In the 7th video of The Flaming Lips’ 14-part series chronicling With a Little Help from My Fwends, their new remake of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Spaceface frontman Jake Ingalls and Phantogram explain the magic behind their collaborative Beatles cover:
. . . . “Drugs and Butterflies.”
“I want all of the parents out there to know: Spaceface does not endorse the recreational use of butterflies in music,” Jake clarifies to The Future Heart.
Seriously though. “Wayne initially asked me to do a version of that song, but when I heard Phantogram was working on it as well, I texted Sarah [Barthel] and asked if I could hear what they were putting together thus far,” Jake says. “We kinda just started exchanging files and ideas from there to make a more cohesive sound than other songs from the record. [Spaceface co-writer] Matt Strong actually learned the harp part on guitar and we had a few things worked out for a more mellow take of the cover that we’re thinking about putting out there but we might wait until the Sgt. Pepper’s record has been released and run its course, so as not to be distracting or confusing to anyone. I’m not too worried about it though, I’m pretty happy with the work we did with Phantogram and that Wayne and Steven were so encouraging and supportive.”
Whereas many of the tracks on With a Little Help… were edited together by The Flaming Lips from segments sent to them by “fwends,” Phantogram and Spaceface’s track is a true collaboration. So much so that it’s hard to tell where Phantogram’s contributions end and Spaceface’s begins.
“We kinda wanted it that way,” Jake says. Although Sarah clearly takes the lead, there’s also “vocals and some music by Spaceface,” and “Julianna [Barwick] contributed some vocals too. Drums were definitely Phantogram.”
Spaceface has several other recording projects in the works as well, including a hybrid CD-Record for the latest series by Mike Dixon’s PIAPTK Recordings, a label that specializes in unconventional release formats (as Mike explains in the above video). Dixon, one of the world’s few short-run vinyl record-makers, has spent the last two years perfecting discs that play on both CD players and turntables. Each release in the series has one song on the burned part of the CD and the same song with lathe cut grooves of the flip. The ongoing CD-Record series will launch with pre-orders on November 4th for the first 22 releases – including tracks by Spaceface, Jason Lytle, Circulatory System, Scott Mcmicken (Dr. Dog), and many more. Due out December 2nd, each is limited to just 300 copies.
“I met Mike Dixon through a band we got double booked with one time called Lord Buffalo. They hooked us up with some SXSW shows this past year and that guy was doing on-site Lathe cut records,” Jake explains. “We spoke for a bit, exchanged information and one day he asked me to send him a 3:30 song if I had one. ‘Taking It Off’ was the best I could do, so he put them on the CD and sent me some samples that I shared with Wayne. Hopefully the Lips will be working with him soon as well.”
“Taking It Off” is streaming here, along with the rest of Spaceface’s debut EP, released digitally this past March. The full EP will soon be out on vinyl along with recordings of new songs recorded live at Ardent Studio on the B-side. Leading up to that release, the band is previewing several of the new songs with a series of live-in-the-studio videos. “We recorded a handful of songs at Ardent for an EP, but when we were finished, we still had a few hours left,” Jake explains. “We decided to set up all our gear for a live recording of all these new songs so we could compare them: live vs. what we had recorded. Sometimes the songs lose some “juice” when you record parts separately in the studio. Our friend Jonathon from Master Production Studios came by and set up a bunch of cameras to capture us playing and took a direct mix from the mixing board. When we heard the live takes, we kinda thought, ‘why should we wait to put these on a full length? I like them how raw they are now and we can fix up the separate studio sessions later.’”
“So the plan, so far is… Jonathon will edit together the other three live new songs and I’m gonna press the EP we released in March as side A of a vinyl and Side B is gonna be these three Live from Ardent Studios tracks. And we’re gonna release a few more videos leading up to that.”
Watch the first of the videos, “Carnivore,” below:
“I hope to have all the details [on the vinyl release] kinda ironed out before December.” Jake’s intention “is that these new tracks and the vinyl will hold everyone over while we endeavor to make my schedule [touring the world with The Flaming Lips] work with everyone else in the group and record a proper full length.”
Although Wayne Coyne didn’t end up producing the EP (as originally planned), it’s possible Wayne will produce a future Spaceface release. Spaceface has plenty of other plans as well. “We’re working on putting out a split 7 inch with an Austin band called Isaiah The Mosaic, plotting a spring tour – hopefully out West and at SXSW again, and some kinda summer run into New York City. Got a lot of things cookin around!” Look for all vinyl releases to be on sale at spacefaceband.com and “like” facebook/Spaceface for updates.
In the more immediate future Spaceface is playing Halloween Eve (October 30th that is) with The Black Cadillacs at Memphis’ Hi-Tone, billed as a “Haunted House of Horrors Costume Party.” The following night Spaceface is opening The Electric Würms Halloween show at The Womb (click here for more details and ticket information).
What tricks and treats can fans expect at these two shows?
“Halloween costumes, black lights – the works!” Jake says. “It’s gonna be a blast.”