At Third Outing, we always end our interviews by asking the same question: what's your desert island drink? And for once the answer to that question truly reflects the ethos of a band. Bristol based shoegazers Spectres take a £1 warm can of rum and coke…question is does that quench your thirst?
In 2011 their self-established indie label Howling Owl released Spectres on a split EP along with trusty bedfellow DIYers Towns, Holy Strain and Concubines. This followed with the released of further singles and most notably the Family and Hunger EPs, their best releases to date.
Don't get me wrong, Spectres are not cheap. Instead it’s their DIY ethos: cooking and sleeping in the van, booking their own gigs, giving a big “fuck you” to the Record Store Day…that's how they roll. Their story isn't a smooth one either. When the band started few people paid attention to their music. From humble beginnings playing a split stage gig in Barnstaple, the outfit moved to Bristol, home of Sarah Records, to find their place in their scene: DIY. Though the magic didn't appear overnight. Spectres spread the word of DIY across the UK but the people weren't ready.
But Spectres portray one strength other bands lack; determination. Along with contemporaries Holy Strain and Towns, Spectres continued to embrace the DIY ethic by creating magazines and throwing shows in more unusual settings underneath churches and even a courtroom. The idea was simple; carry on no matter what and challenge ourselves.
'We wanted to be confident, write the best songs we could, and the EPs were a nice set of stepping stones towards finding the right sound. We wanted to work out how we could make our guitars produce sounds that hadn't been used in a certain way on record. I genuinely believed we wouldn't top it [Hunger EP], but we dug deep within ourselves and wrote 'Dying'. We found new ways of expressing our song writing on the Hunger EP, and explored them further when writing for the album’.
It’s impossible to disagree. Dying is the sound of a generation of musicians fed up with pop manufactured bands screaming their “discontent” to the world through loud guitars and fuzz infused vocals. I'm not going to review the album because it is not a record you write about, it's a record you commit to. But a suggestion for today: spare an hour of your time and listen to the album start to finish. From the instrumental opening Drag, the 9 minute Sea Of Trees, their single Where Flies Sleep and the sublime Family, Dying is toxic and dangerously addictive. It’s safe to say that they are following the same path of greatness as Sonic Youth and Spacemen 3. Will Spectres become the band which will define our generation in the future? The one kids in 20 years time look up to?
‘Hopefully we inspire people on a bigger scale though, I would like bands to look at our ethos, how we work as a creative unit, making zines, booking our own tours, doing everything ourselves etc. In the same way we were inspired by all the DIY bands of the 80s & 90s, maybe some people will take notice’.
The release of Dying has certainly represented a turn in fortune for Spectres, perhaps one they weren’t expecting either. In fact our conversation with guitarist and co-founder of Howling Owl Records Adrian Dutt all but confirms how blown away the band are with the response. It seems after years of struggle they have finally received the recognition they deserve. People realised and understood the passion behind their music, and therefore they also began to buy into the DIY. And with their own label becoming more and more established, Spectres are continuing down the path of innovation, changing the game in the process.
'We never expected to achieve anything, we just wanted to make a record that represented us in the best way. We channelled everything we had into 'Dying' and we are blown away by the response. We really didn't think so many people would 'get' it, and be able to lose themselves in our noise. It is a very humbling world that we are finding ourselves in right now'.