Space4Lease, an indie psychedelic-rock group that is defying genres, has been steadily dropping awesome new singles leading up to a full-length EP release later this fall. I got an opportunity to sit down and chat with some of the guys! Here’s what happened:
Sidenote: Much apologies for the poor audio and visual quality. We did our best, but the internet connection wasn’t playing nice.
Here are some highlights from the interview for those of you who prefer reading and/or don’t have time to watch the full video!
Anie: You guys met and formed when you were all going to school at ACM (Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma). Were you all performance majors, or was anybody in music business or production?
Brandon: I was in production, yeah. When they started, I wasn’t even in the band. I was just recording their first EP.
Anie: Oh! Okay.
Brandon: Walt was my roommate.
Walt: I moved here on a whim, and uh, two weeks — or a little less than two weeks before school started, Brandon needed a roommate. And it just worked out really well, and then like six, seven, eight months later, he was in the band that Grayson and I had just recently started.
Grayson: I think during that recording process, we all just kind of bonded and had a good musical experience together. And then from there, it was kind of the starting point.
Anie: How did we come up with the name? Or, what was the formation of that I guess?
Walt: It is very uninteresting and uninspiring.
Anie: That’s okay. Lay it at me.
Walt: We’re such inspirational people, and this is the one question that just flatout sucks.
Walt: No! We were in the studio with Brandon before he joined the band, working on our first batch of tunes–
Grayson: With no name!
Walt: Grayson and I, with no name. And we were like, “Well if we have songs, we have to have a name.” And we were driving down the road, and, uh we saw a — Grayson saw a sign and was like, “What about Space4Lease?” And I was like “Oh!” You know. “That’s not bad. That’s okay.”
We had a couple ideas, but we weren’t, we couldn’t land anything. And we got to the studio, and we said it to some of the guys that were helping, and they were like, “Yeah! That’s it. That’s it. That’s the one.”
So that’s what we went with . . .
Walt: (laughing) Yeah, you could say that.
Anie: You guys seem like really kind of laid-back, rooted, oldschool. You seem to appreciate, like, analog things. Uh, but when you listen to your music, it’s all very ethereal and dreamscape, which I love so much. But I was wondering, um, what maybe influenced or inspired that musically?
Brandon: I just — I like the, like merging the old with the new.
Brandon: — is my thing with it, you know? And like getting to mix everything. I mean, I don’t have a lot of analog gear. We have, you know, we have it on hand — like we can go to ACM and the other studios around the city and use it, but I don’t have it necessarily at my studio to just sit and mix with it and everything. So for me, I like — the sound is like, just kind of merging the two and creating, like something different. You know?
Walt: And I think for me as a guitar player, um, being in a band where the keys are kind of the lead instrument — also the rhythm, but they really kind of take the chorus of where the songs go.
I loved, as a kid, listening to like Zeppelin records and all kinds of things where — you would hear these sounds, and I mean, years would go by before I was mature enough to understand what they were and things. So I’ve always had this weird, um . . . inner discovery of like — not trying to be the craziest, most technical player, but just get these really weird sounds. Get these — ’cause, when the keys are going, I can’t be going crazy all the time.
Walt: I have to sit back and take a different role. Although I’m on guitar, I can be sounding like a synthesizer, like a pad at times. And I think we really enjoy just going with what we can come up with, because it feels so natural to us. And we love that in the old records, and also love hearing that in new stuff, going, “Where the hell did that come from? What was that?”
Walt: That’s a really beautiful thing to us.
Brandon: Just different sounds as a whole is kind of our forte I feel like.
Anie: Does it ever get frustrating to you trying to explain your music to somebody who’s never heard it before? Because I was trying to explain it to somebody, and I was kind of like, “psychedelic indie-rock”, but labels don’t really work with art.
Walt: Yeah, and we have a lot of different songs that have kind of taken different routes. And a lot of our favorite bands do that. Like, we’re not one to limit ourselves to something. Like, we’ve had a folkier tune that’s still kind of ethereal and spacey — Dot, on our last EP — and then we’ve had some — all kinds of different stuff, and so it’s weird. You just, sometimes I just tell them, “Give me your Spotify. You can follow us. I’ll put you on our playlist, and then you can just go listen.”
Anie: Just go listen! Yeah.
Grayson: I think a lot of it too, is like we, I think we just like playing stuff that we enjoy listening to. We use a lot of different inspirations, a lot of different bands, and it’s always — you know, there’s new bands that we hear that, you know, there’s certain sounds that, you know. I wanna make some music like that! And so, I think a lot of it is — we just like playing stuff that we enjoy listening to. You know? So there’s a lot of, you know, and we come from a lot of different musical backgrounds, so.
You know, like Walt was saying, we have kind of a folkier song with Dot, and, you know. There’s some more, like um, some synths — new, synth-style music that we’ve released here recently because we enjoy other bands. Like Tame Impala was probably a little inspiration there, and Mac DeMarco as well. So, it’s a lot of bands that we enjoy listening to that we just, you know, take ideas from and try to expand on that. So, it’s something that’s kind of constantly changing with us as we change as musicians.
Anie: I would imagine that a lot of these songs were probably, maybe written originally on a keyboard, but then by the time we get the end product, the guitar, bass and drums add so much, and we get into the synthesizers as well. I was wondering if you guys could comment on the process of watching from the beginning of writing a song to how it comes together with the whole band.
Grayson: There was one song on the releases that we’ll have out — and we haven’t released it yet — that started on the guitar, that I was playing on guitar and then switched it over to keys.
Grayson: Um, but like you were saying, a lot of them for me, uh. I usually start writing. I write the songs for the most part. But it’s more of just like, I’m kind of like the starting point. And then I bring, you know, material to the guys, and then we all just kind of sit down and they bring their aspects of it, and then it just kind of molds into that.
So, I never really have a set goal on, you know, “this is the way the song needs to be”. I kind of bring the inspiration the best way I know how, and then we just expand off that.
Brandon: So, Grayson cracks the egg and we just cook it up.
Grayson: Yeah! Yeah! Exactly right. And then they — everybody starts adding spices!
Brandon: Yup. Put a little milk in there. Scrambled.
Grayson: Yeah, and it change — it could change very quickly too. There could be one riff that Walt plays, or a riff that Brandon plays or, you know, Wesley plays something in half-time that we’ve never tried before. And then we’re just like, “Wow!”
Anie: I noticed on your previous EP, there was a lot more of a traditional piano sound at the forefront, and at least so far on this EP, it’s a lot more blended with synthesizers and maybe more in the background. I felt like the guitar was a lot more in the forefront on this EP. I was wondering if that was an intentional direction, or if it just — that’s the way the music pulled you?
Brandon: That’s just kind of how they grew I feel like. And we were, we were really into grand piano last record. Which, I mean that’s pretty much what you’re hearing mostly. That’s driving the record, is the grand.
I mean, we have some of that on the new record. Not as many on the first two or three that we put out thus far. But, I mean, it’s still there, you know. Just, kind of like we said. I mean, just kind of molding these new things that we’ve been hearing and we’ve been listening to, into like, things that we have been doing. Trying something different, and, “Ooh! We like that, so let’s try that!” You know?
Walt: The studio, this time for us was — I wouldn’t say not as planned out, but it was more of like — who can bring what out of us, and what can we bring out of each other? And that’s how these songs ended up.
Anie: I get an instant sense of understanding or familiarity about your music, but you also play a lot with sense of “Drifting” and transience, and I really love that dichotomy of being at peace within the ambiguity of life. Can you speak to that sentiment or what drew you to that theme?
Grayson: I think a lot of it was, uh, not really like trying to, you know, share my story or whatever, but just trying to like, you know. As long as I’m making somebody feel something. You know, I think that’s my biggest, you know, goal as a musician. You know, making somebody feel something in their chest, you know? So, um, I think that’s kind of — I think I figured out, um with these songs, I think it’s a lot easier to do with, um, the material that I was writing.
Anie: What’s something about your music that you think would surprise your fans?
Walt: I think one thing is like, the way that people hear us live — and then also people that only hear us in recordings — is the way that we translate things between the two settings, and the way that we don’t really put like, we don’t — live, we don’t really play all our songs like exactly how they are on the record. We do some different jams and things like that. And the way our show is really invigorating, but then also the way that our records are, the way that we take them and try to make them, um, the best way that they can be for themselves. So, I think that can be an interesting thing for people on either side of the spectrum whether they have only listened to us online, or whether they’ve only seen us live. I think it’s a cool, surprising thing to get to experience both of it.
Anie: What’s the ultimate end-goal that you hope to accomplish, either with this EP specifically or with music in general?
Grayson: I would just say keep doing what we’re doing, but just, you know, get better and better, and get getting bigger and bigger.
Brandon: Just reach people, and let just let people hear our story. And kind of see what we’re about and know us on a deeper level.
Walt: The way our music keeps growing is the way that we keep growing as people. So, if we can keep growing within ourselves, and also growing within our music, that like, keeps me just as happy as whether or not we’re getting 50 million plays.
Anie: Was there anything that you wanted to say that you didn’t get a chance to talk about?
Walt: I like ending with this: Support your local music scene, because that’s where all your favorite bands started. And pay attention to what’s around you, who you love. Tell them you love them.
And also, uh, you know. We’ve got some interesting things coming out, so just stay in tune with what we’re up to, and we’ll really appreciate that.
Are you hooked? If you want a chance to win a digital copy of the first 3 singles released off their upcoming EP, head on over to YouTube and comment for a chance to win! (A random commenter will be selected a week from today, and contacted w/ a link to download the music.)
Alternately, you can support Space4Lease by purchasing from their website or on your favorite digital music store (iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon, etc.)