Interview: Spook Houses

spook houses, interviewNew Jersey quartet, Spook Houses recently released their debut album, Trying. On the eve of the album’s release, they were named one of 12 New Jersey Bands You Should Listen To Right Now by Paste Magazine. We got a chance to catch up with founding member Colin Alexander about their debut album, their New Jersey roots, and how they managed to release their debut on three different labels, each in a different format

Where did the name Spook Houses come from?
Dave and I were back and forth about the name for a little while and we were just sending things back and forth to each other through emails. We both thought “serious ghost culture” was really funny at the time, so when he sent me the name “spook houses” and I laughed a bunch, it was pretty much settled.

How would you describe your band’s sound to someone who has never heard you?
It’s pretty much indie rock music with a bunch of quiet moments in between. One of our favorite guys used to call his music “slumber punk.” We’re a little different than he was, but I always thought that that name had the same heart as what we try to do.

You recently released your debut album, Trying. What were the recording sessions like for your first full length album?
Our best bud Mike Ditrio was doing all the production and recording. He’s the greatest guy so each of the sessions were really casual and fun. All those dudes go to SUNY Purchase where they’ve got equipment that we were allowed to borrow, so while we got everything to sound a little better than on our first EP, it wasn’t like we were GOING TO THE STUDIO with a bunch of deadlines and whatnot.

Many young bands have a tough time getting signed to a label. You are releasing Trying on three different labels. How did that come about?
Well we were sending around a self released 7″ to a few labels around Spring of 2011 and Bill from Evil Weevil was the first guy to respond. I just found out that he was about to toss us aside after the first listen, but he gave it a second chance a little later and liked it for some reason. Saved by the Bill. So he was always the main guy and then the cassette situation was worked out afterward. Double Double Whammy is Dave’s own cassette label that he started doing after S. Houses did the 7″, and I think he met the Chill Mega Chill guys through all that. So it sounds ridiculous but I guess it just kinda came together.

Paste Magazine recently named you “one of 12 New Jersey Bands You Should Listen To Right Now,” how did you find out you made the list and what was your reaction?
We found out on the middle of tour and we thought it was pretty cool! We’re definitely proud to be NJ babes so it was great to see that 50 states project take some time to look at the other guys from around here.

What did you think of the Paste list overall? Any other New Jersey bands you thought should have made it?
I hadn’t heard of too many of the bands just because I’m in Baltimore nine months out of the year, but it seemed pretty solid. Julian Lynch is a favorite of all of us and he’s another Ridgewood native, so it was great seeing him on there. As far as guys we would’ve liked to see, one NJ band we like a bunch is named Slow Animal, but they may have moved to Philly at this point. I should check to see if they were on the PA list maybe.

You just got back from three week tour, what is next for Spook Houses?
I think we’re all gonna relax for a bit! Nick just graduated from school, but Dave and Alkis are seniors and I’ve got two more years down in Baltimore, so that’ll give us all time to work on different stuff. Dave and I have been working on demos for some new songs, though, so hopefully we’ll be able to figure out where we’re going pretty soon! F Yeah.