August 2, 2017

Hailing from Macclesfield, alt rock band Spring King are the next big thing on the scene. After the release of their debut record “Tell Me If You Like To” in June 2016, they have shot to indie stardom, marking themselves out as the garage-rockers to watch. With an incredible record of raucous live shows and a DIY spirit, it’s no surprise that they’re on the brink of a breakthrough. We spoke to singer and drummer Tarek Musa about their record, the development of their sound and what’s next…

Where did the name Spring King come from?

Tarek: When I was studying sound technology, I always ended up using a tonne of effects on my music and productions. Sometimes, I used it too much. A friend of mine coined me the ‘Spring King’ because of the specific reverb called “spring reverb” which I used in a lot of my earlier songs.

How did you all meet and start making music together?

Tarek: I’ve known Pete since the first few weeks of secondary school. I remember giving him a cassette with NOFX on one side and At The Drive-In on the other. Those were the days where you’d sharpie your rucksack with all kinds of stuff, your favourite bands, anarchy symbols, and the ganja leaf. Me and Pete would jam and make music all the time.

Then a few years later I met Andy at a local skatepark, he was absolutely pissed on one of the ramps and I was new to the area so I decided to help him out. Sober him up. We spend a lot of time drinking in the skatepark together after that. Eventually, he met Pete and the three of us would play music together.

After numerous bands with various friends, I started Spring King in the summer of 2013 when Pete heard my demos. He was so excited that if it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t have gotten a band together. I then rang Andy and he joined too.

We found James on Facebook further down the line. I got a well-connected friend of mine to post a status and James responded with loads of spirit. He didn’t own a bass guitar but decided to buy one and learn just to be part of the band – which is great.

How would you describe your sound?

Tarek: It’s heavy garage rock with pop sentiments influenced by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, The Beach Boys and Arcade Fire.

You released a record last year – tell us all about it!

Tarek: On June 10th 2016 we released our debut album ‘Tell Me If You Like To’. We mixed the whole record in my house and recorded around 5 or 6 of the tracks there as well. The other few were written in a studio and recorded there. It’s fast, it’s energetic, and it leaves us gasping for air after we perform it on stage. The record has gone down really well, we have some incredible fans who go absolutely nuts when we play shows. Everyone is supportive, we’re very grateful.

What was the recording process like, who did you work with and was the process what you imagined it to be?

Tarek: The recording process – for most of it – was a blur. I produced and mixed the record, and this happened whilst writing it. I write and record at the same time, using a computer is an important part of the process for me. Before the band, I was a producer and mixer for other artists (such as Gengahr and The Big Moon) so I’d learned a lot that way. We recorded the album in under 3 weeks between two back to back tours. We’d just toured with Spector and then supported Mac DeMarco. The day after the Mac DeMarco show we were in the studio. It was a bit of a marathon, two days after the studio we went back on the road with Slaves for weeks. It wasn’t until December time that I was able to open up the sessions and listen and start mixing the record!

The process in the studio was an extension of what I’d already done back in the house, where most of the early material was done. We didn’t use crazy amounts of the studio gear; at points we felt more comfortable recreating the feel of my house and ended up recording all of Pete’s rhythm in one of the bedrooms in the studio complex. MPG, a producers’ guild in the UK have awarded us with ‘Self-producing artist’ in February 2017. It was a pleasure to accept and very fitting considering the way we actually recorded the album.

What’s your writing and collaboration process like?

Tarek: Moving forward we all write together which is a great experience. Sometimes one of us will have an idea and we’ll bring it into the studio and work on it together. Other times, someone will have an idea and fully hash it out on their own. It really depends! The new material is coming out really well but the process is changing; it’ll definitely sound different.

How has your sound developed between the release of your first EP and the release of the record?

Tarek: Our intentions have always been to do the best we can. We don’t reference a lot of material in the studio. It’s a situation where we think ‘What can we do with what we’ve got to offer?’. You can hear the difference between the first singles and EPs all the way up to the debut album. The sound changed when I learned about mixing and songwriting. The ‘Demons’ EP was quite thin sounding in retrospect; a lot more youthful too. The following EP ‘They’re Coming After You’ was darker in tone, and felt fuller in sonics.


What influences do you have as a band?

Tarek:We all listen to such varied music and watch different things too. We’re all very into bossa nova, tropicalia, and bebop amongst others. I think that comes from Pete, his dad plays saxophone with us sometimes and he’s a jazz musician. So is Pete’s mum, she plays flute as well as other instruments. We all picked up on that world from him! I’d say James is more like the electronic head in the band; he’s a big trap, footwork, and techno fan and takes on the name Claremont as a solo artist.

As a band I think the influences that glue us all together are our love for heavy bands like The Mars Volta, Fugazi, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Chris Cohen and much more… Personally I’m a massive Brian Wilson fan and 60’s music in general, that’s where I take inspiration when I write.

What’s your live show like and what are your favourite things about touring?

Tarek: Our live show is intense! We give our heart in every show and make sure we’re drenched in sweat afterwards. They can be chaotic, our fans love to sing along and jump around and crowd surfing. I’d say that’s my favourite bit about touring too: playing music to people singing right back at you.

What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?

Tarek: Performing on Jools Holland’s show was great. I didn’t think I’d make it onto the set because I was so nervous. I really had to hold it together; it was very nerve wracking but an incredible experience. I think each of the guys have their own memorable moments! We’ve done a lot of things we’d never have experienced outside of the band.

What’s next for you guys?

Tarek: We’re currently working on new material and playing a few festivals this summer. Most of our days are focused on writing and taking time out. Last year was pretty full-on for us! Looking forward to touring again soon!

Photos by Amin Musa