Sprïng To Life: Vancouver Psychedelic Rock Band Sheds Light
By Ross Currie
Spring is the season for regrowth and rejuvenation. In the case of East Vancouver psychedelic rock band Sprïng, the same can be said. Formed out of the ashes of SSRIs: a tour-hardened progressive noise-pop band with a full-length record Effeminate Godzilla Sized Windchimes, three EP’s and 150 live shows under their belt. Kevin Romaine (drums/percussion) and Ridley Bishop (bass/saxophones) joined SSRIs members Joseph Hirobayashi (guitars/keyboards) and Elliot Langford (guitars/electric sitar/piano) in 2012 to form what is now Sprïng; playing a mash-up of experimental psyche-folk and jazz-rock on their debut album Celebrations.
“We’ve all played so many different styles of music, it’s really fun to kind of surf between different aesthetics and genres and take it as a challenge to make it all fit together; without sounding like your first band from high school,” says Romaine. The band and the record certainly don’t fit this description. After a year and half of refining and tinkering in the band’s home (and studio space) the album was self-released and produced; as well as recorded, engineered and mixed by Hirobayashi. “We’re kind of going the DIY route. We self-produced and recorded the whole thing at our home studio; we found it fitting to do a self-release as well,” says Romaine. This is certainly no small feat considering the time and effort that goes into composing original music; recording it and ultimately performing it live.
The troupe of noted multi-instrumentalists all have professional training in jazz; something that can be heard in the complex structures and arrangements found on their record. “The work ethic involved in playing jazz, or in practicing jazz has instilled itself in all of us pretty dramatically,” says Hirobayashi. “Even though we’re playing ‘so-called’ pop music we still bring a level of technical proficiency to it. A real focused, deliberate thought process goes into writing everything.” This transfers into the live show, which the members of the band are certainly familiar with.
The band recently came off a two and half-week tour of the West Coast of America, and recently kicked off a three-week tour of Western Canada with an album release show on March 7, 2014 in Vancouver, with gigs to follow in Nanaimo, Victoria, Regina, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Calgary. “We’ve all been playing in a lot of bands in a lot of different styles for many years, and I think we all feel like our live show is definitely at the peak of what we’ve all done. It’s definitely a polished live set,” says Romaine.
Promotion through touring is an essential aspect of the Sprïng oeuvre, which is generally the mark of strong musicianship and dedication to the sound and vision for the band. “We’ve all structured our lives around touring and recording, as much as possible. So for the foreseeable future we’re going to keep writing and recording, and exploring how deep we can get into making a killer record and touring it a bunch,” says Langford. This is a good sign for fans of band’s previous ventures: SSRIs, Aunt’s & Uncles, Bleating Hearts and Thee Ahs. With the band continuing to share their music with new audiences throughout Western Canada, it’ll be interesting to see how the fan base will evolve through their tour-heavy, do-it-yourself approach to music-making and promotion.
Sprïng will be a busy band in 2014; and are sure to be a band to look out for in the coming years. With hard-work and a dedication to progressing as musicians and as a group, the members of Sprïng appear to have a pretty clear vision of what they want to achieve: to get their music into the ears of as many people who are willing and appreciative enough to hear it.