The Spider Hole Interview
19 November 2015 No Comment
(By Mary Montgomery) Finding a bright and shiny gem in the pile of coal that the music world has become is the greatest part of being a music journalist. The Spider Hole need to be at the top of your playlist. One spin of any of their songs will convince you of this and it’s easier to just hear The Spider Hole than describe them so get on that.
First off, please introduce yourself and tell me about the members of the band.
We are The Spider Hole, pleased to meetcha. The suckers who make up this institution are;
Ethan Scott, Vocals. Raised in the Chicago Suburbs. Sang along with The Doors in the womb. Would love to sing at your wedding. XerXes Quinn, Bass. XerXes joined the band one week before The Spider Hole’s first performance, and not only learned all of The Spider Hole’s songs, he also taught himself how to play bass. Aaron Kilen, Gee-tar. Another womber. Aaron was raised by musicians. He plays guitar every day. He has long hair. It is not the source of his power. Bobby Blades, Drums. Bobby and Aaron grew up playing music together. The quietest member of the band, he oddly makes the most noise.
How long has The Spider Hole been playing as a group? How did you all come together?
The Spider Hole, starring Ethan and XerXes, dates back to when the two were just out of high school. The band had existed, but played no shows, with a different bassist who left one week before our first gig. XerXes and Ethan were close in school, and XerXes had always been close to the band, so when a musician was needed, XerXes stepped up. In fact, XerXes has, at one point or another, filled every role in the band as needed, besides lead singer. In 2012, Ethan recruited Aaron from the rehearsal studio Ethan manages, having met and seen him play many times, and more recently, Aaron brought his long-time collaborator, Bobby Blades, into the loony bin. Though we have enjoyed a talented rotating cast of musicians over the years, we are thrilled to have this core four to go forward into the next stage.
It’s fair to say that Ethan’s vision is the guiding force behind the band, but the environment of collaboration and the openness to new ideas are more crucial to the shape of our sound than any one person’s vision. If it were a movie, Ethan would be the screenwriter and the lead actor, and the rest of the band would be the directors, cinematographers, prop-masters, key grips, editors, special effects wizards, co-stars, and catering crew.
How would you say your music has evolved over the years?
We started out as a kind of crunchy, messy, electro-goth band, and later took on a kind of Americana Noir, chaotic bluesy vibe. We are reaching back, for our new material, and bringing some of that electric mess back, polishing it a little, and seeing what happens. I predict Armageddon.
Who would you consider to be some of your musical influences?
SO many. Tom Waits, David Bowie, The Pixies, Depeche Mode, Bauhaus, Elvis Presley, The Doors, Jane’s Addiction, Oingo Boingo. If you listen close, you will hear all of them, and none of them.
How you describe your unique sound?
We usually pass that question to the bastard on the left.
What are some of your inspirations that lead you to your songs?
Anything is fair game. Nothing is actively mined, but literature and old movies are often fertile sources of inspiration. We may get hooked on a style of music, and seek to spin it and make it our own. Or if not a style of music, we will get hooked on a mood, or an emotional image, and will do our best to capture and communicate it in notes and chords and words.
Describe the song-writing process. How do you know when a song is finally complete?
Generally, it will start with a title. Some string of words that comes together and has its own unique gravity, its own resonance. Our newest song, “Hungover at the Eel God Festival” came just that way. The title appeared, fully formed, out of nowhere. A mix of Robert W. Chambers and Arthur Machen and Lovecraft. Something mysterious and perfectly weird. Following the title will be the melody, then the story, then the lyrics, then the SONG. Sometimes it is a snippet of music that catches on and becomes a living thing that demands its story be told. It is always a collaboration, everyone pitching in suggestions, no matter how off-the-wall, to best reveal this song. There is no ego, and we all know how lucky we are for that. All efforts are in service of the song. As for when we know it’s complete, that is hard to say, because new ideas always occur to us that can improve an old song, even after its been committed to CD.
Do you work with a producer? If so, what is that like?
Our last two albums were recorded and produced by Larry Elyea at Mind’s Eye Digital Recording Studio in Phoenix. It is exciting to hear songs that were once thin garage demos turning into lush MUSIC, track by track, right before our ears. Larry, as a producer, latches on to our vision and gives gentle guidance to ensure we are living up to our own standards. He takes suggestions, and debates logically if there is a difference of opinion. It’s pretty cool.
Describe your previous tours.
We’ve done a handful of one-off jaunts to other states, always a gas, and more recently did a couple weeks through New Mexico, Colorado, South Dakota, that whole middle-states area ,with our friends in Snailmate. Great experiences, looking forward to further adventures on the road.
What can fans expect to see at your stage shows?
One thing about Spider Hole shows is that they vary. You will always see a band having fun, loving what they are doing and loving each other. But sometimes you will see something more theatrical, something with dancers, actors, props, and a bizarre story-line, with gifts for the audience and memories for a lifetime. We don’t want to be seen as a gimmick band, though. We want to get by on our songs and our performance, so those special event shows are, at this time, few and far between.
Tell me about what bands you would like to tour with. List your “Dream Team”.
Some of our dream headliners would be Nick Cave, Depeche Mode, Peter Murphy, Garbage, Jane’s Addiction, Queens of the Stoneage, Duran Duran, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, the list is long and varied.
What strengths do you possess as a group that you believe will help you in achieving your career goals?
We are studied musicians, but we perform with abandon. And I think we make music that shows our influences, is familiar, and yet is uniquely ours, with hum-able backbones and cinematic imagery. Taken all together, we are able to appeal to a broad cross-section of genre fans.
What do you guys get into when you aren’t touring or writing music?
Ethan is a professional illustrator, doing spot illustrations for national magazines and CD covers for all kinds of bands. XerXes is a family man and works occasionally as a Production Assistant in film and commercials. Aaron and Bobby both work at a warehouse doing god-knows-what, and they never stop playing and writing music. Never. Ever. They practice to prepare for practice. They call it the pre-practice practice. They make me sick.