Tarek Musa's looking forward to a summer of festivals.
In the time since the release of their debut album last summer, Spring King have gone from strength to strength. The band that introduced the beginning of Apple Music's flagship radio station Beats 1 in 2015 have grown from underground heroes to a certified sensation, and it's an excitement that shows no signs of fading. "People come to a Spring King show because they know that they can jump around and lose themselves and no one's going to have a problem with that," Tarek Musa describes. "I just see people having more and more fun at our shows."
Sure enough, as the number of people who turn up to their performances has grown, so has the energy that floods these concerts. "When we play a show – nowadays especially, since the album's come out – people sing along to every word," the drummer marvels. "If it's connecting with the fans, if people are jumping around at the shows, I'm very, very happy." Indeed, there's no place the band would rather be than celebrating the mutual adoration they share with their fans. "We try and give it everything we've got," he enthuses, "even if it's only 100 people, or 50 people."
Anyone who's seen the group play would find such a statement impossible to refute. Whether performing in rammed venues, on festival stages, or to packed arenas, this is a band who always push themselves to their limits. "I nearly died!" Tarek exclaims, thinking back to a festival the group performed at two years ago. "I was choking to death," he depicts, "I was literally on my last couple of breaths. My mate had to give me the Heimlich manoeuvre."
Erupting into laughter as he explains this didn't happen on stage but rather in the campsite while eating a 10p Chomp bar – "the cheapest way to die! Apparently, I sounded like a pterodactyl screaming," he cracks – the musician describes the moment as "the one festival story that I'll never forget in my life." "I went and sat in my tent on my own for about five minutes playing melodica," he chuckles. "I was just so grateful to be alive."
Near-death experiences aside, Spring King have always revelled in the festival experience. "I love it!" Tarek proclaims. "I'm a simple camper. I take a rucksack, and it has all my clothes in it. I probably leave quite smelly, but that's fine by me for a couple of days." When the sun is shining, there's drink in hand, and music echoes through the air – what could be better? "I enjoy sitting with my mates in a field and just having a good time," the frontman expresses. And who would argue?
With performances at Are You Listening? and Tramlines already confirmed for the summer, the future's certainly looking bright for the Manchester four-piece. But of course, there's a lot more than festival appearances sitting in the band's future. "We've already started writing for the second release," Tarek reveals. "That's our big plan. Just to try and write as many songs as we can and get recording."
While he admits "I don't know what it's going to be yet, whether it's an album or an EP," the initial spark of creativity is already burning bright. Boasting a combination of "pop melodies," "distorted guitars," and "aggression," the new music they're working on seems set to showcase Spring King at their most characteristic. They might be taking time out to write, due to the simple fact that "it's really hard to write music in the van without hitting someone else with an acoustic guitar while they're sat next to you," but for this Manchester four-piece nothing beats the thrill of stepping out onto a stage in front of an audience raring to live it up.
"Sometimes people get a bit self-conscious at shows – I used to be like that when I was younger," Tarek portrays. "I still get nervous at every show." Facing up to that fear makes their performances all the more thrilling. "I feel like we've now set the standards for our shows, which is that if you're going to come," he pauses. "Well, you don't have to be up for it, but people in the pit don't have to worry about losing themselves."
Spring King play Are You Listening? Festival on 22nd April. Visit areyoulistening.org.uk for more information.