Local favorite psych-rock sons Spell Talk were invited to play at College Music Journal (CMJ) Festival in New York City in October. The band jumped at the chance, and embarked on their biggest tour yet. ---I joined guitarist/vocalist Andrew Milne and bassist/vocalist Jared Phelps at Penny Ann’s Café on Saturday morning, drank from a bottomless coffee mug and inquired about their recent trek to the East coast.
City Weekly: Now that you've been home from your first big tour for a while, are you eager to get back on the road again?
Andrew Milne: Yeah, definitely. We need to make some good money in town first, before we go out on anything big, though. Driving straight to New York and back was a big plate to finish. It was amazing, but it would be nicer to have it work out for us a little better. We basically drove to New York to play four shows, and drove straight back. We had some shows booked, but to spend money, driving out of the way to those zig-zaggy shows, when it came down to it, it just wasn't going to work. It was kind of a mad dash.
CW: Did you do anything different at those shows in New York to make sure you were turning heads?
AM: We’re pretty straightforward with our shows. We just tried to play damned good, you know?
Jared Phelps: Every time it came down to it, it was just like, 'We drove 38 hours to do this show, don’t mess it up.'
AM: We wanted to make a good impression, wanted to look like we know what we were doing.
CW: Did the experience inspire you to try anything, or go in any new directions with the band?
JP: New York is a force to be reckoned with. We learned a lot. We got to find out what New York was all about, learn what venues to play at, and all that kind of stuff.
AM: We got in a few dicey spots with the public transit there. We ended up in the wrong part of town, but it worked out. We got to the [venue] The Knitting Factory in time to see Doom Tree rock the house before we went on, so it was cool.
CW:How did you like playing at CMJ, compared to other festivals?
AM: It was crazy, [we] got a lot of parking tickets. They call it the “Music Marathon,” and you can tell why. You gotta be on your shit. New York was fucking awesome. You step out on the streets, and it’s a whole different world out there. It was a really fun time, we all had a blast out there.
CW: Among the bands you saw at the festival, which would you want to do a tour with?
AM: We talked to our friend Zach Iser, who was having us on CMJ, about getting hold of the Dum Dum Girls. It was too late of notice, and it didn’t work out, but it would be cool to tour with those chicks.
CW: You’ve said you are already planning on going back next year. What might be different about the next time around?
JP: We are welcome to go back. The cool thing about it this time is, beforehand, we didn’t know the cool venues like the Knitting Factory, The Cake Shop or the Living Room. Now, we were able to get out there, check them out and know where we want to play.
AM: Last year, we were just kind of shooting in the dark. Everything worked out great, though. Our band was received really well. We were teamed with other kinds of acts -- that weren’t rock oriented -- a lot of times. But, we appealed to people who aren’t really used to listening to our kind of stuff.
CW: What is Spell Talk up to this winter?
JP: We’re probably going to release an acoustic album, with some of the same songs as Touch It. There’ll be some new ones, too. We’ll probably have that material ready sometime in January, maybe December.
AM: We’ve also already started to work on our next full album. It’s going to be all new songs.
JP: We are just going to stay in town and do shows. Probably in the springtime, we’ll be ready for another tour. We have some good shows coming up. We’re playing with Entrance [Band] on the 12th of December. I don’t know, it should be pretty awesome [laughs].