Arrow-right Camera
A&E >  Music

Experience helps Spoon find new sounds on “Hot Thoughts”

With eight albums under its belt, Spoon used its experience to find new sound on “Hot Thoughts.” (Zackery Michael)
With eight albums under its belt, Spoon used its experience to find new sound on “Hot Thoughts.” (Zackery Michael)

After nearly 25 years in indie-rock band Spoon, drummer Jim Eno has become a connoisseur of hotel breakfasts.

“Most of it’s not good,” he said with a laugh, having recently finished breakfast in Washington, D.C., on the day he spoke to The Spokesman-Review.

Unfortunately for Eno, there are many hotel breakfasts in his future, as Spoon will be on tour through mid-November behind its ninth album “Hot Thoughts.”

This tour brings the band to the Knitting Factory on Monday.

For “Hot Thoughts,” Spoon went back to the beginning, releasing the album through Matador Records, the label that released its debut album, “Telephono,” in 1996.

Every album cycle, Spoon typically completes an album before shopping it around to different labels, which allows the band to maintain creative control.

The band – Eno, singer/guitarist Britt Daniel, keyboardist Alex Fischel and bassist Rob Pope – kept in touch with the folks at Matador since releasing “Telephono,” and when it came to “Hot Thoughts,” the New York City-based label showed the most enthusiasm.

“One of the things you can’t do with a label is manufacture excitement,” Eno said. “They were excited, super-psyched to work the record.”

“Hot Thoughts” also found Spoon reuniting with producer/engineer Dave Fridmann, who worked on 2014’s “They Want My Soul.”

Eno praised Fridmann’s song-by-song vision for the record and his ability to help “steer the ship.”

“It’s good to have a partner like that when you’re in a band because sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture so you find someone who you can trust,” Eno said. “Then you can let a sigh of relief out and be like ‘OK, this guy’s going to help us make something great.’ ”

Not that Spoon needs much help; “Hot Thoughts” follows a string of critically acclaimed albums.

“They Want My Soul” reached No. 4 spot on Billboard’s Top 200 chart, and 2005’s “Gimme Fiction” and 2007’s “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” topped Billboard’s Indie chart while 2010’s “Transference” peaked at No. 2.

Even still, getting into the recording state of mind can take awhile depending on where Daniel is in his songwriting.

“Do I Have to Talk You Into It,” on “Hot Thoughts,” for example, was brought into the studio for the band to work on, but Daniel brought “Can I Sit Next to You” into the studio almost fully formed.

“I would say that it does take Britt a little bit of time after all of our touring to get into that creative headspace and switch gears towards recording but once we get there, we get into our well-oiled machine mindset,” Eno said.

The band recorded in both Fridmann’s Tarbox Road Studios in upstate New York and Eno’s own Public Hi-Fi in the band’s hometown of Austin, Texas, both for cost reasons and, as Eno puts it, to preserve the band’s sanity.

Time away from Fridmann also allowed the band to experiment, which has admittedly gotten difficult after nine records.

“We do think a lot about not repeating ourselves so after nine records, you really have to search for new sounds and new ways to do things and inspiration in the studio and trying to find new stylized elements that make songs special,” Eno said. “Those things don’t come around easily, and you can’t force them so it can be a little bit difficult and a little bit nerve wracking.”

Experience helped the band find new sounds, and it’s helped the band craft a better live show, too.

They’ve worked on transitions between songs, which Eno said helps the flow of each concert, and added guitarist/keyboardist Gerardo Larios, who plays off Fischel, to the touring band.

“I feel like this is the best live show that we’ve had since the beginning, so I’m pretty psyched for it,” Eno said. “We’re having really, really good shows. I guess all this touring is paying off.”


Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter

Get the day's top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.

There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com

You have been successfully subscribed!