Today is the release date of the reissue Gimme Fiction and Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga of SPOON.

nineteen ninety six. Amid the euphoria brought about by the premiere of Independence Day and the victories of Braveheart, Apollo 13th and even Pocahontas at the Oscars, the Spice Girls were taking the whole world by storm: the catchy sounds of “Wannabe” were replicated like gremlins with songs like Donna Lewis’s “I Love You Always Forever”. And not to mention the strikes of Celine dion That we had to kick as Titanic heritage.

The outlook was not so encouraging, was it? Well, the reality is that not everything was as cheesy and honeyed as it seems, because while this was happening, four young Texans burst onto the alternative scene to give rise to a movement that in the next few years we would call “indie”. Yes, we are talking about SPOON.

Gerardo Larios and Britt Daniel with Spoon in 2019. / Photo: .

24 years have passed since then. 24 years in which SPOON became the cornerstone of a movement that marked the first decades of the new millennium by exploring all kinds of sounds, themes and moods visible throughout his discography consisting of nine albums that in 2020 will be reissued on vinyl and CD for the first time.

Without a doubt, this was the perfect pretext to sit down and chat with Britt Daniel, frontman and vocalist, about the story behind the songs that have marked SPOON’s career. So get ready for a Best Of …

‘Don’t You Evah’

This song is one of the few covers that we have done. It was a song from The Natural History, a band from Brooklyn that doesn’t exist anymore, but we once saw them in Brooklyn, did a couple of tours, and became friends. The way I heard this song was by working on “Gimme Fiction,” and Max, who was the main songwriter on The Natural History, I was working on lyrics and songs for the album they were working on. So we exchange songs.

He sent me a couple of songs, one called “Abel” and the other is “Don’t You Evah.” I loved. It became my favorite song for a week or so. And I added some ideas to it, as if I put a shaker in it. I put some palms there. I think I did some guitar and sent it back to him.

In the end, they put it on a record. But this one never came out, and when we were working on the Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, I told them that I knew about a song that no one knew and that it was really good, maybe even a hit, that we could record it and it would be new to everyone else. So we did it and it worked better than we expected. It’s one of the best songs and we ended up adding it also on the Greatest Hits album.

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‘The Underdog’

It is a song that for little and we did not include it in the disc, it is the only song of Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga that we worked with a different producer. All of our records were co-produced by us and Mike McCarthy. So Girls Can Tel, Kill the Moonlight, Gimme Fiction and Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga were all co-produced by Mike and us.

But there was a time when Mike wasn’t available, and he really hadn’t shown much interest in “The Underdog.” We played it for him in rehearsal and he didn’t like it. I wouldn’t say he didn’t want to work on it, but he didn’t seem excited enough to do it.

So we finished and there was this guy named John Bryant, who is a great producer, and he wanted to do a song with us. I sent him some songs and one of them was “The Underdog.” Anyway, it’s a long way of saying it was the only song on the record that wasn’t produced by Mike and we found it to feel different.

It seemed like maybe it didn’t fit, because so much of that record is geared towards reverb and overdubbing. And we almost didn’t include it, but on a visit from Merge, the radio person who worked at our record label, she told us that it definitely That should be the first single from the album, and we were shocked.

I didn’t think it was a success. I thought it was a cool little song. I thought it sounded like, you know, that it was interesting, different, and I fought against it. But Merge was right and she did very well for us.

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‘Not Turing Off’

The first time I heard the term ‘indie rock’ was when we were on tour in Boston promoting Telephono and I met a man with whom I had been exchanging tapes of unreleased songs by mail. I had not seen him personally, but he was the one who told me: “Hey, do you like indie rock?”, And I replied, “What ?!”. But the concept drove me crazy. I didn’t know what he was referring to.

I told him that I really enjoyed the music released by independent labels. He replied that he did, but I am referring more to indie rock and that’s when he clarified that it is a genre. I kept thinking. By then, he was still obsessed with the term that was used as a medium of commerce. And, well, many people say that our album opened the door to the indie scene. with a kick Well I guess in a way it was.

But at the time I just didn’t realize what it was. I knew beforehand what indie labels were and what they meant, but as a genre, it confused me. This song is one of our oldest songs and I’m not sure if there is a direct line or not, but I do know that I was thinking of PJ Harvey when I wrote this song.

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‘The Agony Of Laffitte’

“The Agony of Laffitte” was a song we put out after the album we signed with Elektra Records. It’s about our contact with that label, a guy named Ron Laffitte. In fact, you must know that we wrote two songs about Laffitte. One is ‘The Agony of Laffitte’ and the other is ‘Laffitte is Comming Out’. Now these are songs about our experience working with him. It was not a good experience for us.

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‘Everything Hits At Once’

Girls Can Tell was the album that allowed us to make an international tour of several countries, and it’s an album that we recorded in Jim’s garage and that became one of our lairs. It’s not that we didn’t like the studios where we worked, but Jim started setting up his own studio and there were also problems with things not working. But it was always like this.

What this place had is that it made us feel in a more homely place, as if everything was going slowly. It also gave us a pleasant feeling of knowing that we were doing it ourselves and that allowed us to have a certain autonomy and independence.

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‘The Way We Get By’

“The Way We Get By” is a good song. It is mostly a true story about RVs. I put in some Iggy Pop references, maybe there are two or three references to Iggy Pop songs, because somehow the reason that happened was because Joe Strummer had just died. and someone reminded me that Iggy could die. So it made me think of the national treasure that is Iggy.

So I started listening to Iggy’s songs, and in the song I talk about how I hear Iggy on the street or in some strange scent. But, I really like it. It has a lot of minimalist sounds like the rest of the album. It is a disc recorded on a 16-track, two-inch tape. So when you only have 16 tracks, you can’t put a million instruments in there. And I like the sound because of that limitation it gave us, I feel like I miss that.

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‘I Turn My Camera On’

In a way, the rhythm of this song is inspired by a Franz Ferdinand song, just when it starts at one time and passes to the other. I thought I could write the song with that simple beat and it was tough.

But, I like the weather. So I sat on the ground and just with that, aiming to get to a baseline that was with this kind of pace, trying not to turn into something rough and it came really fast. I didn’t know exactly what the words meant, but later they made sense to me. And you’re right, singing with a falsetto is something I always like to do.

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‘Written In Reverse’

With Transference we wanted to make an album that would react against the one we had done before, the previous one had been Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. There were a lot of R&B and pop elements. I don’t know if it was a rock record, but you know, it had horns. We wanted to make a record that was more… a little more twisted, maybe a little uglier. And we didn’t set out to do it, pBut we ended up producing the record ourselves because we wanted it to be produced by Mark Ronson.

We talked to him a lot and he wanted to, but for some reason he was busy and we got tired of waiting. So we started recording it ourselves and then we said, “Well, we can do it ourselves.” And we did it. It would have been a very different album if Mark Ronson had done it, but, you know, it was part of our journey.

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‘Do you’

Originally Dave Fridman was just going to mix that record. It was a strange record where we did half and we intended to finish the other part. We said, “We’re going to mix that half and then finish the other half.” So we did the first half with the Joe Ceccarelli production and then we went, mixed that half with Dave Fridmann in his studio, which is in the woods outside of Fredonia in New York.

We ended up getting along very well with him. We showed him the songs he mixed and one of the first he did was “Do You”. And when I heard that mix, I think we also caused him a certain empathy. At the time I thought, this guy is good.

He’s bringing something we couldn’t have thought of making ourselves, because he did so much more than a typical mixer would, you know? So we said, “okay, maybe this is the guy. Maybe we can do the second half. ”And it worked really well for Joe too. So this is how the record was made, with two different producers. “Inside Out” is one of my favorite songs. It gives me a good feeling, I really like the vibe and sound of the song, that is, everything came together. I really enjoy it.

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‘Hot Toughts’

It’s a song that I worked on for a while. I mean, at the beginning it had the title of “Pop Thoughts”. Then I had this other song that was kind of based on the celestron part that you hear in the chorus of that song. And for me, the hook of that song is precisely the celestron, an element that we reached because it allowed us to hear the penetration of the studio.

I had always wondered what that sound was, and eventually, it was put to good use. It gives strength to the song. The cover was made by a friend of mine who I followed on Instagram, I didn’t even know she was a painter, she was a friend. And I saw that he put up a one meter photo with that paint and I asked him if I could use it. And that’s how it was created.

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