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Like your shred-tactic rock n’ roll with a side heaping of some spacey ambience? Psychedelic guitar freakouts mixed with quiet jungle grooves? Sludgy production wrapped around crystalline hooks?
If so, you’ll dig Spacin’. Formerly a member of the Philadelphia lo-fi wizards Birds of Maya, guitarist Jason Killinger ventured out on a limb and put together this stellar project. The group features Sean Hamilton on bass, Paul Sukeena on lead guitar, and Killinger’s wife Eva on drums. The group inhabits garage/psych sonic territories yet never sounds messy or haphazard. With their sophomore release “Total Freedom,” variety takes the cake; there’s a brazen instrumental (“Kensington Real”) based on Killinger’s neighborhood, a rock anthem (“Human Condition”), lo-fi beauty (“Titchy”), and even tribal funk (“Stopping Man”).
BTR sat down with Kissinger to talk about the making of the record and songwriting with Spacin’.
BTRtoday (BTR): Tell me a little bit about your musical background? When did you first start making music?
Jason Killinger (JK): I spent a lot of time at these kind of backwoods auctions as a kid, and I would convince my mom or grandparents to buy me cheap instruments (stuff like guitars, drums, and organs). I didn’t know how to play anything and no one really taught me how to play music–except for a few tips from a police officer who attempted to teach me how to play “Moby Dick” by Led Zeppelin on drums. When I was about nine or 10 years old, my older brother got me and my friends into skateboarding and punk so the first thing I learned to play on guitar was “California Uber Alles” by the Dead Kennedys. Pretty soon after that I started writing my own songs, and I’ve never stopped.
BTR: How did you guys all come together to form Spacin’?
JK: Spacin’ was initially just me in my basement recording songs on my 4-track, usually in the middle of the night. I had a big collection of songs that didn’t fit with my other band Birds of Maya. I uploaded two songs to www.spacin.bandcamp.com on January 1st, 2011 and attempted to play a solo show which was pretty raw and confusing for those in attendance. ha ha. By Spring of 2011, we had Paul Sukeena on guitar, Eva Killinger on drums and Sean Hamilton on bass. We started playing shows and recorded our first album ‘Deep Thuds’ off and on over the next year in the basement. Richie Records put it out in 2012. We did a little tour of Spain, Portugal and France in 2013. Played in the desert in 2014. We are constantly evolving, growing, and shrinking in all directions.
BTR: Loooove the new album “Total Freedom.” Where does the name come from? There seems to be a theme present relating to that title…?
JK: “Total Freedom” (the album) is about a human person waking up to her present realities, peeling off layers of mental conditioning, experiencing a backlash from society as she attempts to live outside of accepted cultural norms and eventually finding the freedom of her natural being after experiencing the omnipresent beauty that follows the collapse of industrialized society. Something like that.
BTR: Can you tell me a bit about your creative headspace while making the album? What was the recording and writing process like for you guys? Is there a main songwriter, or is it pretty collaborative?
JK: I never sit down to write songs, they crawl into my brain and I capture them on my telephone or voice machine. When one of these song ideas lives in my head for long enough, I bring it to the band and we play it. My songs are primordial in nature so I rely heavily on the talent of my bandmates and what they bring to them. We record nearly every practice and show. Some of those recordings end up being used on albums and sometimes we are a little more intentional in our recording set up. Every so often I go through our collection of recordings and start putting them together into an album.
BTR: Do you feel like there is a stark evolution between this album and some of your older work, like “Deep Thuds”?
JK: “Total Freedom” is definitely a continuation of “Deep Thuds.” They are both collaged together with more emphasis on vibe than fidelity. They are indicative of our approach to playing music. Feeling trumps both convention and fashion.
BTR: What does Spacin’ have on the horizon?
JK: We are about to tour the Southern states of the United States of America with Kurt Vile and the Violators. After that, we will continue to play Philadelphia and New York and continue making records. This year we also hope to head north and eventually west, maybe we will end up in Portugal again. As the weather warms, we hope to be playing outside as much as possible on streets and in grassy lots. We have a lot of those in Philadelphia.
To hear more from Spacin’, check out their official bandcamp or listen to BTRtoday’s very own In the Den.