Japanese art pop band Spangle call Lilli line has published on its homepage a series of interviews that has each of the three band members talking about the new album Trace. The interviews are detailed and long—each taking up four Internet pages. If you are a Spangle fan and can read Japanese, the interviews are well worth a look. If you can’t, here’s a summary of some of the interesting and amusing things the three said.
* Trace, their fourth studio album, was their first since Spangle's original drummer departed (the band released a live album, 68scll, between the third album and Trace), and all three remaining members say they felt they should try out new musical styles with this new album. The members felt the third album, Or, was the culmination of the old, arty, post-rock Spangle sound. The departed drummer, Nobuyuki Kabasawa, provided a lot of musical direction for Or. But because the band strained to create the ultimate old Spangle sound with Or, making that album was highly stressful, causing singer Kana Otsubo to break down crying about once a month. Creating Trace didn't cause as much stress, and was even enjoyable as the band was able to explore and incorporate into its sound new types of music, especially black music.
* Guitarist Ken Fujieda said he was especially influenced by old soul, Motown and dance classic music in making Trace. He also made the other member listen to Prince’s new album, but singer Otsubo said she couldn’t sing like that.
* Two girls from the band Miami All played horns on the album, and they ate sweets with Otsubo during breaks in the recording. (Fujieda)
* The album title, Trace, comes from ‘tracing paper’. The band envisioned ‘tracing’ various musical styles with the latest album. (Fujieda)
* The covers of the first three studio albums featured illustrations by singer Otsubo (who is a professional illustrator when not doing music), but in Trace the band decided to change the album’s appearance. Guitarist Fujieda says the latest album cover was influenced by the designs of Yves Saint Laurent, though the cover also reminds him, in a way, of a bathroom towel.
The cover design.
* Spangle will release in June an album called For Installation containing new songs that didn’t make it into Trace. (Fujieda)
* The band created between 40 and 50 demo songs, and voted on which songs to put into the album, says the other guitarist, Kiyoaki Sasahara.
* The 4th song of Trace, ‘Corner’, was inspired by a riff in an unnamed song by the rap-metal band Korn [and listening to it now, it does sound like a riff that might be used by a heavy metal group, though I would have never guessed unless I read this interview]. (Sasahara)
* Kana Otsubo, Spangle’s singer, says she had images of Bulgarian and Chinese ethnic music in creating this album, though those images didn’t really come through in the end.
* Singer Otsubo is a big fan of R&B and hip hop, and especially likes SWV, Crystal Kay, Prefuse 73 and Dabrye, as well as Sade, who she saw play in Japan.
* Otsubo thought the 3rd song on the album, ‘U-Lite', was pop and upbeat enough that it might work as a TV commercial song for cosmetics, but says that there weren’t any takers among the big cosmetics companies.