Seattle-based psych-pop trio Spirit Award is in the throes of introducing their debut album to the world. The ten track full-length – Neverending – is quite clever in the way it was constructed, as a majority of the titles would fit comfortably into a phrase with the term “neverending” itself (i.e. “Summer”, “Women”, etc.). And the album was constructed during a time of loss for the band (the end of a relationship, the loss of a family member, a robbery, and struggle with anxiety), which has lent itself to the lyrics in a very real and extraordinary way. Check out the album below, then read what the band had to say about each song as they lead you through a track-by-track feature exclusively for Imperfect Fifth!
“Summer”This was a song that came out of the chords from a old song we had scrapped called “Summer Comedown”. Chris (Bass, Keys) and I sat down and I put a lot of reverse delay and reverb on my guitar, and Chris started playing the beginning bass line.The idea for the feeling behind Summer was to have this kinda floating slow motion feeling. Like if you smoked a bunch of indica weed, or haven’t slept and are feeling kind of in a daze. It was right after the “presidential” election happened, and it was hard for us not to be feeling like we were floating and concerned for our futures. That’s really what stemmed on the lyrics as well. It was a plea to keep pushing, to keep doing good, to keep making art, that this really does ‘all comes down to all of us’ to not give up, and push back.“Fields”It was a sort of spontaneous thing. We had a couple weeks before we were going back into the studio, and kind of stumbled upon writing this song. We like to switch instruments sometimes when we write, so I hopped on bass and started playing the riff and Chris hopped on the Juno. We got the basics of the song down and recorded drums and bass. We later wrote a lot of the synth parts in the studio. This was really fun to craft something so minimal and simple, and try to make it interesting along the way.Like most songs we write, the lyrics came last. We we’re dealing with a lot of shitty life issues, and things that were a little confusing. The idea was kind of a mantra for me to let go of trying to have a “normal” or “perfect” life and enjoy being poor and all the randomness that life has to offer and do what makes you and others happy.“Diving”We wrote Diving in kind of the dead of winter I believe. Like I said, it was a super bleak and shitty time for all of us. I think that really comes through in this song, and the yearning for something good to happen, some glimmer of hope to go towards.“Heavy Fog”This was one of the earliest songs we wrote that we still play. We recorded it for an EP, but we went a little too crazy with it, adding strings and a ton of shimmery stuff. With this version we wanted to strip it down and streamline it a bit.The basis for this song was written I (Daniel) while going through some depression and confusion that felt like a ‘Heavy Fog’ over me constantly. I was in a relationship that I felt like I couldn’t fully be myself in without judgement. I remember one day when I was waiting for a ferry to go to the San Juan Island and was feeling at peace and had this moment of knowing that if I kept confronting my fears and feelings and was honest with myself, I was going to be in a good place again, and that’s when the lyrics came to me.
“Las Vegas”Kind of a turning point in our writing, and maybe the second song we wrote for the record. We were wanting to start writing with a more open and linear approach than we had been. This was one of the first songs we recorded for the record, and put out as a single. I remember after playing this song at a show a friend said “I could feel that man. That felt real. I like when you get aggressive”. We liked it too. I was focused too much on making something perfect before and writing melody and not just feeling it out and being authentic.I was going through a lot of self doubt and an existential crisis while writing this song. This song is essentially about saying “fuck you” to anyone who try’s to paint you out to be something you’re not. You can’t control when people tell lies about you. All you can do is examine yourself and ask if you are being honest with yourself or if your ego is getting in the way. So the story for this became a mix of those feelings and a story I heard from a friend who was on a blackjack card counting team.“All Desire”We were selected by Converse’s Rubber Tracks contest, which meant that we got a free day at Avast Studio in Seattle with legendary Engineer/Producer Jack Endino (Nirvana). Usually it can take a half a day or more just to get the drum sounds you want, but we got to the studio in the morning and Jack had them all dialed in and sounding great in less than an hour. It was a really great feeling to be working with someone who’s been doing it as long as Jack and to hear all his stories about Nirvana, Hot Hot Heat, and other records he’s worked on.One of the best feelings was when we got out a Fender Rhodes that we ran through some delay pedals to do some overdubs (which Jack was hesitant about, probably thinking we were just gonna dink around with it). When we started tracking Jack gave a big thumbs up and an approving nod.We had reached the end of our session, so I said “Well, I guess our time is up” to which Jack replied “Fuck em, they’re not gonna kick me out, let’s keep tracking!”. So we did.“Women”This was a song that was really built around the idea of the lyrics I had in mind. I was tired of seeing men feeling like they own women. Like they can touch them, slap their asses, grope, and talk over them without any consent and without consequences. It made me incredibly sad to have friends and partners experience this. All I could do was feel this deep sadness for their experience and wish I could do something.All I could do was write this song saying “we hear you, men are the worst, and I hope we can change that”. I want to encourage people to not tolerate this behavior from anyone. If someone doesn’t understand that what they are doing is sexist or hurtful, they never will unless you tell them. Sometimes it’s awkward but we need to change this norm that is hurtful and toxic. Everyone deserves love and respect.“Running”When we wrote this song it really felt like some sort of metaphorical baptism for me (Daniel) (hence the album cover). We had been through a lot over the last couple years and this was kind of an anthem to any negativity or backwards thinking to watch out Because I’m fucking pumped and I will destroy you (hopefully with peace, love and kindness?).The idea for this song was to write another linear song like we did with Las Vegas. Not worrying about structure and just feeling out what’s next.“Lost and Stoned”When we wrote this song we we’re looking to write something big, loud and a little disorienting at times. For over a year the working title was just “Psych Jam”, which always felt appropriate.The idea for lyrics came about when I (Daniel) was angry and not a in a good place for a week and was getting stoned to escape the shit storm I had created.I still enjoy getting stoned, but I think for me it’s important to make sure it’s not escapism.“Yesterday”This was the last song we wrote for ‘Neverending’. Most of the songs for the record we had parts to and were mostly organized. Yesterday was put together super last minute. I have this old Wurlitzer Omni 6000 organ/synth in my house. I wrote the song on it, Chris came over and wrote a bass part, and we just started tracking it. Chris borrowed a Neve Sidecar to run mic’s through that we set up in a big room in our rehearsal space. We basically gave Terence some direction but told him to do whatever felt natural. I had to leave so I didn’t hear the full song until later that week,. When I heard it I remember laying on the floor of my house with headphones and feeling like we got exactly what we wanted, a big drum sound with some nice warm tones.The song was ultimately about all the change that had been happening in my (Daniel) life, and ours as a band. It was the last song in this series of writing and we felt like it gave us, and the record, some closure and a optimistic look into the future.
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