Interview: Spring King

08 Sep 2014

We caught up with Spring King's Tarek Musa ahead of the bands 'Demons' EP release


The Peugeot 405 happens to be the car my Gran drives, seriously. It has great speakers that often play Rodgers and Hammerstein, but should really play mid-era The Clash or Smith Westerns, that drenched sound. A little hiss before anything is in fidelity. The Peugeot 405 happens to be Tarek Musa's first car. A backdrop to the noisy sweet notions that lie at the heart of his band Spring King. How do I know all this? Well, we caught up with Tarek Musa this week to check in on Spring King ahead of the UK tour later this month.

Talking cassettes, the music industry and shower selfies, have no fear that if Spring King did a Jennifer Lawrence 4chan best be scared. Rough, ready and bleeding indie sentimentality, long live the Spring King.

Hey what are you guys doing right now, like right now?

I’ve just been hanging out with me 18 month old nephew. Sat him on my lap and let him run wild on my drum kit. He loves the ride cymbal and floor tom most.

Can you give us a picture of your current location or scenery?

I get distracted quickly, went back upstairs for a shower, now I’m back and ready to do this interview...

If Spring King's phone got hacked, what would "4chan" be treated to?

Definitely a couple nudes, but I won’t say on whose phone. Without a doubt. Also loads of pictures from the set of our new video for ‘Demons’. Pete has a habit of sending pictures of himself with a wig on from time to time or weird aprons or abstract things. Below we have from left to right: Me with a mustache at a surprise birthday for Andy. Pete and one of his apps that puts his face on people. Me with pink eye on the day of the ‘Can I’ video, hence the shades the whole way. Pete having a nap in a toilet. Me and James in Brighton enjoying an ice cream. More of Pete and down the bottom, middle, is a good friend of ours Joe Wills who plays a cheerleader in the new ‘Demons’ video.

Who is Spring King, and when did you guys first latch on to that name?

When I was studying music production, I was obsessed with reverb and echo and anything over the top and used in excess amounts. My favourite piece of kit was an old spring tank from a fender amp. Eventually a friend of mine coined me the Spring King, and about a year later he was still calling me it and I needed a name for this project.

How do you guys try to be the 'Better Man'?

We try not to get too deep into the dark side of the music industry, it will chew you up and spit you out. We all do things on the side to keep active, James goes under the name Claremont for his electronic stuff, Pete runs a record label (Happy Death) and Andy is constantly studying Jazz guitar – he’s got more shapes than an early learning center. Bad joke, I meant chord shapes.

What's your favourite love song?

10 cc – I’m Not In Love. Or...I don’t know if it’s even a love song, but County Line by Cass McCombs.

Who's garage features in the video for 'Can I'?

That’s my garage.

'Can I' is the kinda track I believe is very aware of its surroundings, it's rough garage edges; where would you most, in the world, want to play that track?

I’d love to play it at The Kazimier in Liverpool to a sold out show with everyone jumping around and having a great time.

There's the beautiful section, a minute or so in, where things become softer and lucid, before then another obliging zoom of guitars breaks. I love how you guys are raucous, but not sloppy, you seem caring. Is that true or have I got it wrong?

We definitely care. Everything we do comes from the heart, it’s completely honest.

What do you guys eat on tour?

I try to be healthy but it never works out. Mostly free food from the venue, which is always pizza or burgers, or service station food which I’ll leave up to your imagination. If we’re driving from home, we normally all bring packed lunches because we can’t spend.

What is the most important item/thing you can't tour without?

Apart from our instruments, it has to be fresh clothes and an auxiliary cable that attaches from your iPod to the car stereo.

What influences have seeped into your boisterous rough pop?

We’ve been described in the past somewhere along the lines of Arcade Fire meets Black Lips for a game of squash with The Clash as referee. 

'Demons' is my favourite song on the EP, because of the Marc Bolan-esque grand nature that comes with those fantastic drums and striking chorus. Everything is big after those first crashes. Similarly, the vocals really reach, "woke up in the morning, to the face of broken dreams...." What's the story behind 'Demons'?

The song is about coping. Everyone at some point in their life has to cope with something difficult.

What's your favourite Robin Williams movie?

For me it’s definitely Good Morning Vietnam.

What's the strangest thing that's happened to you at one of you're gigs?

Well, it was kind of strange. I was playing drums and looking around, then I turn to my left and Pete had fell on his arse and trapped himself in-between my drums and monitor wedge. He couldn’t get up without stopping so he just kept playing!

Have you guys been picking up any cassettes recently?

I literally spent last night sorting out my old cassette collection! I go to car boot sales every Sunday and there’s an old man there who swears that cassettes are the new vinyl. I love them. My first ever car was a Peugeot 405 which had a broken starter motor, so where ever I went, to start the car I’d have to lift the bonnet and whack the starter motor with a rod. I’d always listen to cassettes in that car. When we tried to sell it, the junkyard said that we’d have to pay him to take it off his hands that how bad it was.

How do you feel about that format and would you guys be looking to release a cassette?

In the past we’ve always been on the edge of nearly releasing a cassette because it’s the cheapest way to release music physically. We really want to at some point. We’re currently on Rough Trade NYC’s compilation 80N7, which is out September 27th

Bruce Springsteen or Bruce Forsyth?

Springsteen. Could Bruce Forsyth welcome Springsteen onto the stage at least?

What's the next step for Spring King?

We’ve got some UK shows to enjoy, as well as Reeperbahn festival in Hamburg. We’re preparing our next release at the moment and expect the brand new video for ‘Demons’!

Thanks and see you in London.

Spring King headline Electrowerkz in London on 22nd September, get tickets here.

The 'Demons' EP is out today via paradYse Records. Buy it here.

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