On one hand, recording Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, the new Spoon album, was business as usual, according to leader Britt Daniel (second from left).
“I’m always just scrambling to make everything as cool as it can be and as great as it can be,” he says, “so I’ll try any theory or any strategy to get there.”
On the other hand, Spoon did work with multiple producers on the new album, due in stores July 10 via Merge and streaming now via www.gagagagaga.net. In addition to Mike McCarthy, who along with Daniel and drummer Jim Eno shared production credits on the band’s previous three Merge albums, Spoon recorded with Jon Brion (Aimee Mann, Rhett Miller, Kanye West).
“It was a blast,” says Daniel of working with Brion on the song “The Underground.” “He’s a pretty incredible human being. He’s definitely doing the right job for his abilities because he’s so talented, extremely creative and really great at working with people. It was a very positive experience.”
Daniel says Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga was “an intense record to make” and that it took the Austin, Texas-bred band longer than usual to complete the project.
“I moved up to Portland, [Ore., in 2005], but I had to go back to Austin for the recording of the record, and I didn’t have a place to live,” explains Daniel. “So I was usually living at the studio, and once we were about two and a half months in and I couldn’t see the end of it on the other side, it started to feel like, ‘Are we ever going to finish this record? Is it ever going to be as good as we need it to be?’ ”
Spoon finished the album prior to this year’s South by Southwest music conference/festival in Austin. That time of year, says the soft-spoken Daniel, “is when things get a little crazy” in the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World.
“I do get stopped some, but usually I’m pretty much left alone,” says Daniel, who was a panelist and performer during SXSW ’07. “People in Austin are nice about it.”
As for his level of celebrity, Daniel says he “doesn’t need it to be more complicated” than it is.
“It’s a strange juxtaposition because [as a musician] you’re always doing things to reach more people,” he adds.
— By Chris M. Junior
Spoon on the road (schedule subject to change):
* July 4: Comerica City Fest — Detroit
* July 5: Summerfest — Milwaukee
* July 11: Battery Park — New York
* July 28: Capitol Hill Block Party — Seattle
* Aug. 4: Lollapalooza — Chicago
* Aug. 5: Virgin Festival — Baltimore