I’m absolutely in love with Casey Spooner’s new record “Adult Contemporary”. For fans of Fischerspooner, sonically “Adult Contemporary” is quite different from what you would expect from Casey Spooner– it’s got a more sophisticated rock sound that is just gorgeous and evocative – overall just a massive pleasure to listen to. I suggest you do.
Having just released his new track and video with Jake Shears for “Spanish Teenager”, we had a nice long chat with Casey Spooner about working with and touring with Scissor Sisters, pushing the gay envelope, the significance behind my favorite song on the album called “Cinnamon Toast” and why being an out musician really isn’t that big of a deal for Casey Spooner. Enjoy the interview.
“Adult Contemporary” by Casey Spooner is out now on iTunes.
EQ: Hello Casey, first of all, I actually LOVE the video for “Spanish Teenager” but I have to say, there A LOT of asses in the video.
Casey – I know, it’s very “asstastic”. I really asked for more full frontal but I think they were hesitating…
How did you come up with the concept for the video?
Well, I worked with this photographer that I really liked called Luke Guildford and I just really loved his photography and he had never made a video before. But I felt like his photos were sort of a style I was looking for, for the first piece. And we just talked a lot about making something that was kinda hallucinatory, slick, beautiful and you know, unusual. We did several shoots, we did like a shot on a beach and he then took out footage and re shot it again and again, so it felt more like his photography.
What is it about the Mediterranean lifestyle that sort of evokes so much beauty and invite? I think you captured that lifestyle very well in the song and the video. What was some of you inspirations for making “Spanish Teenager”?
Well I got the idea to make the song actually from just one afternoon in Spain. I happened to be in Almeria years ago on tour. We had an afternoon off and we went to this beach and it was just one of those beautiful beaches – the water was incredible, it was just totally crystal clear and blue and everyone on the beach was just gorgeous and the food was amazing and it was very simple and very quiet, not some fussy trendy euro anything, it was just a really simple gorgeous beach with amazing people, I always remember it, I was like “Oh God, why can’t I just be here forever?”
Sounds like my kind of place…
Why can’t I be this carefree and simple – I kept asking myself.
What was it like working with Jake Shears on the track?
It was fun. I guess we’ve never actually worked together, I mean we’ve talked and we’ve heard each others work and we always kinda give each other feedback and stuff but I guess this is the first time we actually worked together and it was really fun. It was superb, fast and just a great evening at the studio. I mean I love collaborating with people. I just remember Jake being so warm and asking if I needed anything there. I think we drank an entire bottle of Campari on that day.
Yeah, you know, really get the mood on!
You gotta set the right tone if your gonna make a song about Spanish teenagers – so definitely a must have drink in the studio I think.
Right?! Campari and soda – its so fancy!
You actually went on tour with the Scissor Sisters not too long ago and I was just wondering what your best memory was from it?
Oh my god, it was insane. I spoke to Jake when he was in Japan and he was like “You really should come with us on tour and open for us in North America” and I was like “Are you crazy. I don’t have any time!” I already had an apartment in Berlin and the tour is starting in three weeks so it was like no way. So I had a cup of coffee and thought about it and was like “What the fuck. It would be amazing, totally fun. You know what your right, lets make this happen!” So very quickly I pulled togther this crazy one man show. We got to go all over North America. What was my favourite memory? I love a bus tour, we do have a great time hanging out.
Fantastic. Let’s talk about your new album “Adult Contemporary”. You described it as a happy accident, a change from your more electronic Fischerspooner sound to a more rock sound. What was like to let your inner rock God out on this collection of tracks?
Well when I started working on this as I was submitting material for Jeff Saltzman. He was working on his own album and it was right after finishing the last Fischerspooner record. He invited lots of his favourite singers and songwriters to contribute to this big group project. I was like okay cool and he booked a studio and I went in and started working and I was like “Look I’m just gonna record as fast as I can, and I just wanna crank out as many ideas as quickly as possible”. After the first two weeks he started calling it “your record”. I was like Jeff why are you calling this my record? And he said “Well I feel like your on a roll and that I’m making your record.” And I was like “Whoa hold up, I’m not a solo artist, I’m not making a rock record. This is your record”. There was this crazy moment where he kind of surprised me by turning it into my album. So I had to take a little time to think about it because I wasn’t really thinking of all the ramifications of the style and the approach. A lot of the stuff I was recording I didn’t think I would be singing. I thought my vocals would be replaced at some point by another singer. After we’d got a lot of the material down I was like, this is interesting – it’s a total departure and the thing that I like about it, is its not like Fischerspooner at all. It was so effortless, I was like we should just keep moving forward with this idea.
How do you think your fans are going to respond to the change of the sound?
I think that there are going to be some people who aren’t going to be interested and I think that there will be some people that will be surprised and maybe they’ll discover new facets to my personality. I think that there will be some people who don’t know Fischerspooner at all that will connect to it. We’ve always been changing. When we made the first Fischerspooner record, it was a radical sound at the time. With the second record there was another shift. I’m sort of used to people wanting to catch up.
To me you’re one of the modern day pioneers of the electronic genre. Do you feel that since electronic music has gotten so popular in the last couple of years, that the genre will be depleting out a bit or do you think its still here to stay for a while?
No I still that there is some amazing people doing great stuff. For sure. I have to admit it’s not something I want to look into as much as before. A lot of what I love, like the Peaches album and Beth Ditto’s work with Simian Mobile Disco is really good. The great thing is that there is this convergence and I think there is potential for more of it to happen in a radical way.
I for one sure hope it doesn’t go away as it’s still my favourite genre.
I’m looking forward to – once I’m done with “Adult Contemporary” I’m looking forward to returning to something super electronic.
Now you released “Faye Dunaway”, as a free download to introduce people to your new sound. Can you tell us what that song is about to you?
That song to me is a abstract collage of several different things, but to me it adds up to being a kind of portrait of modern homosexuality. It’s part a dream, part personal relationship. Its partly me speaking directly to the audience. There’s a lot of images that I think are like gay clichés. There’s a section about a bathhouse. But its also deeply personal so its runs a gambit of stereotypical homosexual things pitted against romance – in a very personal drama.
What do you think is the hardest part about being an ‘out’ musician?
I don’t have any problem. I haven’t seen any difficulty yet with this so far. I think I kind of exist in sort of a funny space. I’m not really underground but I feel that I still have a a foothold in that world. I feel I inhabit this great netherworld where I can be anything. I can move between art and entertainment and I can be myself in this unknown but unknown place.
My favourite song on “Adult Contemporary” is “Cinnamon Toast”…tell me about that song.
It’s amazing you know, I am looking to set up the next single. I really love the song “RSVP” as I think it has that really big hooky, kinda classic single feeling. But everyone across the board really reacts to “Cinnamon Toast”. I mean I like that song but still, I recorded it really quickly, within an hour at the end of the session with Jeff. Everyone really connects with that one.
I think it’s because it’s kinda quirky and cute and you compare emotion with food and it really stands out to me. It’s a really good jam on the album – it’s one of the stand out ones.
Ok well your just gave us the deciding vote then. It is a song that is deeply personal and it is about my third birthday party. I was excited but I think I was a really nervous and I didn’t understand how parties worked or if people showed up or if they didn’t show up, what was going to happen. My mother and I set up for my birthday party and it was outside on our patio. She was my art teacher and we made these giant paper paintings of Mickey Mouse characters and everything was decorated and we were all set. Then it started to rain so we had to take everything apart. I was completely devastated. I didn’t understand – I thought I wouldn’t get to have a party at all and that people would be angry or upset. I was just really confused. I remember this very specific moment where I was carrying a stack of place mats from the patio and I was trying so hard to be an adult. I just was so overwhelmed with emotion that I put my head against this stack of place mats in the doorway and started to cry. Basically, it was the first time I entertained and I was completely devastated. It was kinda like a right of passage, I became aware of humiliation for the first time.
What an interesting story. I totally wouldn’t have got that from listening to the song.
The thing that I wanted to do with that song was to treat the emotions of a child with sort of the same respect as someone would treat the emotions of an adult. Because I think that childhood is always misportrayed. There’s a dismissiveness to childhood and children’s emotion – that’s not what childhood is like. When you’re experiencing it for the first time, it feels as important as any other sort of emotion when your alive when your older. So I wanted to try and portray childhood with the seriousness of adulthood.
Thanks for sharing that. Art plays such a big role in your visuals and the way that your present your music. With “Adult Contemporary” we’ve seen the “Spanish Teenager”video, what sort of artistic inspiration will you be bringing to some of the new tracks?
Well I think that for this album in general I’m treating things a little bit more classic and sophisticated. Its not like a Fischerspooner project, where to me its always about pushing towards a new sound, style or trying to push a radical style in an aesthetic world. This is a little bit more about trying to do things that are classic, to do things that are simple, to do things that are kinda of my version of traditional. The other thing is there is a lot of intense personal content, so I’m trying to translate that emotion. The style is sort of traditional, classic and sophisticated but the content is very emotional. So “Spanish Teenager” has a kind of warmth and a more emotional approach. As “Spanish Teenager”is so homoerotic, I think that I’m gonna do more of that as well.
Okay well we always look forward to that…
I wanna to a video for “Faye Dunaway”that’s all about contemporary homosexual identity. But that’s the one that I’m gonna really push the flavour. The gay agenda will move forward one more step.
Well in my opinion you can never really push it too far. It needs to be put out there.
Well trust me, I’m about to find that edge.
Well I look forward to seeing that. Casey I just want to thank you for taking the time out to chat with us today. Do you have any parting words, or anything you want to tell our EQ readers who will be looking forward to your new album?
Just stay tuned and watch what’s coming. We’re working on some remixes, working on more videos and I’m sure we will be performing soon somewhere also.