If you have been reading this site over the course of the last six months, you will have picked up on my continued championing of The Spider Accomplice. The upstart rock band has been on a tear, releasing the first two installments of their conceptual "Los Angeles" series about their adopted hometown. Their music is adventurous yet familiar, powerful yet graceful. They are one of the most promising new bands of recent years, and have released the best EP in each of the last two years, hands down. As they prepare for the third and final installment of their trilogy, I got the chance to pose a few questions and find out what this spider still has to spin.
The Spider Accomplice seems to be picking up more and more attention. Do you think it was important to introduce the band, and the Los Angeles concept, in smaller pieces, as opposed to an entire album that could have gotten lost in the shuffle?
VK: I do; currently, there are so many pieces of media to draw our attention that a full-length record often gets short changed. We craft each song with intent and meaning, and when we release them in smaller groupings, listeners are more likely to absorb them.
Arno: Yes, I think this was the best way to introduce ourselves; in smaller batches of songs and keeping the momentum longer than just one release. And I think the songs work together better in small batches, and the story comes across better. People can concentrate on 6 songs easier than on 12 songs. But the key is to keep high standard all the time.
There are three members of the band, and three EPs that will form the whole of the "Los Angeles" project. Is that a coincidence?
VK: Like V from ‘V for Vendetta’, I do not believe in coincidence. ;)
Arno: I think yes. We just needed three EPs to tell the story.
How accepting are your fellow band members of the pink motif?
VK: It was their idea! I have had pink hair for years, and when we were discussing our stage attire, Arno said, “Let’s wear pink suits!” I thought he was kidding at first….Nope! They both were enthusiastic about it, and we haven’t looked back since.
Arno: We all like pink, and our look is unique. So no complains from anyone :)
Every band dynamic is different. What do each of you bring to The Spider Accomplice that lets you be so successful?
VK: On a creative level, Arno brings amazing riffs, I bring melodies and lyrics, and Justin brings artwork and sound design…then we all bring our musicality and see what we can cook!
Arno: As long as there's a good idea behind a song, and we are open minded, anything can happen. But being open minded is the strength we all share. We all have different influences, which hopefully comes across in our songs.
Was it intentional to have the songs showcase such an array of influences, or did it come naturally through the writing process?
VK: It was not something that was designed…we are all products of very diverse experiences and influences, so we write and play what sounds good to us.
Arno: We have lots of different influences, and this world is full of great music, so we want to be as diverse as possible. Just to keep music interesting and fun to play. Most likely it will sound like us in the end.
Sub-question: When writing a conceptual piece, were the songs written specifically for the sound of each part of the story, or did the story evolve to fit the music that you were writing?
VK: For me, it’s simultaneous. Songwriting is very visceral, and it comes out of that moment in time, that experience, and what I’m feeling- that usually informs the story.
Arno: It evolved. But the main thread is always there.
You've been in the industry for a while, so I was wondering what you consider the advantages of being an independent band. Is it in the back of your mind as a goal to grow The Spider Accomplice into a band that attracts a label?
VK: The advantage is we can do whatever the hell we want creatively. Usually a label curtails some of that. However; with the industry in such an upheaval, I rule nothing out- things can change. Whatever avenue is going to make it possible for us to make music- and play it for people who love it- for the rest of our lives is the road we’ll take.
Arno: I'd like to work with industry pros to help getting our music heard. Being independent is hard work and there;s only so much you can do, so it would be great to have people with knowledge of the industry to work with us.
As a writer myself, I'm always interested in the process. What does writing look like for the band? Or for yourself as a solo artist?
Arno: Writing is work too, but the most fun. Someone brings is in an idea and we brainstorm from that to make it interesting and fun for all of us.
VK: What he said!
I'd like to ask about a few specific songs, if I may. "Bromelaid" might just be the most striking song you've released yet. Am I wrong in hearing influences from The Smiths in the guitars?
Arno: Yes, there are influences from Johnny Marr, but also from other great guitarists from the era. I like the way they make music sounding big with very simple style of playing. But also, my influences come from very different genres and eras, from metal to jazz. When you put those together, I hope it sounds interesting:)
When you write a song like that, do you know immediately that you've got something special?
VK: We did-that song has been our baby since it was born.
Arno: I felt it with "Bromelaid". I knew we had something there from the start. And I'm very happy the way it came together.
"You Still Lie" is a very pop-friendly song. How important do you feel it is to write music that has an infectious appeal, that the crowd at one of your shows can sing along with?
Arno: I like the song and it came together very easily. We hadn't done a song like that, and if someone can make it catchy, it's VK. I wanted to make a happier song and there we were:) It's very important to have those kind of songs to break the ice. If a listener likes a song, they can dig deeper to find out the other songs and albums.
"Butterflies In A Beehive" is a beautiful, minor-key sounding song. How do you find the right balance between light and dark in your music?
VK: Lyrically, I don’t try to consciously do that…the words are just what come out of me.
Arno: When we try to make a happier song but we all like minor key songs, the songs come out as both. I think they sound hopeful and beautiful. And it's fun to play between light and dark. I hope they are bit more unpredictable.
The third installment of the "Los Angeles" series is in the works, I assume. When all three EPs are out, and put together into a whole, do you have any plans for where the band goes afterward?
VK: I have some ideas….. ;)
Arno: As long as I can write and play more songs, I'm a happy camper. Third part of the "Los Angeles" will sound different, again. And I'm already very excited about it. That's the priority right now, and after that, we'll see what's the best way to release new music. Will it be one album, or double album, no one knows yet:) As long as we keep working hard, and keep the high standard, anything can happen.
I know it's hard for independent bands to play live as much as fans would want them to, and that you've commented trying to explain the reality of touring. How important a part of being in a band is playing live for you? What do you get out of a Spider Accomplice show?
VK: If we could play every single night, we would. We love the live show, we love to tour, it’s the best damn thing on earth.
Arno: Playing live is very important, but it requires money to travel and advertise the gigs. All the money we make, we put in the band. But it seems there's never enough:) On stage, we give all we have, but we try to maintain dynamics. That's easy because we have a wide array of songs, but we always take the listeners into consideration by not playing too loud and showing variety of songs and feelings.
Finally, are there any other projects you're working on that you would like to tease?
Arno: Only The Spider Accomplice.
To hear and buy "Los Angeles: The Trap", and "Los Angeles: The Abduction", head over to The Spider Accomplice on Bandcamp.
And to keep up with the band, like them on Facebook.