“It’s surreal but also nice to get out there and show what we have been working on”
Spielbergs have just released their second full-length ‘Vestli’ via Big Scary Monsters.
An emotional, rousing and spine-tingling collection of pop-punk and indie-pop belters, it shows off the band’s incredible knack for heartfelt songwriting. It’s through brotherhood, respect and the love of what they do that such an album has been possible, and it sets them up for an exciting rest of the year and beyond.
To find out more about how it was crafted, we sat down with Guitarist Mads Baklien and Drummer Christian Løvhaug…
How does it feel to be at a point where you have a new album out in the world?
Christian: “It feels incredible because there was a time when it felt this band could have been at its end because of the pandemic we have all just gone through. It’s surreal but also nice to get it out there and show what we have been working on. Being able to play shows again is special as well. We’ve been locked up in our rehearsal spaces for over three years, so it’s a relief to be able to get back out there and do what we do best.”
Mads: “I’ve been quite anxious about the release in a lot of ways. But being able to have it out and concentrate on playing the songs for a while is incredibly exciting. There’s a big difference between being in a studio and making an album and then going out and playing that album live. But I can’t wait to see how far it can take us in the future.”
Where would you say the first pieces of the record started to come together?
Mads: “Writing song is something that we always do. We had planned initially when the pandemic hit, but once they were gone, the album became the whole focus. The weekend everything shut down, we were already in the studio making the first few songs that appeared on the album. In a lot of ways, the pandemic gave us more peace and quiet as a means to concentrate on them more. Of course, it took a lot longer than we expected, but I feel like we did the best we could with the time and circumstances we were allowed.”
Christian: “It also gave us a lot of time to reflect. In everything shutting down, and because 2019 was so busy, I was feeling stressed until we realised just how much things were slowing down. Having to stay inside and not do a lot in life, in general, gave me time to look over everything we were doing and no longer have any external pressure to have a whole album finished and ready to go.”
Did that slowing down of things reflect in how the songs ended up? Considering you had a load of ideas good to go that were written when you moving at 100mph, did the change in speed change how you viewed what you were working on?
Mads: “It’s hard to consider that, really. Our motto within the band is, ‘It is what it is’ which bleeds into everything. I don’t feel like that ethos was ever affected by the circumstances that we found ourselves in. This band started by having some ideas, pounding them out, and then making them. Back on the first album, there was very little pressure. Maybe if things had been going at the same speed, there would have been a lot more pressure this time, but there wasn’t because of everything we had going on. That’s why it felt pretty much the same, which we probably wouldn’t have expected otherwise.”
Christian: “It was a very back-to-basics approach in the end. Writing the songs, pounding them out and recording them, just like we did at the start.”
What were the subjects and feelings that you found that you were going back to a lot with these new songs as well then?
Mads: “We talked about it a lot as we went into the first writing stages. We thought how we could try something completely different, but we wanted the approach to be the same as we started, but just better. Write really good songs that were better than the last time we tried it. No matter the ideology or style, just make sure that the songs are good. We are an adventurous band really. We have written a lot of different types of songs throughout our career, but this time around, when we struck up our deal with Big Scary Monsters, they preferred the more rocky songs that we had.”
Christian: “The bangers. I feel that makes things feel a bit more concrete.”
What do you feel as though having the band be something to concentrate on at the more difficult times represents for you?
Cristian: “At one point, I found it very difficult to motivate myself to even go to rehearsal. But knowing that we had the desire to make something new and to make something better did pull me away from just sitting around and binging Netflix. That was always in the back of my head. Then when we would get to meet up again on Friday nights and have a couple of drinks, when we were able just to be some guys sharing our experiences of how fucked up everything was, it served as mild therapy sessions. That support network was only possible because of the band.”
Having that there, not just as a group of men but also as fans of alternative music, is so important. It’s so necessary to have a space where you can share those things without judgment or worry, and you need to hold on them…
Mads: “I agree. I also think that, for myself, I am an emotional volcano. I have never felt like I need to bottle up my emotions for anything. But that also means that a small group of people in my life get to experience those fireworks of emotion. That’s my girlfriend and my band. We have had that space since the very start. We clash and argue, but we are also best friends. The therapeutic part of our relationship for me, though, really does come the playing of our songs, and that’s a non-verbal way of expressing that to each other. We all exist on that same plane.”
So how has it been playing again? How do you sum it up?
Christian: “Really amazing. Our first gig since 2019 was back in March. Usually, when we haven’t played a show in a long time, I will be super nervous. I will almost shake. When we played that show, which was in Oslo, it felt so natural. I couldn’t have ever felt calmer than I did that night. All I knew was that I had missed this, so much. So getting to share some new songs, but also relearn the old songs and get back to where we were previously, feels special. But the energy and the connection we have on stage, and then give that energy to the audience, is something only we know how to do. I feel like we communicate better through our instruments than we do normally sometimes.”
Mads: “I remember in 2019 when we came back from tour in the UK and played some shows in Oslo, and for the first time, we felt powerful and strong. I thought that maybe it might have disappeared after the pandemic. But playing again now, I feel like we had that powerful feeling again from the very first note. I’m surprised we still have that connection, and like we never stopped being on tour.”
And what do you feel the proudest of within this whole process?
Christian: “I haven’t considered the pride side of this. But I am proud of the moments on the album that show that we aren’t just a band who write two and a half minute pop-punk songs. We can give different aspects and little moments of change every once in a while.”