Spiral Beach goes Bollywood on upcoming record

Spiral Beach Live By: Sheena Lyonnais
June 28, 2009

Spiral Beach have a lot to talk about: they’ve toured extensively for a young band, been fined for postering in Toronto, had their music featured in the Hollywood film Charlie Bartlett, and have worked with the Hidden Cameras’ Mike Olsen on two records, including their upcoming not-yet-named full-length set for a September release.  

But it is the latter they want to focus on because everything for the band has matured and evolved.  They’ve added cellos and mellotrons in addition to their spacey keys and indie retro beats and embraced what they call their equivalent of a Bollywood record.

“Like most of our stuff, it’s still pretty upbeat and fun, but there’s a little more variety and dynamic on the new one,” drummer Daniel Woodhead said after a lively early evening show at Dundas Square during North By Northeast.

“There are some songs where there aren’t any drums.  There’s some songs that are mostly based on samples and stuff. A lot of sound effects.  We tried to make it as much like a Bollywood record as we could without actually being Indian in any way.   Just with all the sounds coming in and everything being in your face and crazy, which is kind of like how the band is anyway,” he said.

Spiral Beach Live TorontoJoined by guitarist Airick Woodhead, bassist Dorian Wolf and vocalist/keyboardist Maddy Wilde, the quartet used NXNE as an outlet to record the music video to their upcoming single “Domino,” an energetic dance track reminiscent of the B-52s.   They filmed three of their four NXNE performances, including two secret shows using a number of different cameras and are basically hoping to accomplish a smaller-scale Beastie Boys video.

This is just one of the things on their summer to-do list.  They’ll also be playing Scenefest and the Suncrash Festival, along with some New York dates in July.

“We need to play New York like we’re playing Toronto.  Treat it like it’s our hometown.  I think that is going to be really good for us,” Woodhead said. 

“It took so long to finish the record and now the hard part is over.  We made this thing and I think it sounds great.  It’s a big step up from the last one and I think it’s exactly what we needed to put it.  It feels like the culmination of something, like we’re building up to this.”

The record took three months to record compared to approximately two weekends for 2007’s Ball.  It will be release simultaneously in Canada and the States through Sparks/Tommy Boy records, an exciting venture considering Ball was only recently released in America. 

It is a much more meticulous effort, complete with overdubs and samples, which only makes sense since the band’s approach to writing has also changed.  While they used to write in the conventional full band way, they focused their attention this time on individual aspects in order to produce the best product.  

“We wrote a lot of the songs just with acoustic guitars and worked out the whole song: all the lyrics and everything just playing it in a room, that’s not something we normally do.  We usually do everything as a full band with drums and everything, so I think the songs are just better. A lot of them we can play totally acoustically. 

Spiral Beach NXNE“Airick and Maddy do busking a lot in Kensington market, so some of them we wrote there in the park.  We were kind of figuring them out and playing them for people walking by and we’d figure it out like ‘oh the chorus should be twice as long, oh we’ll play it again for these guys.’ There’s a lot of the new album that has acoustic guitar and is kind of a mix between acoustic guitar and sound effects and singing, rather than all of it being big rock electric guitar stuff, but there’s some of that too,” Woodhead said.

Following the release, Spiral Beach plans to tour the record extensively, with ventures all over North America. They just competed a large tour including cities they hadn’t played before such as Edmonton, which was surprisingly packed according to the band. 

“When the record comes out, we’re just going to tour until we die,” Woodhead said.

For more information on Spiral Beach, check out www.myspace.com/spiralbeach.

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