Manchester DIY heroes...
Spring King

Manchester is burgeoning with lo-fi bands at the moment. Lots of interesting groups are going the DIY route and showcasing their proclivity with pop song-structure underneath the hiss of home production instead of trying to polish edges and impress the industry. Truth is ‘edges’ are great. Imperfections are what make things distinctive. Take Spring King, theirs is the sound of freedom and fun.

Songwriter/producer Tarek Musa ripped out his bathtub to record the ten track demo ‘In All This Murk And Dirt’ which he’s unveiling exclusively today to Clash readers. In its place sits an amp and drum-kit. The toilet’s still in there too! The results of this bit of DIY housework have so far been fantastic: Debut video ‘V-V-V-Vampire’ caught eyes and ears with its jagged proto-garage guitars being backed by blood-thirsty scenes, and now these tracks add piano ballads, sax solo’s and pop-hooks to their repertoire – not bad for a demo eh? especially considering each track is written and recoded in a day.

“Hey man, can your dad do a sax solo tonight? I need it tonight or I have to delete the song.” – that’s what Tarek said to his bandmate when making standout track ‘My Sleeves’. ‘In All This Murk And Dirt’ is being launched in London’s Shacklewell Arms on Sept 27th and The Castle in Manchester on Sept 28th.

Tickets for both are here…



Read our interview with Tarek Musa below….

Who the hell do you think you are?!
We’re a five piece, we’re all broke and we’re called Spring King.

How did you get together?
I wrote about 50 tunes, and then went searching for people to play them with. It took a while to find people that fit but I’m really happy with how it’s worked out.

Tell us about your previous production work…
I’ve been producing and mixing bands for a few years, including Jethro Fox, Chateaux, Kankouran, Stealing Sheep, Jr Sea and quite a few others.

Where do these songs come from?
I said to myself that every song that I would write for Spring King would have to be written, recorded, mixed and ‘mastered’ in one day. It’s really about capturing a day for me rather than anything else. I want to look back and see what my head was thinking through a song on that specific day. It’s a lot about getting the energy and the feeling and moods of that day archived.

How long have you been working on ‘In All This Murk And Dirt’?
This set of songs has been here for months. They were all recorded within two weeks. We have another 50 songs ready. We’re planning on putting them all out. Once they’re out, the focus will definitely turn to a more concentrated effort. I want whatever I record next to sound different. I want to progress and evolve the sound and eventually spend longer mixing a more considered record. There’s a lot of depth behind the distortion, piano ballads, solid pop-songs, eerie strained riffs.

Tell us about some of the highlights…
‘Let’s Ride’ is a punch in the face. So is ‘Dig Deeper’. Pete’s dad did a saxophone solo on ‘My Sleeves’. I called Pete, and said, “Hey man, can your dad do a solo tonight? I need it tonight or I have to delete the song”. I sent him the file and his dad solo’d through a laptop speaker. Pete knows if the song isn’t finished within the day, I delete the song because it crosses the one day rule. Where’s it available to pick up? Get in touch with us. We will burn you a copy onto a CD. It’s all Bandcamp city and SoundCloud for now. Cash is king, and the king hasn’t been nice enough to help us print any physicals.

Tell us about the ‘broken bathroom and empty lounge’ recording process…
I own a practice drum set which I’ve had since I was 15. After that, I owned a nice expensive kit but sold it because I preferred the sound of the crappy kit. There is an old bathroom in my house that I basically took over. It is tiny, and I managed to rip out the bath tub, the toilet and sink are still in it, but the drum kit and amp fit nicely in there and it does the trick.

I start with a guitar or piano structure and melody. With this in my head, I’ll go and record a drumbeat. Then I’ll start adding the various instruments. Vocals are done last normally. It’s all one takes, the whole point of this project was to capture that precise moment. So in some songs a stick drops or there’s a load of dud notes. This project isn’t about perfect retakes, but I do understand that aspect of recording music too. I’m involved in other projects, which are really considered and heavily produced. Spring King right now, is an escape from that.

Words: Simon Butcher

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