spinachprince is what a music group sounds like when they keep their focus entirely out of the business of music. Live woodwinds and instrumental solos, layered lightly upon tight beats, synths, and metric loops.
“If we were into it for business, we’d be making very different music,” says Thomas Faulds, one third of the experimental jazz and hip-hop group, together with Charles Gorczynski and Elliot Ross, and occasionally, bassist Chris Merrill. “spinachprince was originally a side project, and releasing the music for free online seems to be a good way to find its audience. Response has been positive and far-reaching.”
This may sound like the fast-tracked career route taken by many starting music hopefuls, but the members of spinachprince are actually a well-seasoned bunch. “We’re all professional musicians, educators, and performers; and have played together in dozens of other projects for years—orchestras, electronic outfits, random groups…” enumerates Thomas. “We’re jazz students turned beat geeks and IDM heads who met in Chicago.”
In fact, most of their time is spent on a multitude of other pursuits: Thomas is a sound designer and percussionist endorsed by Ableton and Native Instruments, Chris plays the bass in locations all over the East Coast, Elliot teaches and plays guitar and keyboards in Chicago, and Charles, who decided to move a cross country to Oakland, California, plays a number of instruments in tango and jazz ensembles.
So why would four busy musicians start yet another project? “spinachprince is really several groups rolled into one, the culmination of our experience and effort,” explains Thomas. “We’re trying to invent a genre of our own and create music that stands apart from any other scene.”
Indeed, with Thomas in charge of the beat programming and mixing desk, Elliot as main composer, and Charles writing and playing woodwind arrangements, the quartet’s “sound has recently evolved through a very focused writing process. “Madlib and Dilla are our main inspirations when it comes to work ethic, unquantized grooves, and textural sound design,” shares Thomas. “But where ideas come from, who’s to say? The environment, experience, friendship…
“A typical track takes about six months to finalize, and any time we have is spent writing music. Production is constant. We have always worked apart—we work solo in our own recording spaces, and all is done via Internet and Ableton Live. Playing live is something we come in and out of as we need or like to.”
With two videos and a self-titled 14-track album under their belt, spinachprince has plans to continue “opening your mind to new aural possibilities in 2012,” they state. “We’re planning vinyl releases for the new year, artistically and sonically a different and worthwhile experience. We’re creating 30 to 40 tracks a year, but plan to release only our favorites.
“spinachprince has evolved to a darker and heavier place musically, we’re looking forward to unleashing this new music on the world. The new album is coming out with Dutch label Eat Concrete in early May.”
spinachprince was originally a side project, and releasing the music for free online seems to be a good way to find its audience.
WORDS BY KATRINA TAN.