Of Spire & Throne interview

Hi Of Spire & Throne! How are you doing these days?

Hi! We’re doing pretty good thanks – hope you are too and thanks for interviewing us.

How would you classify your music? Do you agree with the reviewers who try to describe your musical genre?

At this stage I’d rather not. I’ve gotten pretty tired and jaded of what genres and classifications like doom and sludge have come to mean. I just want to make music and forget all of that stuff. Scenes and trends become very constrictive and people start to claim ownership or police them. It’s tiresome and I don’t have time for it any more.

I don’t disagree when reviewers label us doom or sludge or whatever, and I understand that they need to use reference points to describe music, but I think that it means we’re less likely to find people who are open to what we do. If you’re going in expecting Pentagram or Eyehategod you’re going to be disappointed. Meanwhile, you might have no idea what doom or sludge means, but you could be into what we do. The whole thing closes minds but it’s hard to see a practical way around it.

Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?

1. Neurosis – I’ve always wanted to replicate the sound of being on the absolute brink but never giving in.

2. Crowbar – the riffs and weight and raw emotion is something that still gets me through and it’s what I want OS&T to have at its heart.

3. Scott Walker – not so much the later extreme stuff, but more the experimental early solo works and his 80s output. I’ve lifted a lot from his lyrics and tried to replicate the vibes in certain songs.

4. David Bowie – not so much his musical style, but more his approach and ethos. Believe it or not but our first album Sanctum in the Light was very much influenced by Scary Monsters!

5. Magazine – we’ve been gradually, steadily, inching our way towards sounding more and more like their masterpiece album Secondhand Daylight for many years.

What do you want fans to take from your music, just moods, maybe some ideas an so on?

I would be very pleased if fans took something meaningful from what we do, if it helped them through difficult times or gave them strength. I want our music to be as important to someone as my favorite music is to me, and it would be wonderful if people explored the lyrics and themes and progressions, or if it inspired them to make their own music. However, if people are listening and just enjoying the songs that’s awesome too. Just to have someone listening is a great thing.

Tell us about your latest release?

Our latest release is our second album, Penance. It’s huge, brutal, and raw. A grueling and emotional trip through the trials of the past, present and future, searching for a way forward. It’s our rawest most spontaneous release and I’d say it’s a hard listen that takes time to digest. Guttural vocals, huge slow grinding guitars, massive drums, synths and noise, and plenty of experimental atmospheres.

What do you love and hate about the music business?

I love the music and the people who are involved who are as passionate, dedicated, genuine and loyal as I am, and I love that we take care of each other and support the underground – the way it should be! I hate that even in the most niche little corners of the underground, the same shallow, trendy, social-climbing bullshit is as prevalent as it is anywhere. I’m very tired of all of the bands I don’t believe, but it’s the cost of something coming into its own. As soon as it’s established and recognized, it’s very easy for people to tag along while it suits them. But that’s fine, it’s as it always has been and always will be.

What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing live?

That’s a hard question and one I’ve had to think about it, but I’ll go with when I was 18 and my buddy Steve and I traveled to Berlin to see Crowbar. We ended up in a plush hotel by mistake which had an open bar for an hour every evening. We took full advantage and drank all of their beer, went to the gig which was awesome, then we met Steve Gibb who took us backstage and introduced us to the rest of the band. We ended up in a lock-in drinking more beers ’til the early morning and I think I fell in a water fountain on the way back to the hotel. A great night!

The thing I like the most about playing live is when we as a band get locked in together while playing, those moments when we connect and it feels like we’re filling the room. Those are the times when you really connect to the audience. It’s a great feeling!

How have you evolved as an artist or band over the last year?

The last year has been odd for us. Penance took a very long time to complete and while we worked on it, our lives changed dramatically. It brought us together and affected how we approach our music. I’ve always wanted us to explore our progressive and post-punk influences. It’s not that I want to be technical or sound like PiL, but I want to be genuinely progressive in that we’re taking the music somewhere new, but not in a forced or contrived way. I want it to be natural and I want us to explore new sounds that we like. The music we’ve been writing in the last year has reflected that and we’re excited about it. Our writing, playing, and knowledge of what we do and how we do it has really stepped up.

If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, get drunk with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?

Mr. Robert Fripp. A genius and a gentleman and at the head of the greatest progressive rock band of all time. Not to mention his awesome solo work, side projects and guest spots. I’d meet him for a guitar lesson and a cup of tea, get him to play guest leads during our set, work with him on a 30-minute epic, eat dinner with him and his wife Toyah, then slam cocktails as he told me stories of recording with Bowie and meeting Hendrix.

What is next for you?

We are currently still promoting Penance while we work hard at our third album which is shaping up to be a beast!