait to get back in to the studio to get cracking on our debut album.

AMBY: Taken from the EP, the new video for the title track/single looks fantastic. What inspired the video’s concept?

Michael Broderick: The video’s concept was sort of inspired by the lyrics of the song. The idea that a guy finds a mystical sea monster, falls in love and attempts to integrate it into his own world. Unfortunately this doesn’t work out and our sea creature fails to adapt to normal life. The lyrics are ultimately about expectation and curiosity and the reality that a relationship involves 2 people with often differing needs, but with a sort of child’s story-time narrative on top of it. We had a couple of ideas floating about but eventually decided that we make a short film of the story itself.

AMBY: What was one of the highlights you had creating it?

Michael Broderick: The beach day was pretty fun, although it was freezing and really windy. One of the highlights for me was probably getting out of the water into a change of clothes after the last shot. The last shot in the video looks pretty emotional but that’s just the sheer pain I was experiencing from the freezing cold water. Another highlight was seeing the tail for the first time. It was made by our friend Emma, and I was a bit worried beforehand it would look like an arts an crafts job. But when she came over and showed it to us for the first time, I started to get really excited about the whole project.

AMBY: If you had to describe the new video using emojis, which would you use?

Neil Dexter: Oh God… Well, when Bob sent us the final cut of the video I watched it twice and cried at the end both times so naturally I’d go for the emoji that has the stream of tears gushing out its eyes. I’d probably also go for the one with two love hearts for eyes cause Michael is some hunk on that big screen. I like to call it ‘Silver Linings Sea Creature’ and the next one is gonna be ‘A Place beyond the November Sky’… oh dear stop me…

AMBY: With festival season right around the corner, if you could curate your own festival, who would be part of the line-up?

Neil Dexter: We might differ on opinions here but if you’re to ask me it would have to include – Whiskey Guns, The Dirty Towels, Scott Walker, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Big Star, The Rolling Stones, Tandem Felix, Jet Setter, Portishead… I’d be more than happy with that :)

AMBY: Lastly, to see the EP in all its glory, where can fans catch SPIES live next?

Jeffrey Courtney: Whilst that gunslinger guitar player Cusack is busy finding himself in South East Asia, we’ll be at work on writing and recording some early sketches for a record. Until his return you can pick up a copy via our Bandcamp or the Trout Records website. Next show is in Ireland for the Longitude festival which has a pretty stellar line up if you ask me. Most Notably “The Dirty Towels” and “Whiskey Guns”, who are possibly some of the finest new bands on the rock n roll scene right now. Can’t wait for the Whiskey Guns gig at the King Kong club. My buddy Paddy and I have been asked to look after their wardrobe for the show. Super excited. Hoo Dang!


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