Firstly, What brought about the reunion?
It was a total shock to me to be honest. I for one was missing being in a band but hadn’t said anything to anyone else. Then I received a message from Pete asking whether I’d be up for getting Spiders back together. I said I was, but only if everyone else was too. To my double surprise, the messages came in one after the other from the other guys, so we were on. Obviously, it didn’t pan out with Tiger Si which was a real shame.
Was there a plan when the band got back together for a new album?
As soon as we’d decided to give it another go it was business as usual, which with us means; album, tour, repeat.
When I say it was business as usual it soon became apparent that our usual way of working wasn’t going to be possible. One factor was Tomo didn’t live in the UK anymore so we needed to find a new way of doing things. This was initially Pete and I meeting up and going through ideas we had and that Irwin and Tomo had emailed through. It was going well and then COVID happened. It didn’t take long for us too realise that we could carry on writing the way we had been apart from the meeting up part. Soon we had more songs than we’d ever had as a band going into a studio to record an album. As soon as the restrictions allowed it we went into the studio and laid down the first three tracks. At that point I’d never even met Wyatt.
With liver performances being such a big part of the band was it difficult to plan a new record knowing you wouldn’t be able to hit the road?
It didn’t really affect the planning part it’s just been really strange to finish an album and not have any gigs to play. I hope it hasn’t damaged us too much, I do worry that being away means we’ve been forgotten about some what. Usually we’d make a statement through doing gigs, without that I feel we’re a bit like Samson after a scalping.
What about live streaming this release show was that a tough decision to make? again it’s such a weird time did the lockdowns afford you the time to get the songs to a point where you were super happy with them and not be rushed which might have happened if you’d book shows and a tighter deadline?
We’re not doing a live stream show, it’s just a virtual release party. Personally, I hate all this Zoom stuff, I’ve not had one good experience with it as I can’t seem to engage the same way I do when people are in the room. I’m sure it’ll be fine though as long as I don’t have to say anything.
We’ve never really had deadlines as we’ve never had a label telling us what to do. That’s good and bad at the same time because it means we also don’t have a label telling us what to do. We have to find our own way and make our own timetable. Or not. With these songs, we didn’t overthink them and that meant the process has been fast for us but not rushed.
Tell us about the new record? What songs are on it and how were they written did you do anything differently this time? I guess, trying to be positive what excited you about writing and recording the new record?
There are thirteen tracks on the new album. One of them is a cover which is something we’ve never done on an album before. At first, I was against it but I’m trying to be more open-minded and less “blinkered” in the way I see the band.
The writing process was very different, as I suggested earlier. I think it helped us to bring our ideas into focus more. There’s been less compromise and with that the ideas are more direct. I think it’s as good as anything we’ve ever done before at the very least. It really is an album of the 21st century, even though it doesn’t sound like 21st-century music. We wrote it all via email, playing guitars and singing into computers, playing along to an electric drum kit. Who would have thought technology would actually be helpful!
Recording the album was a great experience, from the first day when I met Wyatt for the first time, heard him play and thought to myself “we’re going to be alright”. As well as that it meant we could get out of the house and have some sort of feeling of normality, all be it socially distanced. We had this new mindset where positivity ruled. In the past it was just the opposite; if one person didn’t like something, it was gone. Matt our producer said he’d never worked with such a negative band before and I for one was determined to turn that on its head. I’d been one of the main culprits for the closed-minded approach and I wanted to change that and enjoy it, especially after not having it in my life for a few years.
What songs should fans look for on the record? ‘Good Times’ looks like you guys had a blast making it especially the video? It sounds fresh and the energy levels of the song are excellent, were any other covers considered?
My favourites are ‘Wizard Shall Not Kill Wizard’, ‘Free Ride’, and ‘Stabbed In The Back’ but I like all the songs if I’m honest. I love my band, it has all the bits in it of all the bands I love.
Good Times was Pete’s suggestion. At first, I was against it, but keeping the new positive direction in mind I said yes and quickly realised that it was a real “good times” song (sorry) and fitted into the Black Spiders songbook really easily. The video was fun, at first I recorded my bits pretty straight, in jeans and a T-shirt, then I saw a rough edit and Tomo’s outfit. I instantly thought “this needs a fur coat.”
I could be wrong as my memory is terrible, but I don’t think there were any other covers on the table.
What would you say is the main thing new band members bring to an established lineup? Is the approach to making the new album very different from when you recorded ‘Sons Of The North’? Does it seem like over a decade since you did that album?
That’s a tough question to answer, as I’m writing this we still haven’t been in a practice room with Wyatt. That being said, he’s a big character. He has to be to fill Tigers shoes.
A band is the result of the people who are in it. It’s not going to be the same without Si but you have to embrace the differences and run with them. I’m sure Wyatt will bring his own thing to the band, at this point the only thing I can tell you is that he’s an incredibly thorough and hard worker.
Recording this album and Sons couldn’t be more different. As I said earlier the outlook of the band was very different back then, but there were obvious things like T being in Spain and Si not being there.
It doesn’t not feel like a decade since we made SOTN, it feels longer. A lot has happened since 2011.
You play a tonne of festivals but sadly it looks like a lot of festivals are coming just a little early what with the vaccines and hopefully a return to some kind of normal where we can all get back inside venues. What do you miss about live shows and any particularly fond memories?
I miss that feeling that we might just have won some people over, that someone believes that I mean it, that they can see I’m still trying to bang my head harder than I should.
There are so many memories, when we headlined the Jager stage at Sonisphere has been in my head a lot lately, that was a really good “Fuck You..”
Going back to the new album there are some influences that come through but there is quite a diverse bunch of influences I heard from Sabbath to cheap trick and some commercial tones like ‘Fly In The Soup’ would that be fair but remaining really cohesive and the album has a really good flow to it, is it a difficult process picking what stays and what doesn’t make the cut and giving away non-album tracks as a pre-sale is a really cool touch was there a lot more material written and recorded?
Choosing the album is always tough. It was more difficult this time as we had so many songs to chose from. With the new mindset I’ve been talking about I felt it was important to have nothing compromised or diluted when it came to the final cut. We needed a pure vision and in that case, you need a dictatorship. This wasn’t popular in the band but in my opinion I think it paid off.
Finally, I wish you all the success with the new record and I’m sure fans old and new will love it.
That’s really kind of you to say. Thanks for taking an interest.
order the new album Here
photo by Mark Latham (marklatham.co.uk)