With their music full of shimmering guitar riffs, soaring vocals and dynamic rhythms, Spirit City are a band you can’t help but notice. Having gained mass attention on the thriving Provo scene which has launched the career of bands including Neon Trees and Imagine Dragons, the trio are looking to make 2016 their best year yet. As they prepare to release their new EP We’re All Insane, they kindly agreed to this interview to chat social media, dream shows and song-writing.
PW: Please introduce yourselves.
Spirit City: Hey! Thanks for having us. We are Nate Young (vocals/guitar), Austin Young (synth) and Cori Place (bass).
PW: How do you know each other/how did you meet?
Cori: Nate and I have been friends and have played in bands together since we were 13. Austin is Nate’s little brother.
PW: When did you first realise you wanted to be performers? Was there an album you listened to or concert you attended that influenced your career plans?
C: We all fell in love with music at a young age. When we were kids music is all we did. We grew up writing and recording songs on Nate’s dads 4 track tape recorder. We loved 90’s music and the bands we listened to then definitely inspired us to pursue music.
N: I remember listening to my parents' Beatles and Beach Boys albums as young as 5 or 6. I still love those albums to this day. I remember dancing in the living room to those songs... and to other bands like Queen, Tears for Fears and R.E.M. All those albums really were the impetus for me wanting to be a performer ever since I was a little kid.
PW: Which bands and artists influenced you growing up and how have those influences changed over time?
C: We grew up listening to bands like Nirvana, Third Eye Blind, The Police etc. We still really love all those bands but we are constantly looking for fresh, new stuff too.
N: Later on, I really got into the early 90's stuff - the first birthday present I remember receiving was Collective Soul's self-titled album from my uncle, great guitar work on that album. I also remember getting The Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. I love the eclecticism of that album, and of a lot of 90's music in general - that is something that has definitely influenced how I approach music.
PW: Is there a band or artist you might say you sound similar to?
A: We are in the same vein as bands like Foster the People, The War On Drugs, M83 and Phoenix, but we try to fuse our own tastes with the indie rock/electronic genres, and we usually end up with something that references some of the classic music we love while hopefully still sounding fresh and exciting.
PW: Tell me about your single "We're All Insane." Is there a story behind it?
N: Yeah, we aren’t a political band, but we wrote the song about the weird political situation that our country is in right now - mainly the two presidential candidates from the major parties. “We’re All Insane” is our way to poke fun at a political topic in a satirical way.
PW: The track is taken from your upcoming EP of the same name. Without giving too much away, what can you tell me about it?
N: Well the EP is quirky and fun, with a little bit of a serious side. It kind of mirrors us as people. It’s a cohesive collection of songs without being too homogenized. It is definitely worth a listen!
PW: Do you have a favourite track on the collection?
A: Not really, we like and are proud of all of them. "Do What You Want" is the lead single, which we just released, so we recommend everyone that hasn't heard us before give that a listen. Some are more upbeat, but we like the slower jams too.
PW: Who or what most influences your song-writing?
C: We usually find our inspiration from life experience. Our songs feel more heart felt and genuine that way.
PW: How easy or hard do you find the song-writing process? Can it depend on the subject matter?
C: Our producer Stuart Maxfield, the frontman of Fictionist, told us one day as we were writing that we should never feel like we are hitting our heads against a brick wall. That really makes sense to us. If an idea isn't working, maybe we need to move on from the song or come back to it later. That became our philosophy through writing the songs for this album.
PW: In your opinion, which is the greatest song ever written and why?
C: Hmmm. That’s a really tough question. There are so many great songs out there. Some of my favorite songs are "The Scientist" by Coldplay, "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis and "Every Breath You Take" by The Police. Those songs are all classic, emotional and near perfect in my opinion.
N: Yeah, I don't think I can answer that. So many songs have moved me in different ways. Some that come to mind as favorites throughout the years are "The Girl from Ipanema" by Antonio Carlos Jobim, "Let it Be" by the Beatles, "1979" by The Smashing Pumpkins, and "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty.
PW: What are your upcoming tour and performance plans?
N: We plan to hit the western U.S. this fall. Follow our social media pages to get updates.
PW: If you could share a stage with three other bands or artists who can be living or dead, who would they be and where would you play?
C: Wow… You have some rad questions. I have never really thought of that. Playing with a rad band like The Pixies at CBGB’s would have been cool. Also, The Beatles and maybe Nirvana in Seattle somewhere. I don’t know if our music would fit those bills though…
N: Playing at Woodstock would have been amazing, or at some high-energy show from the 80's punk scene. I also really admire the jazz greats of the '40s-'60s, sharing a stage with one of them would have been amazing.
PW: What are your thoughts on social media? To what extent has it helped your career and would you agree it's necessary for bands and artists today?
C: It’s definitely a good tool. Social media is the way of the world these days. It’s like trying to run a business without the internet. You probably could, but should you? It’s not an easy tool to master but it has helped us stay in touch with our fans.
N: I'll be honest. In some ways, I get really tired of social media and having to always remain engaging and maintain a presence online. I agree with Cori though, it's a necessary tool nowadays. On the positive side, it helps me stay in touch with friends and fans which I really enjoy.
PW: What else does the rest of the year have in store for you?
A: We just released our single "Do What You Want," and the music video for it drops in the next 2 weeks. We are really excited about it! Then we just want to play shows, keep writing and get our music out to as many people as we can reach.
PW: Finally then, what's your ultimate ambition as a band? What would you have to achieve in order to happily call it quits?
N: Right now I don’t really see us ever totally quitting music. We love it too much. We want to be able to reach as many people as we can with our music, so that we can have a long lasting career. That’s where our focus is.
Check out the new single from Spirit City "Do What You Want" below and for more information on the band, visit their website, give their page a like on Facebook or follow them on Twitter and Instagram.