Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ SPIES

SPIESThere’s something strangely mysterious and intriguing in Barricade‘s opening line “my thoughts, I could black out the sun with my thoughts.” SPIES’ ability to match great lyrics and charmingly deep vocals to dance beats is a wonder. So when this melodious, Irish five-piece took the time to answers some of AMBY’s questions, we were very much looking forward to seeing what they had to say!

AMBY: Introduce yourselves! If you had to describe each band member with one word, what would it be?

SPIES: Hello there! Spies are Conor, Neil, Jeff, Andy and Michael. Not particularly sure how to describe everyone with one word, Michael could be best described as Milky, Jeff as Culinary, Neil maybe as 70’s, Andy as sophisticated.

AMBY: How would you describe SPIES’ sound to those who have yet to hear you?

SPIES: Over the last while the way we write has sort of changed, so difficult to say exactly what are ‘sound is’. The last two songs are in open C tunings so kinda gives it a Bryds fifth dimension sound, I think anyway.

AMBY:  …Are you really spies?! What’s the story behind the band’s name?

SPIES: I don’t think so, Andy maybe. We used to have this awful name Lumiere, but then two traditional Irish singers also called Lumiere were on the late late show so we thought we had to change it. Spies was the best band of a bad bunch and one we didn’t really hate too much, so it stuck.

AMBY: Who inspires you as musicians?

SPIES: We share a practice space with loads of incredibly talented bands, with lots of bands having over lapping members. Tandem Felix, Jet Setter, Girlband, We Arrive Alive, Telephone, Peaks, Biclops. Our friend Ross made a website about it  Basically all of these bands provide a constant source of inspiration,  the fact that we are always around each other pushes us to constantly write better songs. Also because there is so much diversity in the kinds of music being made and listened to, nothing stagnates and everyone influences each other’s development. A good example of this is Peaks recently recommending a Blawan track for Girlband to cover for the latest compilation. Which they turned into an absolute banger. The way people in the space play their instruments also inspires me a lot, the guitar work in Jet Setter really gets me excited, to the point of plagiarism.

AMBY: Barricade is fantastic. Especially the deep vocals and when it kicks into the upbeat chorus. What’s the story behind the track?

SPIES: To be honest, that song was written so long ago that it’s hard to remember what the story is with it. It was written the first time we went to the west of Ireland, in pretty close confines so I suppose that maybe came out in it, hard to say though.

AMBY: If you could invite any three people to dinner, who would you choose?

SPIES: If I personally could invite three people to dinner, I would invite my mam, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain. Obviously it would be excellent to meet Hendrix and Cobain as they were my musical Idols growing up, but I think it would be good to have Cinny as backup in case things got heavy on the heroin front, and to help with the cooking.

AMBY: Who do you wish would just go away?

SPIES: Don’t really have a decent suggestion for this one, maybe world poverty and nuclear war and all that bad stuff?

AMBY: Which three albums changed your life?

SPIES: Couldn’t really definitively pick three, but I suppose three decent contenders would be You and Me by The Walkmen, Ys by Joanna Newsom and Ocean Rain by Echo and the Bunnymen
AMBY: What is the best song of 2012?

SPIES: Again not sure I could have just one, I really liked the Walkmen single Heaven, Motion Sickness by Hot Chip which was the only song on the River Island playlist that didn’t haunt my waking hours, so that’s pretty good. Drag by Tandem Felix as it got me through  my finals. Green Aisles by Real Estate as it provided the soundtrack to a pretty serious failure in London.

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about SPIES that nobody knows yet

SPIES: I’m pretty sure Jeff still hasn’t won a game of settlers of Catan, with the current rankings being Michael, Andy, Conor than Neil.


Take a listen to Barricade below and also lend an ear to the other great tracks off SPIES’ BandCamp. Lastly, thank you SPIES, for giving me your answers!

[bandcamp track=2508648696  bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=b342bb size=venti]

Alicia Atout

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