From the moment I first heard Dennis Sanders’ captivating industrial-rock project Spirit in the Room, I’ve been hooked on the dark passion of their at times contradictory, always hard to define sound. And you should be too.
Leaden with sad crooning and cutting, scathing lyrics, if you get a chance to catch the LA based quintet don’t sleep on it as they’re a band becoming increasingly renowned for their louche, twilit and confrontational live shows.
Check out Spirit In The Room’s hot off the press new song above, plus a chat with lead man Dennis about Zeppelin and funeral dress protocol after the drop.
Q: I was listening to your Other People’s Songs last night and theres some bold choices on there. You cover Led Zeppelin, which is very brave, and also do Roxy Music, In Every Dream Home A Heartache, which brings me round to your new track, Now That You’re Dead, when you sing the refrain of ‘Home is where the heart aches’; which is obviously a pun on Home is where the Heart is, but I just thought that that was cool in a roundabout way. Did you pick these songs specifically to cover, or had most of them been in your repertoire for a while?
“Thank you very much. I definitely chose those songs specifically… Covers are fun if you don’t over think them. When I cover a song, it’s usually because I feel some sort of connection to it. Roxy Music for example. That’s a song that I had wanted to learn and sing from the moment I heard it. I feel very connected to it somehow. Same with Maimed & Slaughtered by Discharge. That song is very intense and I love playing it live. And I don’t care how mainstream or overrated Led Zeppelin is considered by some. They are one of the greatest rock’n’roll bands of all time. Lightning in a bottle for sure. Fuck what people think.”
Q: All the songs on there are very different – from Discharge to Q Lazarus – which is interesting as your sound is often described as hard to pin down, a real mix of influences from across the board. You’re often compared to NIN, QOTSA and Depeche Mode – you wear your influences on your sleeve, having cited these bands yourself as an influence. You also put a – imho – Mike Patton-esque/lounge spin on Echo and the Bunnymen’s The Killing Moon. I think it’s abundantly clear from all these very different styles how much of a music lover you are… How would you describe your sound?
“Music is everything to me. I don’t even try to imagine what life would be like without it. As for my sound, I would describe it as high and low. Up and down. In and out. Soft and hard. Thick and thin. Hot and cold. Etc and what not.”
Q: I wanted to ask you about your lyric writing. Nick Cave’s (who you’ve also been mentioned in the same breath as in the past) infamous work schedule, for example, wherein he treats writing like a 9 to 5 job if not touring, and goes to work in a nearby office, following a routine five days a week (“like an accountant” in his own words), and just sits there and pounds it out, is an admirable quality, and the reason why he is so very prolific, but don’t you find this goes against the creative spirit – most creative’s I know don’t produce art this way (though that may be because they can’t afford to not have actual 9 to 5 jobs…) From what I’ve seen, your hustle is very determined. Do you tend to write consistently? Do you ever experience serious bouts of writers block? And what do your lyrics tend to be about?
“Being in a band is a lot of hard work and it never ends. For me, it’s a 24/7 job on top of a day job. IT. NEVER. ENDS. haha.. I think it’s good to take a break though. If I’m going through a shit spell, I walk away for a bit. I used to write way more but unlike Nick Cave, I have to have a regular job. If I didn’t, I’m sure i’d be writing and recording more. Writers block is a motherfucker. But it’s a great chance to give yourself a break as well. Take it. Nothing lasts forever. On the topic of my lyrics, they are very personal. It’s shit that I probably wouldn’t say to anyone in a conversation. Sometimes they serve the song and sometimes vice versa. I’m more concerned with the rhythm though. The music is more important to me than the lyrics. The drums and bass are everything. The other stuff is just a bonus.”
Q: Your song titles, including new one Now That You’re Dead, hint at a morbid curiosity, which has always been prevalent in metal, and just music in general since forever, but just curious as to where this stems from for you personally?
“I assume we all have somewhat of a morbid curiosity, no? The title Now That You’re Dead stems from the fact that people often appreciate you more when you’re gone, which is incredibly sad to me. The lyrics to that song are very personal. All of the lyrics for the three EP’s I’m releasing this year are very straightforward and personal. I often cringe when I hear them played back because there’s no rug or blanket for me to hide under. I’ve been fascinated with death since I was kid. I used to keep dead animals under my bed and mask the smell with lemon scented aerosol spray. I was THAT kid haha. I’ve always been a bit of an introvert as well. A little too straightforward for most. I’m learning this more and more as I get older.”
Q: You’re noted for your live shows, which as well as being raw and emotional, are sexy and aesthetically pleasing…very visual; you have a projector screen playing and always look well presented. You’re not up there wearing band t-shirts. Is there a particular vibe you’re striving to convey live?
“I just hate seeing musicians in street clothes. You ever go to a funeral or some shit and see some dude in a t-shirt and jeans? Fuck that guy.”
Q: What’s in store in the immediate future for you guys?
“More music. Playing a show in Hollywood at Bar Sinister on July 20th. Vol. 1 came out in Feb. Vol. 2 is coming shortly. and Vol. 3 will be out in November. Each EP is completely different. Really looking forward to sharing it.”