Spoon's Jim Eno talks Summer Ends Music Festival, growing as musicians

Legendary indie-rock band Spoon smashed back into the public eye last year with the widely loved “They Want My Soul.” Since then, the band has toured and appeared at practically every music festival this summer including Bonnaroo, Sasquatch and finally Summer Ends Music Festival on Friday in Tempe. 

Founding member, drummer, producer and label owner Jim Eno talked about looking back on a storied career.

“Never thought we’d be doing this for this long,” he said. “We’re making it work. It’s pretty exciting to be able to do this for a living.”

Founded in 1993 in Austin, Texas, the band released its first full-length album “Telephono” in 1996. After this, the group steadily pushed out records while managing to expand and perfect their sound. That is until 2010, when there was a four-year absence in releases until the previously mentioned “They Want My Soul.” Eno has fond memories of “Telephono," especially of how it encapsulates where the band was in life.

“We were in a spot where we felt that fast, short songs would help us get shows,” he said. “When I listen back, I like that it captures an exciting young band to me. I feel like it has a lot of crazy, speed-in-your-pants energy which I like about it.”

The reckless shredding has given way to a more methodical and restrained attack on rock. Songs off “They Want My Soul” guide the listeners through a variety of soundscapes instead of attempting to blast them through a record. Eno said Spoon has slowly progressed from one spectrum to another through previous albums.

“It’s been a gradual progression,” he said. “We spent a little more time on ‘A Series of Sneaks’ and it was around ‘Girls Can Tell’ when I guess Britt Daniel (lead singer and guitarist) became more broad in his influences when it came to songs.”

The result is a slightly psychedelic mix of post-punk with a garnishing of pop sensibilities. Blending these influences creates moments that transcend the concerts and the live setting and produces records fit for multiple settings. Whether this comes from Eno’s endeavor as a producer and studio owner or a sense of comfort the band finds in recording music, people notice. Eno elaborated on the group’s desire to write new tunes.

“We love being in the studio,” he said. “You can hear that as the records progress, us using the studio as an instrument too to try to make records exciting for the listener who is just listening to a song out of two speakers as opposed to being a live band.”

While Spoon enjoys the process of crafting records, the group equally has fun playing live shows. From the aforementioned festival schedule, a tour in support of the record and playing a cover of the Cramps’ “TV Set” on Conan among others, Spoon is enjoying a great amount of freedom right now, even when it comes to setlists.

“It’s something we play around with at sound check,” he said. “We just decided to throw it in just to keep things interesting.”

The mentality to keep the fun in the band manifested itself in a short impromptu set in June when the group crashed a Spoon cover band’s party. After catching wind of the event in Portland, Maine, the band showed up and had fun. Eno recalled the event as a rare but enjoyable moment.

“We can’t do that anymore,” he said. “We heard a band was playing ‘Girls Can Tell’ and ‘Kill The Moonlight’ front to back so we ran over there. We missed ‘Girls Can Tell’ but we made it there for ‘Kill The Moonlight’ so we jumped on stage and played a couple songs. It was a lot of fun.”

Spoon is a band that is having a lot of fun right now and their fans appreciate it. Catch them at Summer Ends Music Festival at Tempe Beach Park on Friday with Brand New, Jimmy Eat World and Thrice. 

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Reach the reporter at dloche@asu.edu or follow @DMLoche on Twitter.

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