Spoon In Australia – Talking Ga Ga With Jim Eno

Another song on Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga that you rounded out with some studio chatter was “Don’t You Evah”. Was that the first time you put that much talk on a record?

I think so. There was actually more that I wanted on there but it was getting a little out of control. But one of the things about that is that we record on analogue tape so every time you hear the song you start hearing all the chatter and the banter and the noises and when you start mixing the record and you take those away it feels empty, just because you become accustomed to hearing all those different sounds. So it’s sort of an organic process. We do strip a lot a way but it does become part of the song for us.

Yeah, and I mean that studio chatter sort of leads into a song and gives it a bit more of a room feel. So did you have some huge compilation of all the finest studio jokes that you guys had made over the years to then chop up and put in “Don’t You Evah”? Was it much of a composite?

No, those were all done live pretty much where you hear them. You know, they’re on Britt’s vocal tracks, they’re on percussion tracks, and they just happened to fall where they are. It was not a past compilation or anything. It was all live when we were tracking the song.

I was wondering if there was ever going to be a strictly Spoon banter album somewhere down the line?

Yeah, exactly. I wonder if the record company will allow us to fulfil our obligations with that one. [laughs]

Have you captured a few zingers in the studio? Have there been many jokes that you guys have made that have missed tape then Jim?

Yeah, I don’t think my lawyer wants us to talk about those though.

With Spoon you also seem to keep a pretty watchful eye on the business side of things. For the last album, Gimme Fiction, you gave Matador a try in terms of releasing it in some territories but then you haven’t gone with those guys again. It is important for you to keep an eye on the ball? I guess Spoon is a band that learnt that early on with the troubles that you had with Elektra.

Exactly. We’ve always had our hand in everything and we felt that no one is going to look out for the band except for the band, you know? We are always looking for different labels and things like that because you just have to see what’s out there.

I’m guessing that a major label would never have let you to name your album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga as well.

Oh yeah, they would have. I don’t think we would ever go to a major if they wouldn’t allow us to do whatever we do.

Was that a hard sell to anyone, calling the album that?

No, not at all. We thought it was pretty cool and ballsy. We didn’t really realise what some people would think the name was. I guess we should have thought a little bit more about it.

Did people think it was some off-the-cuff babble or the fifteenth letter of some outer space language or something, were they?

Right, right. Do you know where the title comes from?

No, do tell.

Ok, well “The Ghost of You Lingers'”, the second song on the record, working title was “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga”. Seven Gas.

Because of the way the song goes?

Yeah, the piano. So you spend five months in the studio and little things amuse you and we used to get a kick out of that. And when Britt changed the name we’re like — hey that would be a good album title.

Has it been sort of important for you guys in Spoon to experiment in different ways the last few years as well? Britt did some soundtrack work, he scored the movie Stranger Than Fiction. Was it kind of good to open things up a bit since you guys have working together for so long?

I think so. I mean, Britt’s always been really good at, soundscapes and sounds in general and it was probably good for him to do that.

So you weren’t upset and went looking for some Steven Spielberg movie to get your claws into or something like that?

No, no, not at all.

I thought that in most musicians after awhile there is always a frustrated soundtrack composer that thinks he needs to come out.

[laughs] Right. Maybe that’s me. I haven’t tried it yet.

You’ve just put out a Diplo remix of “Don’t You Evah”. Has there always been a bit of a hip hop sort of side to you guys waiting to get out as well maybe?

Maybe. We love that stuff. We were looking for people to re-mix “Don’t You Evah” and he wanted to do it which was great.

Are you ever worried about farming those things out to see how they come back? If you have so many versions of your songs when you’re making a record it must put a bigger spin on it to give it to someone else to see how it turns out.

Yeah, totally. But you know, with a remix you can take them with a grain of salt. People understand that it is a different interpretation of the song and it’s not something that is going to go on our record. So we are cool with it.

First broadcast on Static on 24/01/2008. Static can be heard on Sydney’s 2SER (107.3FM) and via the internet (www.2ser.com) every Thursday evening (AEST).