Spring Offensive Interview


After the success of their single Not Drowning But Waving (inspired by a Stevie Smith poem) Spring Offensive have said goodbye to conventional sources of employment and committed themselves to their music. I talked with drummer, Pelham Groom, who answered a few questions as he sat in a smoky backstage in Aarlau, Switzerland.

You have just released a new set of tour dates. Are there any places you are especially looking forward to going/ playing?

Personally I’m looking forward to Glasgow. The only other time we’ve been to Scotland was for T in the Park which, despite being glorious, was so wet, grey and muddy that I’m not sure it’s an accurate representation of touring in Scotland. Wait a minute…

You are being taken abroad on the tour and you’ve spent quite a lot of time overseas in the last year. How does playing around Europe compare to performing in the UK?

I’m wary of dissing the UK. It’s our home and we love it, but there are serious structural and cultural differences that make touring on the mainland pretty amazing. To go in to detail on the differences (money, food, accommodation etc) might end up sounding a bit petty, but I think that fundamentally, bands on the continent are treated with respect that is proportional to their success/experience/level/what-have-you. In the UK, regardless of how long you’ve been at the game or how many records you’ve put out, if you’re unsigned or self funded, you’re essentially treated like kids who’ve just been given their first guitar for Christmas. Once you get some money and PR behind you, you’re treated like royalty, regardless of age, experience or quality. On the continent, it’s a little more granular – you’re treated according to your work rather than your backing. There are a lot more bands relative to the population in the UK, so it’s understandable, but it’s not an ideal way of sorting the wheat from the chaff. We could all do it better I guess.

You seem to have a particular love of playing in Germany, or perhaps the Germans have a particular love of Spring Offensive. Is this a coincidence or is there something deeper?

Someone that we’ve worked with previously had lived in Germany, and had some understanding of the music scene there. They were able to hook us up with some shows, and they went down so well that we knew we had to get back out there. We had no expectations when we first played there, and the response just blew us away. Whether our music has a particular appeal to German music fans? You’d have to ask them.

Do you have any on-the-road routines? Or any things you can’t go without.

We try and be as hassle free as possible. Personally I always make sure I have plenty of power adaptors, a 4-way power block, vitamin supplements and new socks. Not clean socks, new socks. They’re comforting.

If I were to turn on your iPod now what would be playing?

I’m listening to Arc by Everything Everything and the new Haim single Falling.

You played with the brilliant Stornoway in their show in Oxford last week and you have Wild swim supporting you in The Lexington later this month. Both are terrific Oxford bands. How connected do you feel to the Oxford music scene?

We still feel really connected. Although we’re now individually living in London, our heart and soul is in Oxford. We spent years there honing our sound and exploring what we wanted to do. It shaped us and we would be utterly different had we lived anywhere else.

At which point did you all decide to give up your jobs and pursue this full time? Was there a 'moment'?

There was a bit of a moment. We were outside a venue in Heidelberg, reflecting on how much we enjoyed this touring lark, and lamenting that we couldn’t do anything longer because we had to work day jobs to pay the rent. It hit us basically at the same time. Lease ends on our house ends in September; no house = no rent, no rent = no day jobs, no day jobs = really long tour of Europe. We like to quietly ignore that fact that we did not plan for what would happen afterwards!

What is your favorite album of the past 6 months?

Personally it would be Arc by Everything Everything, but if the band were to vote, I think it would be {Awayland} by Villagers.

Not Drowning But Waving was your last single, and presented a darker feel than anything you’d done before. Is this a sign of things to come?

I think it’s a side of our music that has always been there, but we’ve never addressed it on a single before (unless you count The First of Many Dreams About Monsters – our 14 minute indie-prog epic we put out for free in 2010. We don’t!). But a sign of things to come? We’ll see.

What is the plan for the next release? Can we harbor hope of an EP or even an album in the near future?

That would be telling! But seriously folks, there’ll be some new music very soon. We’re very much working on an album, but you only get one chance to make a debut album, and we’re damned if we’re going to rush it. It’ll be ready when it’s ready.

Spring Offensive are playing in the Lexington, London, on the 19th March. Get tickets here: https://kililive.ticketabc.com/events/spring-offensive-2/


Watch 'Speak' by Spring Offensive, below.