Austin-based art rock band Spoon is back to the basics. Their newest album “Lucifer on the Sofa” is all things rock ‘n’ roll, marking a shift toward a wilder, more guttural musical style.
“I hear [songs like] ‘Feels Alright’ or ‘Wild’ and just want to go out and f–king party,” drummer Jim Eno says. “I feel like a rock record with that kind of [energy] is needed right now.”
D.C. audiences can catch Spoon’s latest at 9:30 Club the evenings of Monday, April 11 and Tuesday, April 12. The performance will showcase songs from “Lucifer on the Sofa,” as well as tried-and-true favorites from their previous nine albums. New York singer-songwriter Margaret Glaspy will open.
For an inside look at Spoon’s creative prowess, we sat down with drummer Jim Eno for a preview of “Lucifer on the Sofa,” an album he says embodies “your dark side you’re trying to suppress”— but also “offers hope.”
Read on for Eno’s insights and what to expect at 9:30 Club.
What Sets This Album Apart
Jim Eno: When we started making ‘Lucifer on the Sofa,’ we wanted to go back to the basics and make a real rock record. We did a lot of things we haven’t done in a while, like deciding up front what we wanted to include. It forced us to make decisions early on, which affected later [aspects of the record]. We also played together in a room and rehearsed before we recorded, which gave a confidence to our performance we can’t get just figuring out parts in the studio. [I think this process] is a big reason why some records are so great.
Take our song “Held.” We recorded in a room where you could hear chatter and the producer is talking to us. Once you have that kind of stuff in a recording, it becomes part of the performance you don’t want to get rid of it. So, we recorded two complete takes of the song – one panned hard left, one panned right – and used them at the same time. We planned this up front; then we just had to play together enough where we knew our parts and could fully commit to the piece.
Silver Lining of Lockdown
We were about three quarters of the way done recording ‘Lucifer on the Sofa’ when Covid hit. We tried to get together [when we could]. [I will say our lead singer] Britt Daniel helped create some amazing moments during Covid. He had some creative streaks where he wrote songs like ‘Lucifer on the Sofa’ – songs that never would have made it on the record otherwise. Those were some of his strongest songs, too. I feel we have a better record because of it.
Meaning of “Lucifer on the Sofa”
It reminds me of a walk through Austin during the pandemic lockdown. We have these intense grackles here, [these crow-like birds]. ‘Lucifer on the Sofa’ is like hearing the grackles with nothing else around. It’s a haunting image. That with the idea of lucifer as the dark side of yourself that you’re trying to suppress. At least for me, the pandemic forced me to confront a lot of things. I’m a very busy person and I feel like I used that to avoid confronting issues – to subconsciously just keep going. Both to sustain a career but also: ‘I don’t really feel like dealing with that. I’m going to go into studio. I have so much work to do.’
I feel like a lot of the songs offer hope. That’s why to me, this does not feel like a pandemic record. I hear “Feels all right” or “Wild” and just want to go f—king go out and party. I hear those songs and want everything to go back to normal. I feel like a rock record with that kind of [energy] is needed right now. It’s exciting to me.
Track That Especially Resonates
“Hell” is a great opener for the record. It’s a slower tempo, which allows the record to build. It also has this ‘what is coming next’ kind of feel to it. It has this thing that puts me on edge, which I love in an opening track. And I think we did a good job of achieving peaks and valleys in that song: Intense feelings but then stripping back and still maintaining the toughness.
Recent Stand-out Moments
There’s something about this iteration of the band and songs we’re playing where we have a relaxed confidence now. To me, it’s sort of frightening how well we’re playing together. I feel like we have this competence to try things, but we’re trying things together. It’s something we’ve talked about as a band. We need to maintain this feeling we’re having live. A lot of it may have to do with the fact that we haven’t done any live shows in a really long time, and we’re so excited to be able to play these songs in front of fans. It could also be fans needing shows, and looking out into the audience and seeing excitement. That is a huge motivating factor.
What You’re Excited About for 9:30 Club
We love the 930 Club. The vibe of that club is really special. Having the balconies up top, you feel like the crowd is surrounding you. We’re there two nights [and it feels like] high school summer camp. It’s gonna be super.
Favorite D.C. Memory
We were there one time and visited The White House and I got to meet Bo, Obama’s dog. That was one of the highlights of any tour I’ve ever done. And then the cupcakes backstage at 930 Club. Yeah, they give you those [laughs].
What Audiences Can Expect
We’re going to be playing new stuff, old stuff. You’re going to see a great live rock ‘n’ roll show.
Spoon will perform at 9:30 Club on Monday, April 11 and Tuesday, April 12. Doors open at 7 p.m. For more details on the show and ticket information, click here.
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