The Spectors released Borderline on 26th January, the first single off their second album OOH AAH AAH. Inspiring the album's title with its ooh'ing and aah'ing, the London-set song tells a tale of sushi and love gone wrong. Borderline will feature a video by Frederic Vanhalst and Didier Lenglaert. It was recorded at Hightime Studio (Belgium) by Thomas Valkiers and mixed at Jaya Jaya Music in Melbourne by Australian Michael Badger of The Demon Parade, best known for his work with King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard.
The album itself is set to release on March 30th, 2018. It will be available in various formats, including digital, limited white vinyl and cd. It features ten songs plus one bonus track, Clyde & Bonnie, a 2017 Record Store Day 7" release.
Founded in 2012 by Marieke Hutsebaut, The Spectors' demos soon caught the ear of Chris Urbanowicz, formerly of Editors. Chris produced the Belgians' self-titled debut EP (2014) and full album Light Stays Close (2015). The band went on to perform at various indie festivals, including Dour, Pukkelpop and Leffingeleuren, and were hand-picked by Kevin Shields to support My Bloody Valentine in the hallowed grounds of the capital's Ancienne Belgique.
After a particularly busy Summer, with the other band members eager to strike out on their own, Marieke decided to put The Spectors on hold. Looking to the future, she started writing material for a new album and experimenting with different line-ups, in the end settling on a return to dreampop basics and a quartet.
Material for the second LP was recorded during 2017 at Hightime (Thomas Valkiers) and Deaftone Studios (Jannes Van Rossom) in Belgium and mixed at Jaya Jaya Music in Melbourne by Australian Michael Badger of The Demon Parade. If anything, The Spectors sound even poppier – yet edgier – than before. Indeed, the sparkling music sometimes belies the lyrics, as Marieke chronicles her life with Asperger's in poignant, melancholy three-minute songs.
Question: How would you describe The Spectors' music?
Marieke Hutsebaut: Catchy indie music with a dream pop vibe.
Question: How has your sound changed since 2012?
Marieke Hutsebaut: I used to write lo fi demo's that were really poppy. But on the first album these songs were made much heavier than they were supposed to be. Our music in 2018 is actually going back to back to the sound our initial demos had, really getting that catchy, poppy vibe again.
Question: What motivated the album Ooh Aah Aah?
Marieke Hutsebaut: It's been three years since our previous release and it was about time we made a new album. We felt like Ooh Aah Aah is the record that would put us back on the scene. The title came from the first three words of our single Borderline. It basically means, here we are: no artistic album title, no fancy artwork just oohs and aahs.
Question: How does it feel to hear Borderline on radio?
Marieke Hutsebaut: It feels great. It's one of the coolest achievements you can get as a band. I love that we're getting some airplay in Australia.
Question: What is the story behind the name, The Spectors?
Marieke Hutsebaut: In 2012 my ex-boyfriend and I started out writing the first songs. One of them being 'Going Down' which is on the first EP. I asked him about band names and he came up with The Heliospheres and The Spectors. The Spectors was the best option because I share the same birthday with Phil Spector and the sixties girl group connection really goes well with our love songs. Unfortunately, my boyfriend had left me and the band before we even had the chance to perform live together. As a result most of our songs were about him. Funny fact: he named his band's first album 'Heliosphere'.
Question: How did the band come together?
Marieke Hutsebaut: We experimented with a lot of line ups and musicians over the past few years, but now we've settled on this one. I absolutely love Filip, Ruben and Davy. They all come from different parts of Belgium but they really get our music and we always have so much fun together.
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Marieke Hutsebaut: I love them both in a different way. The great thing about performing live is that you can show off the stuff you created in the studio and let all your aggression out. The best thing about being in the studio is creating things and then listening to the result at the end of the day and thinking "this is gonna be a hit".
Question: Which is your favourite song to perform live and why?
Marieke Hutsebaut: That has to be When the Morning Falls, it's on our new album and it just sounds so catchy and fresh, it works really well live and in my opinion my vocals sound best in this song. We always get a lot of applause when we play this one.
Question: What motivates you most when writing music?
Marieke Hutsebaut: In the beginning I was writing songs about my ex, knowing he would listen to them I felt it was like a way of communicating to him because he wouldn't listen to me if I spoke to him. What motivates me now is writing the best songs we possibly can to try and get our music to a bigger audience. We want to be heard and loved.
Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?
Marieke Hutsebaut: The Sheila Divine, they are a band from the nineties and they make awesome music. Australian band Househats are one of my new favorites, I discovered them through our mixing engineer, Michael Badger, who also mixed them. Badger has a great band too called The Demon Parade. And I always newly discover stuff from the sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties.
Question: What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Marieke Hutsebaut: I'm actually a bassist and started playing when I was 16. I was really impressed by John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin. However, the artist that really made me want to be a singer was Janis Joplin, I absolutely adored her and still do. I never really thought I would ever be a singer in a band. It was only until five years later I started singing in The Spectors.
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Marieke Hutsebaut: Amy Winehouse, she is my favorite singer of all time, but as this is not a possibility anymore I will try to pursue other artists; Lady Gaga, she is so incredibly talented and a great songwriter. Kevin Parker from Tame Impala. Cole from DIIV.
Interview by Brooke Hunter