AFTER first being seduced by the name (I mean: isn’t Spang Sisters a thing of beauty?), we were further seduced by the musical chops of the said sisters, in actual fact duo Rachid and Jules. Not just those cool Hall & Oates meets Unknown Mortal Orchestra vibes; but also these keenly observed, skewed views of life.
They’re purveyors of psych-rock-funk-pop that has a post-modern delight in the absurdity and simultaneous greatness of the form; it couldn’t be better summed up than by the louche lushness of “Eddie Murphy”, the video for which you can watch below – in which a sausage and fish finger fall in love. Think Captain Beefheart meets Connan Mockasin.
They’ve sold out surprisingly raucous live shows across the UK and in mainland Europe and they are ready to step into the spotlight with this new track. The video has been selected for screening at London’s Short Film Festival. They also host their own show on London’s Balamii Radio.
We loved what we heard, so thought we’d stop by their world and ask them a little about them and their plans.
BACKSEAT MAFIA: Give us a potted history of The Spang Sisters?
Rachid: I met Jules at a dirty house rave in Southwark some six years ago. A year later we met again as we were both living in Bristol for different reasons. Along with two friends I’d just met at university, the group The Ghetto Hobs was formed. We’d practise twice a week in an empty room in Ali the drummer’s halls of residence and play sloppy, raucous shows at LeftBank on Gloucester Road every Wednesday. The following year we all moved in together and spent a lot of time playing and writing. The year after that, I moved away to France and then Russia and when I returned we formed Spang Sisters with Ali, Albert and Frank. For two and a half years we gigged hard around the UK and in France before disbanding in summer 2019.
Jules and I now live in Brighton and spent this summer recording our forthcoming album.
Who inspired you to start making music?
Like many others, I was first drawn in by that era of music which is so dreadfully termed, ‘classic rock’. A film called Almost Famous pushed me to start collecting records and plunged me deep into an obsession with the album Led Zeppelin III and other ethereal 70s’ folk rock. Early Bob Dylan also had a huge influence on me at a young age, especially his album Another Side Of Bob Dylan.
Eventually I think we both fell on the aspiration of making warm guitar music.
And the records that inspired you artistically?
Randy Newman – Sail Away. His satirical, personal and simple songwriting is hugely inspiring. I love his subtle sense of humour.
Eugene McDaniels – Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse. Its beauty and ingenuity are incomparable.
If you’re trying to explain who you sound like to someone that’s never heard you, what do you say?
Sleazy bedroom music.
Tell us about your new track.
We are releasing independently on our own label, Bathtime Sounds. [“Eddie Murphy”] is an old song that we finally recorded properly this summer at home apart from the drums, which were recorded in a studio in Stoke Newington. The song is simply about a relationship gone sour in which a desperate attempt at reconciliation is found in watching an Eddie Murphy film together. We’re both big Eddie Murphy fans. This song is our thank you to him for Norbit.
Where can we get hold of it?
You can hear it on Spotify or on YouTube, where it is accompanied by a video about the love affair of a sausage and a fish finger.
Tell us how you write?
Other than very few exceptions, we tend to write and record songs separately as we have very different techniques but a unifying sound. In the past, our releases were the product of this. We now usually record a demo which is 90% there and then record the song together. We like to emphasize the dichotomy between our styles.
Tell us about your live show. Have you been missing it recently, with lockdown?
Just before lockdown, we played our final gig with the original band set-up so we are currently in an interim period. Generally we were known for swapping instruments a lot, sweating a lot and summoning our drummer to take the lead for the final few songs as we launched into greasy hubcap metal music.
When we start gigging again, I’d like to retain the energy but focus more on being tight and widening the band set-up with a third guitar and maybe backup singers.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
We have another single coming out in January and the tape is out in May. It’s really good.
What’s rocking your headphones at the moment?
At the moment it is the musical stylings of Piero Piccioni in the film Colpo Rovente, as well as the songs of Jo Stafford. In terms of new music, Novelist’s new EP is on repeat and we also really like Tiña’s new album. As winter dawns, the melancholy sound of Bill Evans is likely to take precedence.
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