Saying that a lot has happened to Spring King in the past year would be an understatement. Since Zane Lowe gave the Manchester quartet the first spin on his Beats 1 show, the world has started to sit up and take notice of them. “It’s a really important moment in the history of this band” lead singer and drum machine Tarek Musa says honestly, though not wanting to dwell on the inevitable garble about the radio play almost twelve month prior to now.
The band have just played their biggest London show to date at Scala and are on the back end of four hours sleep when I sit down with them at Manchester’s Central Methodist Hall, joined by a rider filled mainly with ham to keep them awake. “We don’t always associate ourselves with a specific city. Obviously we all live in Manchester so there is going to be that slight cherry on the cake when we play here” says Musa, that cake being more of a great whopping chocolate gateau rather than a fondant fancy. Spring King seem to be gathering support regardless of where they play, which will only tenfold when their debut album Tell Me If You Like To is released in a week’s time. “I’m really excited for people to hear the album in context. It’s going to be cool for people to re-discover and re-imagine a few songs” says bassist James Claremont.
The album features familiar tracks including ‘Who Are You?’ and ‘Rectifier’ as well as a re-boot of 2014’s ‘Demons’ which tonight has been turbo-charged and snarls loudest in their set. “I always felt like that was going to be a big song for us but it’s just taken a while to connect and I think it has to be realised on a slightly bigger stage” admits Musa before moving onto his crown jewel of the album, the soul-searching finale track titled ‘Heaven’. “That had to go at the end because lyrically the whole song is about searching and trying to find out who you wanna be but then the lyrics are all sort of a sense of relief.”
From afar it may seem as though Musa’s bandmates revolve around his abrasive battering of the drums, but beneath the thrashing are deeper lyrics, often covered up by the otherwise euphoric riffs. Take ‘Who Are You?’, the title alone challenges ones identity let alone the lyrics, ‘Tonight I just wanna be somebody else, somebody new’. It’s hardly the sound of a self-assured band but Musa explains: “We’ve always been outsiders in a way, growing up. We were never in the most ‘hip’ circle or anything. Whenever I write lyrics I always think ‘what would I have wanted to hear when I was younger’ because that was the most inspiring time for me as a musician to listen to other bands and hear their lyrics and I used to love that feeling when I could connect to something. I’ve always wanted to do that in musician.”
Whilst on the surface they may appear to be four care free twenty-somethings hopping about on stage, the album offers a chance to see another side to Spring King. “I think we like to try and strike that balance between up tempo and jumping around but then if you did just wanna sit down with the album and get the lyric sheet out you could also see it from a different angle” Musa reveals. “These songs were all written in a similar period of lyrical darkness and experimentation in the band so I think whatever comes after this album is going to be very different because it’s going to be written fresh for the next album.”
Well if that’s anything to go by and by the way things are looking up, expect lyrics of tinged with success and jubilation in the near future. Until then savour what is set to be the most promising debut album of 2016.
Photos by Ethan Weatherby