I can’t resist a good pop song or a song with likable lyrics before they’re even set to music. Spontaneo has the best of both worlds – lyrics that you can not only listen to, nicely nestled in pleasing pop songs, but lyrics that can stand sturdily alone. Spontaneo is colorful and clever, catchy yet contemplative. From the first listen they had me nodding my head and reciting their reputable, relatable rhymes. I was not only singing along to their songs, but replaying them because I actually cared about the content of the song and not just the catchy chorus.
Hailing from Pennsylvania, Eric Leach- Drums, Diego Byrnes- guitar/vocals, Dave Daugherty-guitar/vocals and Mike Patroski – bass, began writing songs when they should have been studying for exams. This foursome has graduated to another level of life, and already found fruition from both fans and critics. Alternative Press Magazine names Spontaneo one of their “Unsigned Bands of the Month,” and they recently signed with Modern Short Stories. Besides writing and producing their music video for “Bad Weather,” the boys also just finished tracking for their first full-length offering, “For Those Who Can Whistle.” Diego managed to make some time to talk to me in the midst of their cd release show!
Sara Fincham: When you started the band was it one of you who had the idea and knew another musician and they knew someone who played drums who knew a singer…how did it all come together? Or had you known each other for a while before starting the band?
Diego Byrnes: Mike, Eric, and Dave all knew each other from high school in Plum, PA. Then they eventually all went to the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). I’m from a town called Ebensburg in PA, but when I went to IUP, I lived in the dorms with Dave. Dave and I have always been friends since then. Eric lived with Dave the next year, so I met him then. The year after that, Dave and Eric asked me if I wanted to sing and play guitar in a band with them. They said they had a bass player lined up that they knew from high school, and had just transferred to IUP. That’s when I met Mike, and we were finally all together. I’ve grown incredibly close with these three guys in the passed 2 and a half years. We’ve never had a line up change, and we really don’t plan on it. From the get go, this band has just always been about the four of us. None of it would work without one of us.
SF: How is the music video coming—I saw that you are also writing and pre-producing it, is that correct? It seems you have a hand in everything—is it important to you to make those decisions and be that involved with elements outside of writing and making the music?
DB: Yes! It’s finished, and we’re premiering it tonight at Town Tavern (a bar in the South Side in Pittsburgh), and it will be on our brand new MySpace page tomorrow afternoon! I co-wrote the music video with a friend of mine, Jordan Tomb. The guys at Quanti Studios did an incredible job filming it with us. But I’ve been very happy that I’ve been allowed to be artistically involved. I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts, with a focus in painting. So if we need art, and I don’t do it myself, working with a designer or a photographer is just a blast, because I usually know what I want and can clearly explain it. I just love graphic design fun photography, and being able to have my hand in the direction we’ve gone has been one of the more fun aspects of all of this.
SF: I must say I like that your musical references go back farther than ten years! Was it hard to try to incorporate everything you liked about music from the past and at the same time make it presently relevant, or was that an easy transition?
DB: The awesome thing about playing with these guys is that when we started we were really into a lot of different music. For the most part now, we like a lot of the same stuff,that’s what happens when you hang out with each other as much as we do@ We all still have our old favorites though, and those band (like The Beatles, Weezer, Radiohead, Third Eye Blind and The Foo Fighters) are just inside us, so we can’t help it. We know it comes out in our music. It’s not intentional I don’t think. We are trying to write our own stuff, but we love it when we come up with something and one of us says, “Dude, that’s so Weezer.” I think that’s something we get excited about, and we have no problem giving credit where credit is do!
SF: Did you purposely pick pop music to be the bubble wrap around your songs? It is amazing that if you take the time to listen to lyrics some upbeat pop songs are incredibly serious, sad, and neatly packaged within a pop song, was that your intent — to get people to listen via the pop song, and then to get people to listen to what the song is about?
DB: You really hit it on the head. As I mentioned before, I was a fine arts major. One of the most valuable things I learned in art school was from a professor who told me that shock art never lasts. He told us that being subtle is so much more effective, and that you really have to sneak up on people.
Our old songs weren’t really about anything, but eventually I realized that I wanted them to be about something. Being in a pop band gave us a great opportunity to do it in a clever way, so we’re just trying to rise to that challenge. It’s been done before though. If you listen to “Memphis Tennessee” by Chuck Berry, it’s a classic poppy rock and roll song all about how he’s trying to get in touch with his daughter that is ex-wife won’t let
him talk to.
More recently than that, “Pinkerton” by Weezer (Dave’s and my favorite album ever) is just gut-wrenchingly serious. Rivers spilled his guts out on that album, and it’s poppy as hell. Anyways, I just think that when we write songs like this, it gives it more depth and stays with people longer. Writing a catchy song is fun and a lot of people can do it, but catchy only lasts so long. I’ve tried to write lyrics that will make people want to listen to it after the catchiness loses its charm.
SF: You have an upcoming cd release party….how exciting is that accomplishment and will you be touring to promote it?
Diego: Our CD release show with Hawthorne Heights and Bayside was last night, and it was absolutely incredible. We had the time of our lives on stage and meetingpeople after. It was our first sold out show, 650 people. We can not wait to play more in the future and we have some dates we’re working on, we’re trying to get started in September!