Spiritbox are the breakout band of 2021. The Canadians’ debut album, Eternal Blue, crashed into the Top 20 on both sides of the Atlantic, helped by stellar singles like Constance and Circle With Me. To celebrate this impressive achievement, we called vocalist Courtney LaPlante on Zoom and refused to let her hang up until she’d answered a big pile of your questions about everything from unlikely musical inspirations to, erm, intra-band flatulence.
Have you ever used a spirit box? And if so, what was the result?
Steve Sowerby (Facebook)
“I’ve never used a real one but we’ve simulated what they do with scanning radio frequencies. Nothing weird happened but I find all that stuff really disturbing so it creeped me out hearing random voices. I’m really sceptical of it, but too scared to use an actual spirit box and they’re kinda hard to come by.”
Given your love of Midsommar from the Holy Roller video, what are your other favourite horror movies?
Stacy Roberts (email)
“I really like both of the Ari Aster movies I’ve seen, Midsommar and Hereditary. I like disturbing thrillers and his movies execute that well in a way that they’ve greatly impacted me, but I never wanna watch them again because I was so disturbed by them! I still love to read everything I can find about them and their beautiful cinematography, though.
I also love The Ring – the whole tone of the movie is so dark and cold. The VVitch is one of the most beautifully shot movies too. I like when movies use horror as a metaphor and the scary part isn’t the supernatural, it’s the real-life stuff. I hadn’t even seen Midsommar when we made that video; one of Bill’s friends got married and had a bunch of fake flowers, we were shooting it ourselves in a pandemic so we used the tools we had.”
Who has the worst taste in music in the band?
Tom Sorrell (email)
“Probably me! I like some stuff because it makes me want to dance and some because it makes me run faster on runs. I like the music that you get so into that you want to share it with someone else in the car, then you’re analysing it along with them and realise it sucks. Bill [Crook, bass] and Michael [Stringer, guitars] like corny stuff but they have very good music taste, Bill loves [indie band] American Football and Michael likes the new Turnstile, Zev [Rose, drums] likes a lot of the weird jam band stuff but I think it’s awesome.”
When did you start writing Eternal Blue and which song was the first you made?
“Michael and I started writing in 2019 but I remember starting to hear all of our ideas in spring 2019. We had them all numbered as ‘Song 1’ at first but I think the title track Eternal Blue was one of the first ones written, with Halcyon and The Summit.”
How did the collaboration with Architects’ Sam Carter [on Yellowjacket] come about?
Daniel Pitts (Facebook)
“We were finishing up recording Eternal Blue and we had a week left. Bill in our band is friends with the guys in Architects; his band was on their first Canadian tour 15 years ago and they’ve always kept in touch. Sam always kept an eye on us because of his friend, he became a big supporter of the band and he asked Bill if he could be on the record. I wasn’t gonna have any features on it because I have so many talented friends and there wasn’t time to fit everyone in. I didn’t want anyone to feel bad that I didn’t choose them, but when one of your favourite vocalists comes to you, you’d be an idiot not to say yes. The song we chose for him to sing on is very influenced by his own style because we’re fans of Architects and it’s crazy to hear his voice on our album. I love how our voices sound together.”
Which member of the band farts the most?
“I can’t tell because I think we’re all silent but deadly kind of people, nobody proudly does it. I think living amongst a bunch of people, you’re either someone who’s learned to be discreet about their gross bodily functions or you’re someone that finds it hilarious to just let it rip all the time. We’re all discreet people.”
What’s the best thing fans like me can do to support newer bands like yours?
“The best way is to tell your friends about them. If you want to buy merch, that really helps bands out. Some bands don’t have a lot of control over their merch, but we’re in direct contact with all that stuff. If a band has a fan club, join that! We and a few other bands have Patreon because that way people are getting something in exchange rather than just donating money. We made it because people would send us Super Chat money on Youtube Live and we felt really bad because we weren’t doing anything for them.”
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As someone who is currently losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s, I find listening to your song Constance to be both extremely cathartic and also difficult. How challenging was it to put together the lyrics and to perform it live?
“Constance was written in 2019 and it was always meant to be the closing track on our album. It came together very interestingly, because we asked the director of the Constance video Dylan Hryciuk to work on it, but as an experiment we asked him to do that before I showed him any lyrics – he just heard the song demo. I wrote the song about my grandma and he presented us with his video idea about his grandma, her name is Constance and we named the song as a tribute to Dylan and all the hard work he’s done for our band.
I feel like people that are going through the struggle, like the person that asked this lovely question, feel that even though your loved ones haven’t left the world yet, you already feel like you’ve lost them. It was hard for both of us – the tears I cry in that video are real tears. I’ve been OK singing it when we toured this summer; I performed it for my grandpa and my uncles who came to one of the shows. My grandpa never listened to the song before because it was too hard for him, so it was very special that I got to sing it in front of them. It used to make me really sad to hear it and sing it, but now a year later, I feel comfort and happiness hearing it.”
Who’s your biggest inspiration in terms of vocals?
“I think about this all the time and sadly I don’t have one person - every syllable of everything I’ve ever done is inspired by someone and I can’t put my finger on it yet. I need to wait until someone figures it out for me and writes who Courtney clearly sounds like and I’ll go, ‘Oh my god, you’re right!’”
Can you see Spiritbox maintaining a similar creative sound/output for future songs and albums, or do you and Mike feel that you may develop into different styles?
“It’s so hard to tell because normally we create everything in this vacuum where there’s no one to influence because no one cares about our music, but now we have all this hard objective data of the songs people like and don’t like. I really try not to concern myself with that too much because I don’t want it to mess with the creative process, but I think it’s always going to stay the way it is: we go wherever the song takes us.”
Spiritbox’s Eternal Blue is out now via Rise Records