Published Apr 16, 2008Having already released two full-length albums and toured the U.S. with the Hidden Cameras and Sloan, Toronto's Spiral Beach are on quite an envious career trajectory, especially for such a young act.
Exclaim! caught up with drummer Daniel Woodhead to find out about the band's upcoming batch of shows overseas and what it's like to break through the traditionally stiff barriers of commercial radio programming as an independent band.
"We're super excited to go overseas - none of us have ever been to the UK before, so this will be like Christopher Columbus with pylons. Our idea of traveling light is to leave the drums and amps behind to make room. We are the only band to be this obsessed with orange plastic," Woodhead explains.
If you've seen a Spiral Beach performance before, that last statement won't sound crazy; if not, well, you've been missing out. Okay, the band have their performance gear prioritised, but how did these UK performances materialise?
"The folks at Relentless/Stimulus put together [the shows] for us. A couple are all-ages, and one is opening for a band called Cheeky Cheeky and the Nosebleeds, which may or may not be a child's birthday party."
Suitably festive then, for a band that hosted a giant 24-hour slumber-party/psychedelic rock circus at Toronto's Centre of Gravity Theatre back in December '07. Hopefully the UK will be ready for the Spiral Beach invasion. The band will be releasing "Voodoo" from the their 2005 self-titled debut as a single (on CD and seven-inch) in June and some advance radio play from BBC Radio 1 seems be helping to drum up some buzz.
"I've had a bunch of MySpace adds from people in the UK who've heard the band and it seems like word travels fast over there, so I know we're off to a good start," Woodhead wrote.
Drafting legions of UK fans shouldn't be much trouble for the Toronto locals who have acquired a rabid fan base, the likes of which are virtually unheard of in the jaded hipster capital of Canada. Currently sitting pretty at number 14 on the Edge 102's Thursday 30 with the first single from Ball, "Made of Stone", the band are getting exceptionally friendly treatment for a group with no major label ties. The Edge sponsored a recent showcase at the Boat in Toronto and gave the band carte blanche to run the event their own way.
"We set up the venue just like any of our other parties in Toronto - live video projections, smoke and lights, pylons, etc. Even though half the audience were Edge listeners who hadn't come out to a show before, it got just as crazy as the Whippersnapper Gallery show last month. I think people are always a little surprised that we put so much work into atmosphere, but it pays off every time."
With curious new listeners filtering in from the mainstream radio play and massive word of mouth continuing to spread at the grass-roots level, due in no small part to the group's unique live presentation and irrepressible energy, the stage is set for the band to take their homegrown buzz to the next level.
On May 17th, Spiral Beach will transform Toronto's Opera House into "a giant underground dream circus" for a show to coincide with the release of newly recorded versions of "Kind Of Beast" and "New Clouds," which Daniel describes as "the best sounding recordings we've made." A recently finished "totally insane" video for "Kind of Beast" should be released around the same time. If the visual treats and chance to hear Spiral Beach's songs "really really loud" isn't enticement enough, the band have been demoing new material with Mike Olsen, and plan to perform "a good chunk" of their next album at the Opera House gig.
If you're going to be in the UK, you can catch Spiral Beach at one of the following shows:
4/17 London UK, Not In Kansas Anymore at Ginglik
4/19 London UK, Assembly at The Boiler Room
4/22 London UK, Club Fandango at Dublin Castle
The band are back in Canada in May and have four shows scheduled:
5/2 Ottawa ON, Live Lounge
5/17 Toronto ON, The Opera House
6/22 Mississauga ON, Rock the Coliseum (free festival)
7/25 Guelph ON Hillside Music Festival