Electric Six are a lucky band, with a couple of meteoric hits, as well as a retained passion for the music that they play. Known for their strong, loyal and “rabid” fans, the band are currently planning their 9th album, and are also making a (not so) short trip across from Amsterdam to play the Ironworks on the 23rd of November (ticket details below).
We were very lucky to get to talk to Tyler Spencer, aka Dick Valentine (DV), the lead singer, as he wandered down Wall Street, in New York.
IG- You’re only coming up to Scotland for a couple of gigs. What’s bringing you back to Inverness?
DV – We just go where we’re told to go, but, that being said, it’s a magical town filled with salmon.
IG- Filled with Salmon?
DV – Isn’t it…?
IG- You were up once before?
DV – We were up before. I walked around and I liked breathing in the Scottish air. For once in my life, I felt like a real man.
IG – How did the crowd take to you last time?
(There then follows a small discussion, about accents, before the response…)
DV – I don’t remember. I was on anti-depressants that night…I lost time.
IG – Are you off the anti-depressants now?
DV- Yes, moving forward…
IG – You have completed your 9th album now?
DV – Yes, if you include the rarities and b-sides album. It’s actually our 8th studio album.
IG – It seem like quite a relentless process! What keeps you motivated to keep on recording?
DV – Money
IG – Just money?
DV – And good times.
IG – Where do you draw your inspiration from for the actual songs?
DV – Well there’s six guys in the band and we all write songs. We’ll always be able to get 12 songs, so all you have to do is write two songs a year. Anybody can do that?
IG – So how do you pick the songs for the album?
DV – It’s not hard. We kind of have an idea as to what the strongest songs are.
IG – You can’t help, but think of Electric Six and the big hits. How do you feel about them now?
DV – I spent thirty years without a radio hit. I am only ten years with having a radio hit, now, so I can safely say those ten years have brought the best combination of world travel, meeting wonderful people and making a great deal of money.
IG – When you are on stage, are there any songs that you look forward to playing?
DV – So many albums, so many songs. When we were touring for ‘Flashy’ (the band’s 5th studio album), we might not have played one song. But, four years later, we went back and played it because it sounds awesome. Just now, we’re playing ‘I Wish The Song Was Louder’ (from the third album, ‘Switzerland’) and, everytime we play it, it’s “I can’t believe we’re playing it. We should have played it all the time.”
IG – It’s quite a big back catalogue to rediscover.
DV -There are songs that we haven’t touched and songs that we have played once or twice. We try not to play the exact same set list, as we are aware that some people will come and see us for three or four nights.
IG – Are there any songs that you have started playing again for this tour?
DV – We are trying to get as much as we can from the most of the album. I feel we are in a really good position. When you’re in Electric Six, it’s not as if the eyes of the world are on you. There’s no pressure and it’s a hundred percent good time.
IG – Is it just a case of you do what you want and not follow any particular style?
DV- Absolutely! We learnt very early on that it’s tough to please every one and that it’s tough to please all music critics. We just kind of learned to do what we want to do; let the chips fall where they lay and have a good time doing it. I don’t like using the word, vindication, but the fact that we are going to do a ninth album, after people thought we might just have one song. For us, it was about how we can best keep doing it, and we have got that formula!
IG – I was just wondering, how important are the music videos for Electric Six?
DV – We realised that we weren’t The Strokes, so a performance video was out of the window. We needed to have something that made us stand out. Now, we don’t have to make videos, but still do when an idea really stands out and we have the time.
IG – Is there a video that stands out?
DV – I don’t really watch them, but I think it’s interesting that, especially in America, there are people who are just now discovering us. People just stumble across us and it is a good situation to be in.
IG – My three and a half year old likes ‘Formula 409’ with the lizard men.
DV – Yes, that’s my favourite too.
IG – Thank you very much for your time, sir.
DV – Yes, we are going to be very tired by the time we come to Inverness, as we are driving from Amsterdam. We have 48 hours to get to Inverness by ferry and road. Literally, driving across the chunk of land hat you have.
IG – We really hope the crowd buoy you up after that trip, we look forward to seeing you.
And with that it was time to leave Tyler in the middle of New York. The interview left us even more in awe of the band and what they stand for. Roll on the 23rd of November.
Questions by Chris Lemon
Edited by Frank Finlayson and Mark Dubanowski
Many many thanks to Tyler Spencer for his time and to the Ironworks for arranging.
Electric Six supported by Swound! and Toby Michaels play at the Ironworks on the 23 rd of November.
Tickets are for sale via www.ironworksvenue.com
If you are going book a taxi with
on 01463 717777