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February 2021
Live at Leeds

SPINN: "Why don't you buy the album? It'll help me pay my rent"

New indie kids on the block, SPINN aren’t trying to be cool; “We’re just writing decent pop songs,” frontman Johnny explains.
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Published: 9:00 am, April 11, 2019Words: Ciaran Steward.
SPINN: "Why don't you buy the album? It'll help me pay my rent"

It's time to start getting excited, Dear Reader. We're less than a month away from the unofficial start of our 2019 festival season. That May Day Bank Holiday weekend means one thing - Live At Leeds. Packed with (literally) hundreds of the best new bands on the planet, it sees one of the country's most vibrant creative cities turned into a mecca of buzz, hype and awesome live music.

To celebrate, we're holding a special Live At Leeds takeover. Over the course of the day (11th April 2019, in case you're coming to this late - Ed), we'll be bringing you all kinds of stuff from and about the acts playing this year's event. If you're going, it'll help you plan out those all-important spreadsheets. If you've not yet picked up your tickets - well, what are you waiting for? You can grab 'em here, right now.

"It's like a big inside joke that's got out of hand," quips SPINN frontman Johnny Quinn on how his band came to be. Most things he says sound drenched in mischief and usually come accompanied by a child-like grin or giggle but there's an incredibly switched on musical mind behind it all.

The Liverpool-based quartet are on the verge of releasing their eponymous debut album following a rapid rise through the ranks of indie venues across the UK - their ascent through their hometown venues (with a gig on the main stage at Liverpool's O2 Academy scheduled for December) is a solid indicator of the success of their indie pop jams.

So are they letting this get to their heads? Well, when asked about the release Johnny explains: "It's the best album. It's the best album of all. Not even of all time, just the best album." Underneath the wit, it's clear he genuinely loves their latest creation.

"It's got plenty of great stuff. It's an album full of content; there's a song in there for everyone," he adds. While SPINN definitely do have a signature sound, fuelled predominantly by guitarist Andy Power's dreamy riffs, this release features a mix of pop songs that fit the bill for a whole range of emotions. Their track ‘It's Not Getting Better' gives Johnny the opportunity for another quick laugh.

"Contrary to my suggestion, with SPINN it is actually is getting better. The stuff we wrote is just really good pop music, and that's all we're trying to do. We're not trying to do something cool or anything; we're just writing decent pop songs. That's us."

"I had a dream about Matty Healy and Alex Turner the other night…”
Johnny Quinn

The band audibly take cues from The Smiths and The Cure, but their influences are vast - with Johnny claiming the others have some fairly varied musical interests. "Andy listens to these mad shoegaze bands I've never heard of while Sean and Louis are into disco and U2."

Johnny and Andy met in a geography class when they were 12, with Andy later moving schools and becoming pals with now-bassist Sean McLachlan. The existing outfit was completed in 2017 by drumming Brummie Louis O'Reilly after the band's original drummer left to join the police.

They seem to be constantly on the road and even ventured over to Ireland for the first time recently and were welcomed with open arms. "Ireland's good, it's got its shit together. We left the venue in Ireland, and there was a group of girls stood outside, and one of them literally screamed, and they had a bunch of flowers to us."

This has become something of a regular occurrence for the band, following their video for 'Shallow' in which they're bombarded by fans giving them flowers. "[Once] this girl got me roses," Johnny recalls, "which was good at first, but I tried to pick them up when she threw them and spiked my hand. Then I threw them back, and they hit Louis. We're very delicate boys."

Despite now being in their early twenties, there's no doubting they still enjoy identifying as cheeky boys rather than proper grown-ups. It's almost impossible to keep Johnny's attention on serious topics - he waxes lyrical when it comes to the healing powers of Lucozade ("IV me with Lucozade please, thank you"), his beloved Everton and even what's going on in his head while he sleeps.

"I had a dream about Matty Healy and Alex Turner the other night, taking me in a space shuttle it was interesting. I think we started talking about charity and what we could do to help stop world hunger. It was the maddest dream ever.

"And then we went round like a power trio of frontmen. Obviously, they were quite more impressive than I am, but we'd go around solving world hunger. Just the little, menial stuff. We don't want to overstretch ourselves."

SPINN: "Why don't you buy the album? It'll help me pay my rent"
"It would be very SPINN to self-implode before the album even came out"
Johnny Quinn

He's very open about SPINN's ambitions for their debut album - charting would mean an awful lot to a man who claims that his recent choice to dye his hair makes him look like Elton John.

"I'm properly into it and I think - Dork's audience, reading this - why don't you buy it? It'll help me pay my rent. If it charts, I'm going to go and buy a pint for everyone in the pub."

'SPINN' is filled with tracks about Johnny's life, things he's dealt with and those around him - he makes it very clear that it's an intensely personal release lyrically and it means a whole bunch to him. 'Keep Dancing' is the track which means the most to the frontman.

"The lyrics are the most personal ones. It's about me being the guy who keeps dancing when sometimes even happy-go-lucky Johnny gets a bit down. Sometimes I feel a bit like I have to portray that and that's what that song's about, and it's important to have an outlet for such emotions.

"It's about drawing the line between my public persona and the private one. Until we sell some albums, then I'll actually moan ‘there's so much pressure on me, man'. I'm just a doting artist, aren't I?"

He's not feeling the pressure at the moment but admits that the last six months have been crazy and that he lost control of himself to some degree. "I had a look at myself and say, you need to get it together sonny. I was going around town acting like I'm Billy Big Bollocks, and I'm not. I've learnt to take a bit of time and not let everything get on top of myself.

"Although I go a bit self-destructive, I'm not bad."

To keep themselves busy through the quiet periods, the band have been taking to social media and starting beefs for a laugh. "We should probably learn to shut our mouths and not like destroy our own reputation before it has been built, but it would be very SPINN to self-implode before the album even came out."

So instead they'll be sticking mostly to doing what they can to tease each other because "There's nothing better than winding your best mates up, is there?" This extends to their manager who they enjoy teasing because "when he gets agitated he sounds like a kettle boiling."

Demos are already recorded for the second LP, but Johnny's focus at this stage is still more on getting the puns right and having a good laugh. "It's like SPINN mark two, I guess. SPINN Evolution.

"The SPINNdustrial Revolution. That's a pun sent from God himself."

Taken from the May issue of Dork. SPINN’s self-titled debut album is out 3rd May; they play Live at Leeds (4th May), Truck (26th-29th July), 110 Above (2nd-5th August) and more.

May 2019
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