Today we met The Spook School, a band that formed in 2012,whose name originates from the Glasgow School
They have released two records to critical acclaim: 2013s Dress Up, a gender-binary eradicating releasenoisy, cheery pop critical of social construction and its limitations, and 2015s Try to Be Hopeful, a celebration of queer and trans identities from a place of newfound self-assurance
Nye Todd (guitar/vocals), Anna Cory (bass/vocals), Adam Todd (guitar/vocals) and Niall McCamley (drums), have lived a lot of life since the release of their first record.
The new album “Could It Be Different?” was written from space that follows aplomb.
here our interview with them…..
Your new album “Could it Be Different” will be released in few weeks – what would you say was the best moment during preparation for the record’s release? And the most difficult one?
Niall: “The best moment preparing for the release is hearing the final masters and knowing that musically there’s nothing else that can be done. It exists and you have to let go. There’s a release from that worry of ‘can I make this better?’
The most difficult is giving that final ok to the masters, the actual final letting go! How do you say ‘yes, this is it, I am happy to release it’.
It’s such a terrifying and nerve-wracking experience to send it to press and to know that people will hear what you’ve been working on for so long.”
Is there a common thread, lyrically speaking, between all of the songs?
Niall: “Looking back and wondering if you’ve made the right decisions. And trying to find peace when you know there’s nothing you can do to change the past.”
What inspired the verses of “Still Alive”?
Nye: “The whole song is pretty much about (mainly sexual/romantic) past experiences where people haven’t treated me very well/have ignored what I’m comfortable with and my boundaries.
I’ve always had a tendency to be very hard on myself for letting myself get into those situations, or for “not saying no loud enough” and all that kind of victim blaming crap that I would never think of applying to someone else but somehow felt like I deserved. So yeah, this song is about not giving those excuses to someone who has treated you badly, blaming them instead of yourself and reminding them (and you) that you are still there.
Maybe not okay, but still there.”
Do you remember writing “Keep in Touch” and what it was like?
Niall: “I remember having this guitar bit I was messing with and sent it to Adam who made it into a proper guitar part.
He sent it back to me and I wandered around Queen’s Park in Glasgow listening to it over and over while jotting down notes on my hand and arm.
I had just lost contact with someone I was very close with and was thinking back over our time together and how sad it was not to be able to talk to them anymore.
One of the last things they said to me was that they wanted to move abroad and teach English as a foreign language.
I started imagining where they might be and how we might have stayed in contact. Writing it made me feel pretty glum but then when Anna started singing on it too it suddenly felt like a conversation and quite therapeutic.
Maybe one day I’ll meet the person again and maybe one day they’ll find out they have their very own song and they won’t think it’s really, really weird!
Adam: “I had a basic demo for this song that was mainly instrumental with some ‘bababa/lalala’ vocals instead of lyrics.
The only part where I’d actually written lyrics was the closing refrain,
“Are you ok now? Do you feel alright? Why did you say that you want to die?” So I sent it to the rest of the band in that state.”
Nye: “I wrote most of the lyrics to Body when I was doing a lot more exercise than I usually do and kind of getting to a place for the first time in my life where I was kind of proud of what my body could accomplish rather than always hating it.
But then again, even while I was feeling that I also had (and have) a lot of negative thoughts about my body that are mainly tied up with being trans and just general negative body image stuff.
So (the lyrics I wrote for the song), are pretty much about that, and about wondering if that’s the same for everyone.”
What do you think is the best verse you ever wrote, and why?
Niall: “I don’t think we’re the kind of people to ever be truly happy with what we’ve done but I’ll help everybody out and say my favourite verse I haven’t written: ‘Do you like the way you look naked?
I don’t know if any of us do. And I still hate my body, but I’m learning to love what it can do. Do you believe me when I tell you you’re beautiful? Because I know I don’t believe you. And I still hate my body But I’m learning to love what
it can do’ It’s sad, it’s hopeful, it’s optimistic and it’s painful.”
How do you usually write the lyrics of your songs? Do you have a process?
Niall: “I write down ideas on all sorts of scraps of paper and then when I get guitar parts I don’t hate I go through lyric ideas until I find a hook and then I try to expand on those themes. Then I send it to the rest of the gang and they polish it up!
Adam: “I hate writing lyrics! So my process tends to usually be to write a couple of words/lines then give up and hand it to the rest of the band to finish.”
What is the most recent song you wrote?
Niall: “Looking through my notes it looks like Best of Intentions. It was actually one of the first songs we started working on for the new album but lyrically it wasn’t working.
At the end of writing the album I went away and ripped up the original and rewrote all the lyrics and it became Best of Intentions.
That’s the most recent complete song we’ve finished and recorded but we’re working on others all the time.
What does music mean to you?
Niall: “It’s an outlet, a pressure release. Perhaps it’s escapism or a form of therapy where I can work through my emotions with like-minded people or by just battering the drums.”
What makes you happy in life?
Niall: “Touring, travelling, playing shows. Feeling like I’m always moving, perpetual motion.”
Adam: “Same. Having played in a band for this long now we’ve ended up with a load of friends dispersed across different cities and countries, so it’s always nice to catch up with people on tour. Even if it’s just briefly.”