With a vigorous live performance and an incredible light show that threatens to blow a fuse with each laser and strobe, Proud Larry’s is in for quite a night when Memphis based band Spaceface takes the stage with China Gate and local favorite Swear Tapes.
The frontman and guitarist for Spaceface, Jake Ingalls, is also a touring member of the Flaming Lips. The band is rounded out by guitarist Eric Martin, bassist Matt Strong, Peter Armstrong playing keyboard, and Victor Quinn Hill on drums with Daniel Quinlan controlling the extravagant light show they play with each night. Ingalls and Strong have been playing together since they were around 16, with their interest in guitar heightened after they saw School of Rock together.
Years later, the band is planning the release of their debut full-length album, Sun Kids. The band started recording back in 2014, and had been working on finishing and mixing the album in between Flaming Lips and Spaceface tour dates since.
A few of the tracks were recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis Tenn., when the group had extra time after recording a live EP. The rest of the album was recorded at The Grove recording studio at Hope Church and mixed with Jarod Evans at Blackwatch Studios in Norman, Okla.
“The goal was to try and mellow out a little bit,” Ingalls said of the record. “I think it was important for us to go in thinking I want to make a record that you can put on headphones and just mellow out to as well as a record that you can just blast with the windows down on a really good day. It’s a springtime record for sure.”
Instead of a typical recording process in which the band would record the tracking for their instruments separately, the band tried to give the album a more live feel.
“To me a lot of times, albums can lack energy when people just go in and record over dubs all the time, and it’s a little too pristine,” Ingalls said. “In my mind, I wanted there to be the energy of all of us playing in there that could easily come across.”
“So to me it made a lot of sense to say, even though my guitar is tracked in a different room and the piano is tracked in another room, I would just run a chord and just go sit in the same room with (Hill) who tracked the drums and Matt who tracked the bass we’d all just be in the same room together playing with headphones on,” Ingalls continued.
Ingalls said it was important that none of the songs reached the point where they couldn’t still be duplicated live.
“I think we’re very much still a live band more than recording artist,” Ingalls said. “I think part of this record is our first foray into being recording artists, having run stuff through tapes and adding a little bit of extra stuff throughout the record. Every song on there is meant to be performed live. Each one serves it own purpose.”
Spaceface has released two singles from the album, one of which, also entitled Sun Kids, features Mikaela Davis playing harp and singing background vocals.
The collaboration started when the bassist in Davis’ band, Shane McCarthy, messaged Ingalls after both bands played a showcase at South by Southwest. Later, when Spaceface was working on the track Ingalls was unsuccessful at making a harp part for it through an iPad app, he remembered McCarthy’s message and reached out to see if Davis would provide harp and harmonies for the song.
“She sent back three separate harp tracks and some three part harmonies, and I remember getting them, coming home and I put them on the speaker and we all listened to them separately and we were going ‘man, she just made the song,” Ingalls said. “It became really evident that it went from this sort of just plodding along jammer to this just beautiful moment.”
The other single, Cowboy Lightning, got its name from a 30 Rock episode entitled “Operation Righteous Cowboy Lightning.”
“That song is one of the very first totally collaborative tunes that we’ve ever done,” Ingalls said. “Peter, wrote this really slow, sad verse after going through a really bad breakup. It just didn’t really sit well with most of us. So I think as a way to kind of cheer him up, Eric and I wrote these secondary lyrics to it, kind of like ‘oh its going to get better you know, one day you’ll feel better’ that was kind of the whole point of the second verse. ‘Like hey we finished your song, and this is the resolve.”
The chorus riff was this riff that (Quinlan) had been kind of working on, and I helped him flesh it out, we’ve never done a chorus that doesn’t have words in it so I wanted to do that,” Ingalls said. “That whole rhythm in the first bit is Matt’s bass line, and me playing drums.
“No one had a song title for it, so I just started saying operation righteous cowboy lightning as a joke and it stuck, and I think now though the way we play it, the way it feels the way it turned out, it makes sense for the song title in my mind now,” Ingalls continued.
As for the intricate light show that pulses with the music each night, Ingalls was inspired by acts like ACDC, Of Montreal and his time in the Flaming Lips.
“When we started the band I knew I wanted to find a way to bring that concert grade experience to the club level,” Ingalls said.
It started with a laser, and gradually kept building, with Christmas lights being added after Ingalls scored a deal for them at Target and LED lights being the newest addition.
To close their last show at Oxford, Spaceface finished with a cover of legendary Oxford band Colour Revolt’s Naked and Red.
“In Memphis, Colour Revolt was kind of like the band that transitioned you from your punk days to you Radiohead era, because they were still heavy and crazy but they had super trippy guitars,” Ingalls said. “I think it just left a lasting impression on us.”
“I think we ended up choosing Naked and Red because we’re all such feel good dudes, and we have enough spacey moments,” Ingalls said. “I think to us, that song kind of embodies this really fantastic energy.”
The cover for the show is $10 and is slated to start at 9 p.m.