Spoon serving up its latest sounds with stop in Aspen
IF YOU GO
What: Spoon with Sweet Spirit
Where: Belly Up Aspen
Cost: Sold out
Doors: Open at 7:30 p.m., music at 8:30 p.m.
More info: www.bellyupaspen.com
The band Spoon is in the thick of an international tour that’s already taken them on one pass through Europe and more recently to Lollapalooza and the Hollywood Bowl.
They will take a break from the big venues today to perform at Belly Up in a sold-out show.
The group is touring in support of their latest record, “Hot Thoughts,” which has been critically acclaimed and coming on the heals of another success, 2014’s “They Want My Soul.”
Although Spoon has been around a long time — formed in 1993 by lead singer and guitarist Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno — they’ve managed to keep the sound evolving and intriguing.
“As an artist, you always want to do something new, keep yourself engaged and try to keep things fresh,” said Alex Fischel, who plays keyboards, guitar and provides backing vocals. After officially joining Spoon in 2013, he was labeled a “no-longer-a-secret weapon” in the band’s biography for Lollapalooza. He befriended Spoon front man Daniel years before.
Fischel said Spoon has used the studio to experiment, so the changing sound happens naturally.
“And, of course, it all stems from Britt’s songs. He writes some great songs,” Fischel said.
The exotic, sometimes unusual sound of “Hot Thoughts” started emerging as they finished up “They Want My Soul.”
“The last song we worked on was a song called ‘Inside Out,’” Fischel said. “We had a really great time doing that, so when we got back together and started working that was kind of the jumping-off point from where we left off.
“We figured out how to do a more futuristic Spoon record whereas previous Spoon records were kind of based more on organic instruments — there was a lot of pianos, guitars, acoustic guitars, stuff like that,” he said. “This one definitely took a direction toward more synthetic stuff — synthesizers, electronic drums, samples. It’s a more futuristic rock record, I would say.”
Among the new tracks, “I Ain’t the One” is a song Fischel especially enjoys playing live.
“It’s very moody. The set I would say is pretty high energy for the most part and it’s kind of a nice moment where things let up for a second and get a little more atmospheric,” he said. “The response has been great and it’s really fun to do.”
When asked if the sound of the new songs is difficult to pull off in concert, Fischel said the band determined what they could live without and what was crucial to make the songs come across live.
“There’s a bit more going on, I would say, than in the past,” Fischel said. “It took a little while to put the pieces together. Luckily, we have a member, Gerardo (Larios), he’s a super-talented multi-instrumentalist.”
Larios is part of the touring lineup.
While this is Spoon’s first stop in Aspen, Fischel played at Belly Up with Daniel in 2012 with the indie group The Divine Fits. Fischel recalled it as a “blast.”
“The small-venue shows tend to be great,” he said. “You’re really close together. You’re hot and sweaty and all that.”
There also are challenges on the smaller stage. “You try to avoid getting smacked in the head by someone’s guitar,” he quipped. “It hasn’t happened yet.”
After an extended U.S. tour, which includes a show at Red Rocks on Oct. 5, Spoon will return to Europe in November. They already took one swing through Europe, which provided a memorable moment for Fischel. He said they were playing at a venue in Hamburg, Germany, that had been a Nazi bunker during World War II.
“So we’re playing in this bunker, this remnant from this crazy time in their history. And it’s a pretty liberal country now,” Fischel said. “I walk outside and plastered on the walls is, ‘We reject American fascism.’ The role is kind of reversed now. To walk out of what was once this fascist building and see that kind of statement was kind of a trip.”
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