Gather round, new music fans, for this week we unleash onto you the joy-filled indie-pop sounds of Glasgow four-piece The Spook School. The band, who formed in Edinburgh in 2012 but have recently started to make waves with third album Could It Be Different?, set the often complex journey of navigating life as part of the LGBTQ+ community to the sound of uplifting, optimistic pop-rock which proudly celebrates the community and all who are a part of it.
To celebrate the album’s release later this week, The Spook School join us to talk us through their universe.
Can you introduce yourselves – where are you from, who does what and what are your roles in the band?
“Hello, we are The Spook School from Glasgow in Scotland. We are Anna Cory: bass and vocals, Nye Todd: guitar and vocals, Adam Todd: guitar and vocals, Niall McCamley: drums and nudity.”
How did you guys meet and start making music together?
“We met at University in Edinburgh, at the comedy society trying to do standup comedy. We became friends and realised we all played instruments so decided to make a band for a laugh. People didn’t really laugh though and now we’re stuck as this super sincere entity.”
What were your key influences/inspirations in getting the band together?
“Everything on Fortuna POP! and Slumberland Records. We listened to a lot of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart when we got together. Those two labels always informed our taste. Allo Darlin, Veronica Falls, and Tullycraft were also constantly playing in our heads.”
How would you describe your sound in three words for people who’ve never heard you?
“Fun, hopeful, queer.”
What makes you special/different to other bands out there?
“We don’t feel special, but maybe a band singing hopefully and honestly about specifically trans and queer experiences is different to the mainstream?”
What’s the story behind the new album Could It Be Different?, and how did it come together?
“Our first album Dress Up was about coming out, our second Try To Be Hopeful was about tackling the big problems through the lens of queerness, and our third Could It Be Different? is about dealing with the smaller, more individual problems and wondering if we’re doing ok.”
What’s your favourite story/anecdote from recording the album?
“MJ from Hookworms produced it and his strategies for making sure everyone felt calm and in control in the studio were genius. Watching otters slam-dunk miniature basketballs on YouTube really gets The Spook School mindset in the zone. Now whenever Blue Planet shows an otter we immediately want to play a show.”
What, in your opinion, is the stand-out track on the album and why?
“It’s hard to pick a single track as we’ve been so close to them for so long. Body was one of the first written for the album and one that really means a lot to us. It’s a lot of fun to play and really cathartic to scream and shout.”
What do you hope people will take away from the album and your music in general?
“A sense of hope. That they’re not alone in going through their experiences and that just because society can view you as peripheral you are the centre of your own universe. You are important and valid just like everyone else.”
What’s been the highlight of your time in the band so far?
“Doing a short film with Laura Jane Grace for Rolling Stone in New York was pretty wild. It was two days of filming us playing in New York and being interviewed in the city and culminated in having a pint with Laura whilst surrounded by a camera crew and trying to look relaxed and normal.”
What can people expect if they come to see you live?
“A fun and silly extravaganza. A very talkative drummer. A whirlwind of emotional energy.”
What are you most looking forward to about the future – what’s coming next?
“We do our first full North American tour from January to March with our friends Diet Cig. That’s really exciting for us. We’re going to see so much more of that part of the world and finally do the West Coast of America. So finally our Facebook feed will have fewer people complaining we never play there – we want to! It’s just far away! We’re coming in 2018 and we want to come back over and over.”