In 2009, Spencer Miles – frontman, bassist, and New Jersey native – quit his job, left the band he was in, and packed up to follow his girlfriend to London. Once he arrived, Miles fortuitously met drummer Billy Hawkes and guitarist Tom Welch. Space Fight, named in tribute to old school Atari and Intellivision games, was born shortly after.
Space Fight is currently recording their debut full length album, title TBD, and will be making their North American performance debut on September 12th at Pianos at 10pm with Best Friends, Leila Adu, and Sleep Shy.
Check out the band’s energetic and psychedelic single “22” here.
Spencer, before starting Space Fight in the UK, you were in a band here. Was that band different than Space Fight?
Spencer: Yes, we were stylistically different, and I was just the bassist in that band. The turning point for me was the first time I saw Ra Ra Riot in 2006, my little brother is the lead singer. I thought they were amazing, and if he could sing in a rock band, maybe I could do that too. I started taking on a larger singing role in my old band for a few years, until I had the confidence to take on the “frontman” responsibilities. But by then, I was leaving that band and moving to London.
You guys met in London. What’s the story behind that first meeting?
Billy: Tom and I have been friends since we were eight years old and played in bands together since we were fifteen. We were completely bored with our last band so we put an ad out for a bassist and proceeded to ignore everyone’s replies, including Spencer’s.
Spencer: Billy finally emailed me back a few days after I responded to his ad. We first met over a few pints before we played any music, and it was weird. Good weird though. These two guys who grew up 3500 miles away, in a different country, had strikingly similar tastes and experiences to me. We had all grown up in the 80s, and it seemed the cultural differences between the US and UK were minimal. I remember there was some confusion about what each other meant by “football.” We lost track of time, and I missed the last tube home. And then they started talking about the chord changes in Steely Dan tunes, so I knew we were gonna click musically before we’d ever played a note.
I was surprised to find out that you guys have only been around for a few years. Based on “22” it sounds like you guys have a great chemistry together. When did you find out that you “fit” together?
Billy: I think ’22’ was the first original song we did together. Before Spen came to London he sent a load of weird demos, so me and Tom messed around with a lot of ideas before he even got here. When we met up in the rehearsal room for the first time it just clicked, or rather we said to Spen “we’re gonna do this to your songs,” and he said “that’s great!” There’s never been any awkward silences really, except when Spencer fails to understand one of our strange London slang type words. When we asked each other what stuff we were into, we came up with pretty much the same bands, though I still can’t get my head around his fascination for U2.
Speaking of “22” – it’s a great mix of psychedelic sounds with some manic drumming. Billy, your drumming in the chorus reminds me of some of Keith Moon’s fills and cymbal crashes. Would you call him an influence?
Billy: As a drinker, definitely. Not so much as a drummer. John Bonham and Stewart Copeland are more my thing as far as drummers are concerned. All lunatics behind a kit anyway. I think you need to be a little bit of a nutcase to be a successful drummer. I like drummers that hit hard – your job in the band is to be the noisy one and completely piss off the rest of the band.
Are the songs more collaborative or is there one person in particular who writes the music and lyrics?
Spencer: I would give them a demo, and let them run wild with it. The chord changes and melodies stayed pretty much the same from my demos, but the final product has a distinctly different sound once they get through with it.
Billy: The lyrics are Spen’s. The music is usually his to start with, then Tom and I tend to bastardise it completely. His demo’s are usually all soft and sweet, then we come and smash seven bells out of it and it turns into Space Fight.
You’re currently working on an album. What can we expect from a Space Fight full length?
Spencer: I think there will be a broader spectrum of sounds compared to the EP. On the EP we wanted to smack the listener over the head and say, “Hey, here we are!” On an album, some things can be more drawn out, and we’re having fun with that idea. We’ve already come a long way in evolving our sound, and we’re going to have some bangers like “22” on there, but we’ll showcase some other sides to Space Fight on our debut LP.
Billy: We have about three or four more songs to finish and its done. I think it’s gonna be great. There’s nobody out there that sounds anything like us. I’m trying to stop myself coming up with more maniacal “22”-esque drum beats though, as its an absolute bastard to play live. There’ll be a ten minute slap bass solo if Spen lets me do it. Slap bass is popular now isn’t it?