Archive: Spacek interview August 2000

Date: August 2000
Location: Soho,  London
Words / interview: Des Berry

2010:  Setting the scene:

A hot summers evening sitting outside a cafe interviewing the band . I can’t remember much about this one other then my tape recorder was having a battle picking up the guys voices over the din of a busy Soho street.

One of the best interviews I did for Breakin Point and the guys were really chatty. They even remembered my face a few months later on the dancefloor at The End.

Steve Spacek has gone on to a successful solo career while Edmund records as The Everyman on Stop Start.

“Oh no” cries Edmund, head in hands, “that is gonna be a landmine man. The ice got kinda thin there.”

“That is such a joke” adds Morgan.

Steve just looks on, keeping silent. Edmund reaches for the tape recorder, keen to press rewind and start again.

“Next we’ll be saying we own Ronnie Scotts and Bar Italia” Morgan jokes, but its too late.

Its early evening, one summer night and Spacek are here. Just under a year since they stirred things up with the whites of ‘Eve’, the guys have just returned from the States ready to tease us even further with their debut LP for Island Blue. Its an album that will see the culmination of five years work and the end of a journey that has taken them from south London demo tapes to Good Tree, Mos Def’s label in America.

(This video has now fallen victim to the stupid “Embedding disabled by request” policy on YouTube so please click here to view)

‘Curvatia’ is an LP of beautiful songs, sounds and rhythms from another galaxy. Morgan’s shuffling beats and Steve’s softly spoken vocals are a snap shot to 21st century soul and London living.

“We’ve always had that taste for something a little bit different. Something elsewhere”, Steve explains, his voice almost a whisper, “our music is intimate and personal.”

“I think about this quite a bit, now that we’ve finished the LP”, states Morgan. Very much the spokesperson for the band, the young drummer is keen to make sure the music comes first.

“People ask us what is it and you have to explain yourself all the time. Especially in the states where if its not got a bracket around it, people will find it hard to understand or even enjoy it!”

“Everyone wants to belong man” the wide eyed, south London guitarist Edmund adds.

Spacek’s sound sets them apart from the current scene around them. There are no real reference points. Of course the music can be approached from a hip hop angle, an R&B or soul angle, but essentially their sound is their own.

“If everyone is different. Which all of us are in the band,” Morgan explains “and if the music you make is you speaking about how you feel, then you are going to say something different then someone else. Thats what confuses me about so much music. How can people feel the same? How come so much comes out sounding so familiar to each other? Like a formula. Surely thats people not been honest about how they feel. Their just doing something.”

“Their travelling a well worn path”, Edmund points out.

“We have to be honest with ourselves really. If it feels right it makes sense to us. Hopefully it will make sense to other people.” Morgan concludes.

Spaceks journey has been a long one. Vocalist Steve had some success ten years ago with soul group Stex whom he co-wrote with and prodcuced. On their demise his side line project was able to come forth and Spacek was born. Teaming up with Edmund an old aquaintance from his younger days, whom himself had been in and out of bands, busking and bombing up the capital.

“Yeah I was a graff artist called ‘Dread,” Edmund points out.

“I used to go to sound systems when I was at school and they used to call me Ed Dread. I do commissions now. I did the Met hotel staff canteen, a 14 metres by 2 metres high piece, club back drops and theres an old piece of mine on Lewisham high street.”

The duo hooked up with Morgan through management and the trio got to work. Initial interest came from the radio DJ Charlie Gillett, who championed their sound after an early gig in Brixton. Fellow station DJ, Ross Allan, took an interest in them when he started A&R’ing on his newly formed Blue label. Its been a long process.

“Its still new music though”, Edmund assures us.

“It takes people a while to get it” Steve points out, “you play music to people at a certain time and they may not get it. You play it a couple of years later and its almost like they’ve never heard it. Their like what is this?

“One of the tracks is ten years old, one is five and the others are recent” Morgan explains, “we’ve been together 5 years, but that track sounds right on the LP. Good music is good music We mixed it again recently and we’ve been working with an mix engineer called Ali Staton. He’s a futuristic mixer having worked with Lamb and just recently Attica Blues.”

Spacek article in Breakin Point magazine

The band have just returned from time spent in New York, mastering the LP with Tom Coin, whose CV contains some of the biggest hip hop and R&B acts.

“Tom Coin has done all the Tribe Called Quest LPs, Busta Rhymes, Destiny’s Child, R Kelly, D’Angelo. He’s a wicked engineer, he pushes the music out and thats what we wanted. For it to jump out of the speakers,” Morgan continues.

“We make our music here, but its got to stand up sonically, not just musically. Whether you like the music or not, its gotta stand up, right levels pushed out, I’m sure it could be done here, but it was a safer bet to do it stateside because Tom does it every day. Mixing and mastering is so important to us because each track should have its own journey. Each sound has its own space.”

“Its the first time round for us so it gives us a better chance working with Tom”, Steve concludes.

Even if you spent a day with Spacek I don’t think that would be long enough for them to explain how important their music is to them. They’ve put their true feelings and emotions on the line for this record and its something they won’t see pushed out as just another release. Not when they’ve spent the last year working so hard.

“Its been mad man, some long nights” Edmund states.

“Because of Eve a lot of work has come in, so we just want to calm it down and finish what we’ve been doing,” Steve explains referring to the various remix requests that have come over the last 12 months. “You can get to a stage where your sound just gets watered down cause everyone wants a bit. But now we want to focus and let the LP have the most impact.”

Along the way a certain Mos Def wanted a bit so much that he signed them to his label in the US. With such a unique sound to the band it will be interesting to see how the people in the US take to Spacek.

“The reaction has been good, but surprisingly the US is quite behind in its culture,” Morgan explains, ” New York is meant to be the advanced in that, which its not really. Its hard for them to understand. From a marketing prospective they find it hard to put it somewhere. Mos (Def) can understand it because he’s creative, but with the suits its a bit of a problem, ‘well this isn’t Lil Kim or Korn. What the fuck are we meant to do with this’ is what they say”.

Mos Def’s continued support saw the guys joining him on his recent UK live appearence.

“That was like been thrown in at the deep end!” laughs Steve, “we had not played for 18 months and when we came to do the sound check…”

“There was no sound check!” they all reply.

“It was fulfilling though because it was so difficult”, Steve finishes.

Once again Morgan explains the live thing “you’ve got to compete with a lot of things now, people are getting used to hearing DJ’s etc. and the live thing is a novelty to some. Live its a different sound. Visually you get more, but essentially you want the sound to mash ’em in the head.”

Mashing them in the head is something the Spacek guys will do whether live or on record. The LP will be released in the new year, but as a further taster ‘Eve’ will finally get a proper release this autumn backed with new and exclusive mixes from the likes of Jaydee and Attica Blues, plus a track featuring Black Thought, Bahamadia and Slum Village.

Finally the last word on the music, “We’ve made the LP we’ve wanted to make, but the music comes first. Essentially we are making feel music. Choose to listen to it or have it just there. Make love to it. Get mashed to it , whatever. People will talk about it, but just listen to it.”

Originally published in Breakin’ Point Vol 2 Issue 4 Nov / Dec 2000

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