say that The Spinto Band have had a busy two years would be an understatement. Armed with more hooks than a bait and tackle
shop, they released an impressive duo of pop LPs with 2012’s Shy Pursuit and their latest, Cool Cocoon, released in early 2013.
by the new MS-20 Mini and their extensive collection of new and old Korg gear,
the Spinto Band recently embarked on a Korg-exclusive song remix and music
video project of their infectious Cool
Cocoon single, “Shake It Off”.
after wrapping work on the song and video, we caught up with guitarist/vocalist
Nick Krill to discuss the project and all things Spinto.
Although you first started attracting major attention with breakthrough album Nice and Nicely Done (2005), you guys
have been together as a band for a very
long time. What was the impetus for getting together and who were your earliest
Band: We got together basically because we were all friends and
we had all recently received musical instruments for birthday presents. Before
anyone ever played any music we all kind of pretended to be in bands; painting
album covers, making pretend music videos and stuff like that. That’s pretty
much what we did for fun when we were 10 or 12 years old. Once we actually
began playing music, our early inspiration came from bands like Ween, The
Residents, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Flaming Lips, Pavement, Frank
Zappa. It ended up mostly your average mid 1990’s guitar bands, with a healthy
dose of our parent’s record collections thrown in for good measure.
Over the years you’ve produced some incredible music videos to help promote
your work, harkening back to a time when music was discovered via mix tapes and
MTV, not algorithm-based “suggestions” from a smartphone app. How do you typically approach making a new music
video and what are your some of your favorite music videos by other artists?
Band: We are lucky to be friends with a lot of really talented
film and video artists. We have always
loved photography and videos, even going back to those early days of band home
videos…It seems like we just kind of end up hanging out with visual artists a
lot! When we are working on new music, you
know we’ll play stuff for friends to get their take on it and see what they
think. As it happens, a lot of those friends, like Albert Birney, Nicholas
Gurewitch, Nate Johnson, Phil Davis, Daniel
Gray Longino, they happen to be film or video makers! So, we’ll play them rough
mixes or they’ll stop by the studio to hang out, and then a few weeks later
they might say, ”Hey, I’ve got an idea for that song you guys played me the
other day.” Other times we might have a specific song we want a video for, and
we’re lucky enough to have a bunch of close friends we can ask and see who
might be interested in making a video.
As for videos we dig, I think I am personally drawn to
the ones with animation or puppets in them…something like the video for George Harrison’s
“Got My Mind Set on You” or the video for Django Django’s song “Default.” But
don’t get me wrong, I still love a good “band playing in a box getting drowned
by a ton of milk” style video too, like Limp Bizkit’s “Re-arranged” video!
You guys have lent your production, mixing and playing talents to a number of
bands and projects over the years. What was it like approaching a remix of one
of your own songs
for a change?
Band: It was a lot of fun, and it was nice to wear a different
kind of sonic/ production hat while still working on one of our own songs. Especially
after just finishing up the Cool Cocoon
album, it was a nice swerve to take a song that was still very fresh in our
minds and bring it to a slightly different land.
You’ve built up quite a collection of Korg gear, both vintage and modern, as
seen and heard in this project. Can you
tell us a little bit about how you incorporated each instrument?
Band: Sure, we used the MS-20 mini for a lot of different
parts. It’s probably most prominent on
the bass notes in the chorus and the solo. One of the most fun things we did with the
MS-20 mini was plug external sound sources through it. For instance, we sent a
sub-mix of the drums through it and it turned out really well, especially when
we started messing with the filter and resonance. That led to some nice effects!
At times it even gives a weird backwards sounding effect to the drum part which
was really cool, I think that was partly due to the drums triggering the
oscillators and the noise generators on the MS20-mini too. There is also a guitar part we played through
the MS-20 in the chorus. It made a sound
like we were playing a riff on telephone buttons or something.
We also had a Korg DW-6000 which was our go to synth for
any pad type sound we needed. It became
the king of the song’s bridge with a great 80s sounding pad, and a cool bell
patch. That chorus got a bit of help from an arpeggiator riff fading in and out
on a microKORG. Speaking of the bridge, the microSAMPLER came in really handy
there too. We wanted to have some orchestral elements peek through the synths
so we were able to trigger some samples of other instruments during that section.
We also loaded it up with some vintage
Korg drum machine sounds, and played the drum fills on the microSAMPLER. The main
electronic drum part throughout the song came from a Monotribe.
Let’s see…we also used Monotrons here and there. Actually,
one of my favorite discoveries was the delay section on the Monotron Delay. I
ended up using that on the lead vocal! You can hear some fun vocal delay tweaking
on the bridge of the song. Our guitarist Joe is a big video game fan and had the Korg DS-10 (for Nintendo DS), which
we used for a little harmony on the second verse.
You had to fill some very big shoes recently as the last-minute headliner at a festival
in Switzerland. What happened there?
Band: Yeah, we were supposed to be the opening act for the
Killers at the Caprices Festival, but they ended up getting stranded in a huge
snow storm. That was pretty wild, actually! We just lucked out due to the
timing and routing of our own tour, so we were about a day ahead of the storm.
The storm ended up closing all these major highways in Belgium and France, and
a bunch of the bands scheduled to play the festival were totally stranded. Everyone
ended up making the best of it though, and it was actually one of the most
enjoyable festivals we’ve played.
So, what’s on the horizon for The Spinto Band?
Band: We are preparing for a small tour at the end of August
with MewithoutYou, which should be a lot of fun. Then we’ll play a few more
shows locally in the fall. Then the plan is to get back in the studio in early
all things Spinto Band head over to www.spintonic.net.