A Q&A with Spacejam
Uplifting space rock from English-Swiss trio – here’s Sebastian Parris from Spacejam…
How did you get the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
Our last track is ‘ALIVE’ and it’s a song about a regrettable breakup that sometimes happens. I placed myself on the side of both protagonists: the one who made the decision and the one who suffers the rupture, but this time with the secret ingredient of “regrets”. “Regrets” are something special and unique and very often have no possible return. Very strangely, I find that this song resonates all the more today that we are deprived of life, and the fact of saying “stay alive” now is more an act of rebellion in the face of this globalist dictatorship than before, and I find my lyrics much more carriers than I would have expected.
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
The hardest part was producing the title. This song already exists in another version on our album TEN, released in May 2020. I was really not satisfied with the artistic direction of this album and I changed the team entirely. Having found new musicians and a new record producer, the magic immediately operated. Arrangement ideas rocketed throughout the session; we all listened to each idea and moved forwards very quickly. We recorded and mixed the song in two days at Onemusic in Geneva and The Animal Farm Music in London. I am very proud of the result. I want to warmly thank Pat, Chris, Matt and Ville.
What do enjoy most about producing your own material?
The title was produced by me, Pat and Chris. Everyone brought their ideas and we got along right away. Our ideas were complementary, and they only served the song, which is essential. I really like everything in the production of this track, and in particular the bridge with the “Run run run away” part which relaunches the song in a very punchy way. What I like most about producing my own material is the freedom to create – we don’t have someone from the record company to tell us what and how to do it. We save a lot more time working in this way and, therefore, we earn money!
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
I would like to have made him travel and hope that his trip was pleasant. For me, if you don’t travel whilst listening to a song, it’s because the author has missed out on his initial promise. The unconscious promise of a journey. This is what a song should be to me. Once again, all of this is very subjective, because we are only concerned with the tastes and musical references of each and everyone. I know I’m going to have a hard time getting a rapper to travel with one of my songs for example. Whatever… who knows!
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
Usually, I write the song, a chord suite with my acoustic guitar and a vocal melody without lyrics. I use my phone as a recorder, and I immediately have a result that allows me to develop the construction of a song. Then, I listen again one or a few days later and, if I find the musical theme interesting, I will develop the song by defining the general attitude and story I want to talk about, and how the music inspires me. At the end of the process, I will take care of the post-production of the song by defining the number of verses, of choruses, and in what order, the musical colour… In other words, I take care of the sauce last.
What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
In the very beginning, there was Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Little Richard, The Kinks, The Who, The Rolling Stones. Then, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush. I knew I wanted to make music for a living the day my cousins took me to see the Sex Pistols concert at Brunel University in Uxbridge, North London on December 16, 1977. That day, I will never forget how they blew my mind. Thanks to my older cousins and a very special birthday prez, I discovered the British Punk movement and all those bands such as The Damned, The Clash, The Stranglers, Buzzcocks, X Ray Spex, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Joy Division, The Jam… All English punk bands and American punk bands such as The Ramones, Dead Boys, Television, The Germs, Dead Kennedys, Go Go’s, Black Flag, Bad Brains… A huge influence for me has been The Cure, with which I had the chance to share special moments, especially with Robert Smith… Also influencing me are bands like Stereophonics, Blur, Oasis, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Soundgarden, RHCP and, more recently, I really like guys like Yungblud, Machine Gun Kelly, Twenty One Pilots… All these artists help to take the rock world in which I have been immersed since my childhood in Dartford (Kent), city of VOX Amps and the Rolling Stones…
When the world is back to normal where would like to tour, and why?
Honestly, I don’t know what “getting back to normal” means today. I don’t think we’ll ever get back to normal and, fortunately, that’s a good thing in my opinion. I think once all this pandemic is behind us, we’re going to have to rebuild and rethink the entire music business of the future, just like the punk movement did in the late 70s. All of this shows that we can no longer make music like we used to, and it is clearly not working anymore. I would love to tour the world and go out to meet the people of the world. The secret of respecting our planet depends, for me, on our ability to open ourselves to the world and to know all the cultures of the world. We have so much to learn from each other. Music is a great tool for exchanging because our musical language is international – we no longer have the language barrier because we only act on the emotional and we are only built on emotions.
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
I would definitely choose our latest single ‘ALIVE’ for all the reasons mentioned above.
What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
To be able to continue to do my profession as an artist, musician and songwriter. To record a lot more songs, to create a lot of videos and also, and above all, to go on stage to play gigs and share with the audience magical and unique moments. We still have so much to share with audiences all around the world, and as David Newberry said: “Music should be the words of the soul”.
Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
I’ll paraphrase the great Bill who once said something like this: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages”.
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