Interview: Spit Like This
They have been hailed as the coolest looking band around, but with a variety of different influences (musical, artistic and otherwise), a hefty dosage of outrageous attitudes and killer songs - there’s definitely more than meets the eye with Spit Like This. At the eve of the release of album “Normalityville Horror”, Let The Music Do The Talking takes a glimpse at the world of Spit Like This with lead singer Lord Zion…
The release of “Normalityville Horror” falls during the tenth year of the band. Looking back, what do you think Spit Like This has achieved as a band in the past decade?
Lord Zion: Although we did form in 2002, at first it was just a studio-based project with only Vikki [Spit (bassist of SLT)] and myself tugging the strings. Our first live shows were in 2003 but it wasn’t really until 2007-ish that we really decided to knuckle down. I guess that was make-or-break for us. Up until that point, we had been winging it! Having said that, I am really proud of what we have achieved. OK, it may not be as much as a lot of bands but, by the same token, it is a helluva lot more than 99.9% of bands that ever form, so that’s good enough for me. I’m glad I didn’t know on Day 1 how long it would actually take to get to this point, though. That would have been a very daunting journey to start!
What do you think Spit Like This will have achieved in ten more years?
What decides that the time is right to go into the studio to record an album? Or is it an ongoing process?
LZ: Finances, really. We saved hard to record album 1 only to get shafted by some scrupulous people. So we had to save hard again to record album 2. As that is only just getting its UK release – and the rest of the world must follow – album 3 is a little way away yet. I am sure we will know when the time is right. When we have something interesting to say, I guess. Now I have discovered how to actually write lyrics, I want to put that to good use to invigorate the minds of the listeners.
What comes first the lyrics or the music?
LZ: Either Or. There is no set way of writing. The single, “Zero To Sixty” was lyrics first. The opening track, “Sick”, was lyrics and music simultaneously. The last song, “Dead To Me Now” was music first. The best way though seems to be both nudging each other along as they go, influencing the next move and counter-move.
I often think that a band is the sum of its parts and if each individual tried to produce music it would never be the same and more likely to be totally different. Which influence do each of you have that the rest of the band don’t share and where’s the common ground?
LZ: My influences are so ridiculously varied that it has taken me all of these 10 years to actually work out what the SLT sound is. It could have been anything but I knew it had to be something and, with this album, we nailed it.
The common ground is that we all like tight, rhythmic music. I am sure that we all listen to stuff that the others thinks is deplorable but, from that, I am sure we each bring some sneaky unknowns into the mix. It’s a good way to work. As long as Rob[Riot (guitarist of SLT)]doesn’t tell me that a riff was inspired by some insipid pretend pop-punk band, I will remain happy - if it is a good riff. If he told me though, I wouldn’t give it a fair listen. That’s prejudice and musical snobbery for ya! (By the same token, I won’t tell anyone that I was inspired by a Girls Aloud song to put a certain melody together *ahem*)
Spit Like This boasts a great & dedicated fan base - multiple people even have the band logos tattooed on themselves. With this level of dedication in your fans, do you feel that you have to be role models for them? And do you/would you make good or bad role models for some of the younger fans?
LZ: It always astounds me when people get our logo tattooed on them. It has happened so much now, you would think I would be used to it. But I’m not. I am always surprised, humbled and flattered by such dedication. I hope I never take that for granted. When the chips are down, I look at those tattoos and it reminds me WHY this band exists.
We are the band for the misfits, the geeks, the freaks. All those people that don’t quite fit. We welcome all and this is their safe-haven. Everyone is free to just be themselves with no-one judging them. That is what SLT is all about. Freedom and Individuality.
To that extent, I do actually think we are good role models. Each of us was bullied and each of us has overcome personal obstacles to get to the point we are at in our lives. When I was younger and going through shit, I would have loved to be able to have looked up at someone like myself and known that there IS a way out of it, there IS a future and it can be one that people envy. If what we do encourages one person to come out of their shell or achieve something sensational, job done.
With the popularity of social media these days, do you feel that it is important for bands to embrace such tools as Facebook or Twitter?
LZ: I think it is vital. I favour Facebook, but all social media has it’s place in music. When we first started, there was nothing like that. We had a couple of releases before MySpace started and, because we were quite slow at getting on that particular ship, it was like we were starting again once we did sign up. Won’t make that mistake again!
The best thing though is being able to connect with the people that matter. I really feel like I know a lot of the people that buy our music now. They aren’t just numbers, they are names and faces and nearly all of them are awesome.
How have social networks helped Spit Like This? Has it become easier or harder to gain fans/listeners compared to the earlier days of the band before social networks were so popular?
LZ: Like I said, at first, it was a hindrance. We had a Top 10 rock chart “hit” in 2005, just before MySpace took off, but then had to watch everyone else overtake us as we were slow off that particular mark. If you were a good marketeer, gaining fans without social media was easier. We did well. Once social media hit though, the competition grew exponentially. That didn’t necessarily mean there were a load more better bands, all of a sudden, just that they had been given a simple platform to reach people. The consumer has to wade through way more shit now to find the good stuff.
How does it feel to have gained moderate success in such a difficult environment - with the popularity of a so-called X Factor/Simon Cowell Culture and with the increase of musical piracy for example?
LZ: It is both nice and frustrating. If we were born 10 years earlier, I am sure we would have got a major label deal and got zipped off around the world earning oodles of cash. The music scene isn’t like that any more and I doubt it will be like that again. Whilst the Internet has, in one way, levelled the playing field, it has also made it much harder for bands to be discovered simply due to the volume out there. I pity any A&R person in one way and kind of understand why they play it safe. The thing is, there is no such thing as a sure thing and, eventually, they will realise they have to take risks again. As I see it, there is no Pink Floyd or Rolling Stones of the future. Labels don’t invest any more. It’s a scary time to be a musician, for sure, and a much harder way to simply earn a living than it used to be. But I’m not complaining – I wouldn’t change what I do and, for each rung up the ladder we get, we are poking the eyeballs of people like Simon Cowell!
We have heard news of a new music video - what can you tell us about it without giving too much away?
LZ: Um, other than saying that it is quite probably the Best Music Video Ever, no! Honestly, I would love to, but I just don’t want to ruin the surprise. It is unique and very SLT. It’s also very funny.
You are playing at the Hard Rock Hell Road Trip in Ibiza. How do you think it will differ to playing a festival slot in the UK (weather excluded)?
LZ: Well, to be fair, we did play at the first one so we kind of know what to expect! As I sit here having endured about a month of constant rain, I must admit, the idea of sunnier climes is a welcome one. Not that I am a sun bunny, you understand, but I do miss that Vitamin D.
What are the plans for Spit Like This for the rest of the year?
LZ: To work hard to make this album a success; to tour; to visit new countries; to see the album released in new territories. Whatever we end up doing, it will be a lot – A LOT – of fun!
“Normalityville Horror” is set for release on the 21st of May and is available for pre-order now from all good outlets. Check out our review of the album here!