Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 2nd 2010 10:00PM by Darci Spiker
"Use your imagination" were the instructions Free Energy's Paul Sprangers gave Spinner as he ended our recent conversation. This may come easily for the frontman, but it's certainly not the only reason for the band's success. Spranger and former Hockey Night bandmate, Scott Wells, combined forces with Geoff Bucknum, Nicholas Shuminsky and Evan Wells to form Free Energy. The band is set to unleash a full-length record, 'Stuck on Nothing,' and energize Austin at SXSW 2010.
Let's start at the beginning. How did Free Energy form?
Well, Hockey Night kind of dissolved, but Scott and I kept writing songs. We've known each other all of our lives and we've always written songs together, so we just kept going. Jonathan Galkin, who runs DFA [Records], wasn't ready to put out our last Hockey Night record, but we kept sending him demos and eventually he signed us. We spent a year in New York recording with [LCD Soundsystem's] James [Murphy] for DFA, and then we spent another year in Philly putting the band together.
On the Hockey Night MySpace page is this equation: Bad Stuff + Peace Attack = Free Energy. Is this how the name Free Energy came about?
Oh man! I totally forgot that was up there. That was definitely premonitory. Those are words that I thought were cool, and I just arranged them in a compelling manner. The name "Free Energy" actually comes from a song that Scott and I had been working on for a long time.
Would you say that Free Energy evolved from Hockey Night, or are the two completely separate endeavors?
It definitely evolved from Hockey Night. It's the result of what we learned from Hockey Night, including all the mistakes we made, how to write solid songs, how to run a band and communicate constructively.
What were some of the musical influences that inspired the evolution of your sound?
In the first stages of Hockey Night, we were still processing the indie rock that we listened to in high school and college. Then we started listening to classic rock. At this point we're processing and assimilating all of those influences. We've kind of moved on from indie rock. Classic rock is in our blood and it just kind of seeps out, like sweat.
How would you describe your sound?
I tell people rock 'n' roll when they ask. It definitely has the glam rock feel.
When you spun your sound into a record was it hard to let go of your ideas and trust your producer?
No. Not at all. After Hockey Night, a period of questioning new ideas and letting ego dictate over reason, we were ready to work with someone with a lot of experience and who is really talented. [We were ready] to collaborate, trust him and take chances. We were just completely open. And I think that's why it's successful. There's a real openness and a real innocence to it. It's just really free.
What's a typical recording day-in-the-life of Free Energy?
We'd get a text from James about what time we should show up, depending on if people partied the night before, but around noon. He had an espresso maker, so we'd have coffee, hang out and listen to records. Watch YouTube clips of classic rock bands or listen to what we'd recorded the previous day and talk about it. We'd leave around 8 or 9PM, so pretty much a straight-up workday.
Tell us more about Paul Sprangers: Fruit Loops, granola or cold pizza?
Beatles or Rolling Stones?
What kind of music do you listen to when you're not working? Don't try to sound cool -- tell me the guilty pleasures.
What was the first album you bought with your own money and how old were you?
I was probably in the fourth grade. It was either 'Slippery When Wet' by Bon Jovi or 'He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper' by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.
What's the craziest thing you've seen or experienced while on tour?
There was a war veteran in a motorized wheel chair with long hair and a long beard racing a kid on a dirt bike down the sidewalk. Both of them were really psyched. That was amazing. But, I mean, nothing really insane like rock-star lifestyle s--- yet.
What advice would you give to a new band?
I would say take your time and be patient. Trust yourself. There's just so much emphasis now on getting a deal, having [social network] friends or even playing shows, instead of making sure you feel good about what you're doing.
What's in your festival survival kit?
Advil, an extra pair of underwear, a jumbo pack of condoms and a hair net.
What's with the hair net?
Use your imagination.
Darci Spiker is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.