Canadian trio Spell has realesed this 2016 a new album, the second in their career, “For None and All” that brings quality and classicism to a high level. They enroll themselves in a generation of young Canadian bands that do not forget the references from the past but also look ahead with their own style, building day by day the new heavy metal of the 21st century.
Hello guys, Spell is the heir of your previous band Stryker, how much we can find from Stryker in Spell?
Hey, thanks for getting in touch with us. Yes, we were previously called Stryker, and it’s the same band, the same three members. Stryker was our first form, we were all very young and wanted to play the 80’s style heavy metal that we loved and still love. Since then, we’ve been playing for many years and have come under the influence of a more diverse array of music – progressive, blues, psychedelic, soul, etc, and we slowly developed our own sound. We decided to change our name to reflect this and allow us to play whatever kind of music we wanted – our sound is still evolving, and we don’t plan on writing the same album twice. That being said, we still play some songs that we played during the Stryker days.
However, with Spell it seems you have been more creative or at least you publish more material, one album in 2014 and now your new album “For None and All”
Yes, we changed our name when we decided to take music very seriously and put in the work to release albums and tour, so since the change, we’ve felt it’s been important to work hard and develop and explore our capabilities as musicians. We’re not interested in copying what we’ve already done and we’ll keep putting out new records.
Is there some evolution between “The Full Moon Sessions” and “For None and All”?
Yes, I’d say so – there’s overlap, but also growth. We’re always at the record stores looking for new music that inspires us, and we rehearsed nearly every day for months prior to recording, so we’ve come a long way. “The Full Moon Sessions” has more of an ’80’s metal’ sound, while “For None and All” we feel is much more original – it’s our own creation.
How near is Spell from the NWOBHM sound? Do you consider yourself a revival band or do you mind to be considered as such? Because many young bands don’t like to hear that word…
No, we don’t consider ourselves to be a revival or pastiche band at all. Of course we’re influenced by bands from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, but how could one not be? What kind of musician could ignore the decades of incredible music that came before them? At the same time, we also love many current, contemporary bands and we work very hard to create music that is fresh and original. Our music references our present experience, and is relative to bands presently active. The world is full of so many amazing musical groups right now, we’re very happy to be alive and writing music today – we don’t wish we were born in another decade.
Some people compares Spell’s heavy metal to compatriots Cauldron…
We’re big fans of Cauldron and we all grew up listening to them and Goat Horn, among many others, so of course we’ve been influenced by them. They’re great guys and true heavy metal die hards, but we don’t want to copy them. I think that we have a lot of influences that they don’t have, and vice versa. I’ve heard people talking about a ‘Canadian sound’ though, and perhaps there’s a bit of truth to it.
Today’s Canadian scene is very fertile, that’s true. What bands have influenced your heavy metal approach?
Lately we’ve been really into some bands like Tribulation, Wytch Hazel and Danava, and we love what In Solitude and The Devil’s Blood have done. Also, bands like Uncle Acid, Graveyard, Cauldron, and Black Trip are great. Of course, we love lots of older stuff too.
How long did you work in this “For None and All” and how was the composition process?
“For None and All” was a giant undertaking for us. We all moved out to an old farmhouse in the suburbs early in 2015 to create the album. We worked really hard for about eight months, writing songs and rehearsing almost every day. Generally, one of us would come up with an idea on our own, and we’re share it and work on it together, each adding our own elements. After we’d finished writing it, we went into Little Red Sounds, the studio in Vancouver where we recorded this album with Felix Fung, our producer. This was not an easy process – we recorded the entire album with live bed tracks and to analogue tape. “For None and All” has no digital editing, autotuning, beatmapping, or any kind of cheating like that. What you hear is exactly how we played it, all together. We took many takes to get it as good as we possibly could, so we’re very proud of it.
Almost an handcrafted process, cool. I think a constant in your music is that you sound like a tribute to 80s heavy metal, for example The Sickness unto Death has a great feeling ala Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy
Great, we love those bands.
What is your favourite song in the album and that one that was more difficult to compose?
I can’t say that we have a favourite track on the album – it would be wrong to pick specific tracks, the album is a cohesive unit. Though it’s not lyrically a ‘concept album’, it was built as a single piece. We worked to fit each part together. Each song on the album is very meaningful to us in different ways. No song is less important than another. That being said, perhaps Vanitas was the most difficult to compose. It’s one of the more progressive ones with many parts, difficult harmonies, and more complex lyrics.
What do the lyrics talk about?
There’s quite a bit a diversity in the lyrical themes on this album, but at the same time, we tried to keep it cohesive, in a sense. I like to see an album as a unified piece, rather than a collection of different songs. Some of them are about the most powerful moments in life, things I can’t stop thinking about that seem to force themselves into lyrics of their own accord. Others are inspired by books I’ve read – characters that fascinate me, or questions brought up by powerful thinkers which caused me to question what I’ve believed. Some of them combine all of these. We discuss longing, despair, mystery, hubris, and vanity. Some of them come in the form of stories, others are written as I experienced them. Read the lyrics in the liner or on our bandcamp if you’re curious – I wonder who will get our references?
Spell is a band with a recognition growing day by day, in a very short time in fact, how do you feel about it?
This is great, we couldn’t be happier. It’s our dream to continue playing music and exploring new sounds, and to tour as much as we possibly can. We have a great deal of energy for this and nothing is more important.
Have you ever played in Europe?
We’ve never played Europe, but we would die to. We’ve heard amazing stories about the incredible music scenes and heavy metal/hard rock festivals. It’s been our goal since the day we began to play in Europe.
What are your touring plans for this 2016?
Well, 2016 is already half over, and tours take a long time to book, so we’re looking mostly to 2017 right now. We plan to tour in Europe, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. If anyone would like to book us, please get in touch.
What are your plans for the future?
We’re going to keep doing what we love – exploring new music, writing a new album, and touring as much as we possibly can.
Thank you very much for your attention, if you wish to add something…
Thanks to you! We hope to play in Spain very soon!