When Spoon take the stage on Day 2 of Kaaboo, it may be the last time that you see them for a while. They’re nearing the end of the record cycle for their 2014 release, “They Want My Soul,” and it’s time to step back, pour some energy into other projects, and refocus. But the band isn’t going anywhere, as multi-instrumentalist Eric Harvey tells SoundDiego. Co-founder and frontman Britt Daniel has been writing new material, and Spoon are already playing one of those new songs live -- we may even get a preview at Kaaboo. But it’s time for a break, and we should be grateful, because it’s time away, time spent on other ventures, that allows Spoon to come back to us with exactly what we’ve been waiting for -- even if we don’t know what that is yet.
That’s what happened when they stepped back after “Transference” released in 2010. It was an adjustment, not only for fans but also for the band. And that’s where our conversation with Harvey, who speaks quickly and willingly, begins. Read on.
Hannah Lott-Schwartz: You’ve been with Spoon for more than 10 years now. At what point did this become a full-time job for you?
Eric Harvey: I joined the band in 2004, and then we were touring pretty solid on “Gimme Fiction” the latter half of 2005, so I was able to make it a full-time job pretty soon after joining the band. There were certainly times where I was doing freelance gigs here and there. Between 2011 and 2014, Britt was doing Divine Fits, and Spoon wasn’t doing anything, so it was full-time job for a while and then it very, very abruptly ceased to be. It’s a weird thing, being in a band, because it kind of comes and goes. Even now we’re at the tail end of this record cycle. And I’m definitely going to be doing other stuff outside of Spoon.
HLS: Was that an adjustment at all, having to go on a break?
EH: It was weird in 2011 or whenever we finished the “Transference” tour. It was definitely a little bit of an identity crisis because I got really used to doing this thing all the time, and it was who I was. And Britt came up to me one day, and he was sort of frustrated with a lot of things at that point and just said, “I think this band should go away for a while.” I couldn’t immediately grasp what that meant. It wasn’t really up for discussion, you know? In a sense it was good; we’re all a little, you know, worn out.
HLS: Aside from Spoon, you released a solo album, "Lake Disappointment," a few years back. Is there any chance of a follow-up record?
EH: Yeah, definitely. I’m kinda writing -- there are a couple of different veins of music right now. I’d really like to do another solo record. When I do that, it ends up coming out as fairly introverted singer/songwriter material, which isn’t something I’m completely satisfied with. I have a lot of musician friends, and I’m really looking forward to collaborating with people and looking forward to doing something that’s a new project or band, just to keep it interesting.
HLS: Do you have any sense of whether something is “good” before you put it out there?
EH: Well, the solo record was the first thing I really released. I have a lot of other stuff kickin’ around. You know, by the time you’re finished with something, you’re probably so close to it that you don’t have a lot of perspective on whether it’s “good” or not. But that last record, when I put it out I had some misgivings. But now that I have some distance -- people seem to like it. It’s nice to get your feet wet so that when you do something else it doesn’t feel like… You’ve already put yourself out there a bit. I felt a certain amount of pressure that I’d put on myself, and it wasn’t even really there. So I think I’d be fairly relaxed about putting something else out ’cause nobody really cares, you know? At the end of the day. It’s not like you’re a surgeon with someone’s life in your hands.
Spoon perform at Kaaboo on Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. For festival and ticket information, visit kaaboodelmar.com.
Hannah Lott-Schwartz, a San Diego native, moved back to the area after working the magazine-publishing scene in Boston. Now she’s straight trolling SD for all the music she missed while away. Want to help? Hit her up with just about anything at all over on Twitter, where -- though not always work-appropriate -- she means well.