Indie “ambassador” Scott Kannberg needs no special introduction. Having served indie/lo-fi with legendary Pavement (‘Slanted And Enchanted’, ‘Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain’) and the more low-profile Preston School Of Industry (‘All This Sounds Gas’), he has been creating under Spiral Stairs’ alias for the last 8 years. ‘Doris & The Daggers’, his 2nd Stairs’ album was released late March, via Domino, and Scott talks with us solving our queries.
So Scott, since ‘adopting’ the Spiral Stairs’ moniker, how has the journey been so far?
The journey’s been great. Back in 89’ when we started Pavement I never would’ve imagined I’d still be doing this. I’m really proud of all the work we’ve, and I’ve done over the years. it’s been amazing to travel all over the world playing songs to such a diverse group of music fans and to see the world! Unfortunately never to Greece. So sorry about that.
Which would you say are the main differences between Pavement, Preston School Of Industry & Spiral Stairs? Do you find it easier (or more difficult) doing things on your own as Spiral Stairs?
Pavement was my 20’s. Preston Scholl Of Industry my 30’s. and Spiral Stairs my 40’s and now my 50’s. Pavement was punk. PSOI was R.E.M.. Spiral is my collection.
I do find it easier now with Spiral. I’m more confident and sure. In Pavement I was very unconfident. Now I’m very confident, although it’s still nerve wracking.
Your 2nd album ‘Doris & The Daggers’ was out March 24! What should we expect from you this time? Why did it take so long?
‘Doris & The Daggers’ is great. Great songs and my most emotional and true record.
Would you like to share with us what happened between 2009 and 2017? In what way do you think the events that occurred to you helped you create ‘Doris & The Daggers’?
I had been living in Australia and had a kid. Then moved to Los Angeles and lived. I just didn’t have time for music really. And then my drummer died suddenly, so we moved it back so more. I guess the time just flew by.
Yes, all the events in those years were definitely a factor in the influences for the record. All my experiences always make the basis of what I write.
In the first fantastic song (and video) Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle features. How did this collaboration emerge? Apart from Lytle the album is featuring some notable names of indie-alternative rock. While writing the songs, did you have all these artists in mind?
I know Jason from way back. I thought it would be kind of funny if he sang the song in the vid because I always thought Jason loved Bowie and the song is totally Bowie.
Most of the players involved are really just friends. Justin from Broken Social Scene stepped in when Darius died. He was his friend also. Kevin drew from BSS I’ve known for years and I played on his solo record and the last BSS record. And Matt b I envisioned singing on ‘Exiled Tonight’ when I wrote it.
As far as I know you are childhood friend with Stephen Malkmus the other founding member of indie/lo-fi legends Pavement. Is there a possibility of collaborating again, or even reforming Pavement in the near future?
Yes. I hope Pavement can do something again. Although I’m not sure we’ll do another record but definitely tour in the future. It would be fun to do some new songs though. Stephen Malkmus and I got together last Oct for my birthday and had a great time.
Regarding the lyrics, are they mostly personal, fictional or focusing on society issues?
Yes, the lyrics this time as with my last record the real feel are very personal and honest. I would say my most honest. I just wanted it to be different than my past stuff. Plus I’m getting older and my influences have changed.
You were among the artists that lived and created during the 90s indie craze. Now, in 2017 do you think that indie still exists and in what form? With all these comebacks, do you think that indie will be huge like back in the golden 90’s era? Have you missed these days at all?
Yeah, I think the 90’s is probably coming back soon. Everything I hear today in the indie world kind of sounds 80’s so it’s only a matter of time. But yes, the 90’s were a great time for music. And whatever comes out of that for the future will hopefully be cool.
Are you planning any extensive tour for promoting your latest album? Any chance playing Europe, or even Greece?
Europe tour Sept/Oct. Sorry no Greece this time. Hopefully a festival at some point.
Let’s finish this in an unorthodox way. Which albums, movies & books have mostly influenced the Spiral Stairs’ sound and in what way?
Influences for the new record? Llyod Cole, Paul Kelly, Bob Dylan (gospel period), Danny Kirwin, Bob Welch, Dirty 3, Beasts Of Bourbon, Blank Realm, Kids Bop 8.
Photo credits: Steven Simko (1st one), Peter Ellenby (2nd one)