It feels so amazing when you first become aware of another worthwhile independent music effort directly from the author. This was exactly the case of Christian Bieber, apparently a fan of IDIOTEQ, and a passionate young singer-songwriter releasing music under the name SPAULDING. Chris has debuted his first infections solo tracks and packed them into 2 EP releases, available on tape via Michigan’s Deadplant Records and Warped Your Records from Arizona. He sat down with us to break it down, tell about his experience and understanding of music, the writing process of a solo musician, the ever-living cassette format, and more!
Hey Christian! It’s fun to have you here. You know, with that surname, you are destined to be a superstar, so please don’t forget who did the very first interview with SPAULDING, haha. How are you? How’s November treating you so far?
Hi Karol, thank you so much for doing this interview with me. For November, the weather isn’t as cold as it should be, so that’s nice. Plus: The holiday season is approaching, so I’m in a good mood.
Alright, so let’s start off with our ‘get to know’ Q&A session with a brief background story. What were your initial musical inspirations and how have they evolved into this project?
When I was young, I wasn’t really interested in music. I listened to whatever was on the radio or on MTV. That changed with the first time I heard the song “The Rock Show” by BLINK-182 and saw the accompanying music video in 2001. I remember watching MTV every day after that, hoping the station would air the video again. Because of that song and the album “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket”, I started listening to music actively. I was hooked on pop-punk and later on punk in general.
After watching Tom DeLonge play his guitar in the BLINK-182 music videos, I wanted to start playing the guitar as well. I received guitar lessons and learned the basic chords. I then played cover songs for a long time, before I started writing my own songs, which lead to this project.
Do you think there’s something therapeutic about writing and recording all alone? What are your thoughts on SPAULDING being a one-man project? Do you see the band evolving into more of a collaborative effort, including other members?
A lot of great songs have been written with the sole purpose of blowing off steam, using music as an outlet for anger, frustration and things like that. In that case, I think music can be therapeutic. However, that was never my reason to write a song. The songs I’ve written and released so far are all about certain memories that I hold dearly and try to hold on to. So, I don’t think of those songs as therapy sessions. I think of them more as time machines that help me get back to and remember certain situations.
As for the second part of your question: Right now, Spaulding is a one-man-project out of necessity. Most of my friends don’t play an instrument. So, I don’t have much of a choice other than write and record the songs myself. As for the future, we’ll see. I’d love to work with other people, but as of right now, nothing is in the works.
Which instruments do you play? What is your preferred instrument?
As mentioned above, Spaulding is a one-man-project. So, I try my hands at different instruments when I’m recording, depending on what the songs need. For the EP “Nostalgic Bullshit” I just used an acoustic guitar. I recorded the songs in one take without any overdubs. For that, using an acoustic guitar made sense. For the EP “Don’t Get Nostalgic On Me” I played electric guitar, bass, piano as well synthesizer. I also programmed the drum loops.
My preferred instrument is the acoustic guitar. When I’m playing music, whether it’s covering songs by other artists or working on my own songs, I’m usually playing my acoustic guitar.
Were there any frustrating elements of producing your jams? Did a lot of ideas get trashed?
I love the writing process, trying out different lyrics or chord progressions, but recording can be very frustrating. It takes a long time until everything sounds exactly like it supposes to sound. For example, the recording process for the EP “Don’t Get Nostalgic On Me” took about ten months, from recording the first takes to finishing the mixing and mastering process.
It’s funny, because every time I’m recording something and it doesn’t go as planned, I get really frustrated and tell myself it’s the last time I’m recording anything. But once I hear the finished project, those feelings are gone and I’d love to kick start the next project.
You’ve been putting out your records via Warped Your Records and Deadplant Records. Can you drop us a bit more details on them? Also, would you recommend some other DIY labels to check out while we’re at it?
During the writing process of the five songs, that are included on “Don’t Get Nostalgic On Me” and Nostalgic Bullshit”, I realized all the songs have a certain connection. All songs are about certain memories, hence the EP titles. Once I realized that, I wanted to release all of them together and in a physical format.
Since I got my driver’s license, I have been driving my grandfather’s car, a grey Opel Kadett E, built in 1992. The car has an old audio system called Opel SC 202 with an integrated tape deck and radio. One of the reasons to pursue a tape release was that I could listen to the songs while driving in my grandfather’s car.
I was searching online for fitting tape labels for a long time. I think you can do a lot with this medium in terms of the design and the aesthetic, so early on, I knew I wanted to release the two EPs on different labels. I’m really glad I found both labels and they were willing to work with me. Please, if you’re reading this, check out both labels. They are run by really great people and deserve every sold tape.
Through searching online, I realized that there are a lot of tape labels, focused on all sorts of genres, and the number increases steadily. I think one of the reason for that is, that tapes are cheap and you can do everything yourself, starting by designing the tape and the j-card to duplicating the tapes. The website www.unitedcassettes.com has a great map function on their website allowing you to find a lot of great DIY labels from all over the world. Through that website, I also found Warped Your Records and Deadplant Records.
Ok buddy, so wrapping it up, can you pinpoint any specific records released earlier this year that are really important to you?
As mentioned earlier, I started out by listening to pop-punk and punk music. But through the years, my musical taste changed and spread across different genres. I think that change is reflected in the list below. Releases that came out this year and that I really liked are:
BLINK-182 – California, BRIAN FALLON – Painkillers, JOYCE MANOR – Cody, BON IVER – 22, A Million, FRANK OCEAN – Blonde.
Lastly, are there any new projects from SPAULDING to come? What are you currently working on?
Right now, my focus is on advertising the two tape releases I did this year. After that, I don’t have a concrete plan. I’m thinking about recording two new songs…we’ll see.
Great! Thanks so much for your time Christian. The last words are yours!
Thanks again for doing this interview with me. It’s been really an honor. To the readers: thank you for reading this interview. It means a lot to me. Please check out Warped Your Records and Deadplant Records.
— RECOMMENDED BY IDIOTEQ —