Why did I use seven exclamation marks in my greeting as opposed to the typical one? Because today we’ve got a new interview with exclamation mark enthusiast Angelo Spencer!!! Angelo Spencer is a modern day one-man-band, playing guitar and drums at the same time. He is a very fun musician to see live, but if you can’t make it to his shows you can check out his music here.
For those who are not familiar, can you tell us about your music?
So first of all I play as a one man band (bass drum, hi-hat, guitar and sing all at the same time), but usually people with that set up tend to play garage rock n’ roll, for some reason I don’t really fit in there, especially these days cos’ I’ve been adding a lot of African influence in there, especially from Mali, Nigeria, Touareg music…I’m trying to get rid of my indie rock influence! So I’m halfway in between right now, give me a few years and I’ll be a trance one man band!
When I saw you in New Paltz I remember you were talking about another one-man-band musician that you admired. I remember him sounding interesting, but I forgot his name. Can you remind me and tell us all some more?
Hasil Adkins! I’ve got a song about him, probably the first rock n’ roll one man band!
Maybe I was also mentioning Abner Jay, which was a black musician who was in minstrel shows and later started playing solo as a one man band, he had his own style, nobody plays like him, he has this powerful voice and some really intense songs…
He’s unbelievable!!! A compilation LP came out a few month ago on Mississippi records. so good!
What’s on the horizon for you artistically?
How do you go about writing your songs? What’s the first step and what’s the last?
Most of the time I have the music and then I try to put some words on it, but for the past couple years no words came out so my new album is just gonna be instrumental! I try to keep everything really simple, usually I try to use just one or two chords.
You’ll be playing the “What The Heck” festival towards the end of July. Lots of cool people will be playing there. How did you get involved with that? What are you most looking forward to?
Well, what the heck fest is basically a get together of friends organized by Phil from Mount Eerie and Bret from D+ so we all know each other, it’s the most laid back festival ever.
I’m excited to see all of them but especially Earth and Wolves in the throne room, that’s gonna be their first time at What the heck and they’re gonna bring a new crowd which is gonna be pretty interesting!
You’re living in Olympia now, but you are originally from France. Do you miss life in France? Is that where you grew up?
I was born in France and I grew up in the Alps near Geneva. I moved to Seattle 4 years ago, stayed there for a year and then moved to Olympia.
I miss some of the food from France and Italy! for sure, but I go back to France almost once a year so I can get what I missed for a while and then I’ll be good until the next time!
How did the “Antsy Pants” project develop? Can you share a story from that experience?
Well, Leo who’s in the band Coming Soon used to live in the same town as me, a small town called Annecy. He recorded an album when he was 12 there, I gave a copy to Kimya [Dawson] on my first trip to the U.S and she loved it so much that she decided to record an album with him.
The next time she came to Annecy, Antsy Pants was recorded. that was a really fast and fun project!
As a kid what did you do for fun? What’s your favorite children’s book?
When I was younger I use to live in small village up in the mountains, I would do a lot of ski in winter and the rest of the time a lot of bike! biking in the small trails was the best thing in the world for me, especially if there was so mud!!! Me and my friends would come back home covered with mud! Our parents would sprayed us with hoses outside to clean us up!
I don’t really remember books that I liked when I was a kid but my life changed when I discovered Stephen King when I was 11 or 12!!!
If you were forced to travel to a different time and live there for a change, where would you go and why?
I’ve always wanted to go back in the early sixties around San Francisco…
But I just read a book about Alexandra David-Neel, she was a French Orientalist at the begining of the 20th century, she went all over the place, what she wrote about it is really powerful! That’s where I would want to go Tibet, Sikkim, Japan, Marocco at the beginning of the 20th century! no Tourist!
Off the top of your head, what are your top four animals? (you may include extinct ones too)
Bouquetins, Bears, goats, dogs.
Lastly, a two-part question we ask everyone, a) Do you believe in ghosts, b) Do you believe in true love?
I believe in ghosts, I had a couple experiences when I was a kid, but maybe I was just a kid…
We probably all have our own definition of true love… but yes I believe in true love definitely!