From Bushwick’s grey industrial streets, rose Spanish Prisoners’ strangely uplifting sound — a perfect blend of cloudy density and pop-y guitar riffs that brings to mind The Beach Boys on the verge of a heroin overdose. But don’t be fooled by the analogy, surf rock is nowhere to be found here — rather, a heap of perfectly listless waves crash over emotionally charged yet stoic lyrics.
Spanish Prisoners “Know No Violence” off of the band’s newest release, Gold Fools, carefully careens between dreamy layered vocals and lucid instrumental precision, a habit the band luckily doesn’t kick through the entirety of the album. We got to chat with songwriter Leo Maymind and singing drummer Mike DiSanto about finding the perfect amount of reverb, the influence of drunk douchebags and New Order on the album, and how, apparently, Nas’ Illmatic is totally timeless.
Oh and did I mention we have a pair of tickets to check out Spanish Prisoners tomorrow night at Pianos with Ski Lodge, Wolff and more!? So check out the rest of the interview after the jump and leave a comment below for your chance to win and be sure to grab Gold Fools for the current price of whatever you want to pay for it.
First and foremost, where does the name Spanish Prisoners come from?
Leo Maymind: The name came from the David Mamet film “the Spanish Prisoner,” which I think is a classic con-artist movie. Mamet kind of has a cult following. I’m not even sure the rest of the band has seen it.
Mike DiSanto: I haven’t seen it and people always seem vaguely disappointed in me when I tell them that.
Leo Maymind: We’ve been talking about setting up a movie night and all watching it, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Tell me a little about the writing process of Gold Fools. How does it differ from the band’s previous releases?
M: The writing process was very much the same as the recording and mixing process. It was all kind of happening at the same time as Leo and I would pass tracks back and forth with a pile of USB keys. I bought a new keyboard at the time and every time Leo gave me a song he was working on I would delete some of his tracks and recreate them with the keyboard, which was maybe a little annoying but I regret nothing.
L: Mike would also incrementally decrease the level of reverb without telling me. And then I would just increase it even more the next time around, hoping he wouldn’t notice. So it was mostly this long process of just sending things back and forth and sort of carving out something that was pleasing to the two of us and our other two bandmates. Suffice to say it took a pretty long time to arrive where we are now.
M: That’s true, at least 40% of our discussions on the album involved reverb.
L: It was more like 70-80%. We would start talking about reverb and end up talking about New Order for an hour.