Explosive singer Steve Cooper, drummer Ronen Evron, bassist Paul Michel and guitarist Cal Stamp comprise Spirit Animal, a band with a chaotic combination of rock and pop, fueled by the unruly aesthetics of psych and funk. Their debut EP, “This is A Test,” created a stir with a pair of tracks — “The Black Jack White” (which surpassed 1 million streams on Spotify) and “BST FRNDS”- that appeared on mtvU. The band came into 2016 with the release of a new EP ‘World War IV’ which features new high energy lead songs “Regular World” and “Big Bad Road Dog”. Spirit Animal is a dish best served live and will begin touring on December 2nd at the Barabary in Philadelphia.
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Connor Jewett: Let’s kick it off with where everyone’s from individually, and where’s the band currently based?
Steve Cooper: We’re a New York City band — mostly Brooklyn. We have a lot of roots in the [Washington], DC area. A couple of us met there, others just happened to be there also. We met later in life, but originally we were scattered. Our bass player was born in Latvia, drummer was born in Israel, guitarist is from Buffalo and I was born in Maryland. So, we are from all over the map.
CJ: Coming to New York as a first-time visitor or a tourist, what’s a place that you would recommend to visit that you enjoy going to escape from work and life?
SC: Well, there’s a lot of great waterfront, obviously, in the Brooklyn area, but I guess it’s getting kind of overrun now in the Williamsburg area. But, in Greenpoint, you can kind of get away still where the ferry stops are, and that’s still nice. It’s funny, I don’t think of New York as somewhere that you would go to get away.
CJ: Can you define your musical style? Do any of your travel experiences, and your different backgrounds, have an influence on your musical style?
SC: We do have a lot of different influences, but we also share a common goal. We look at it is a pop group with a bunch of stuff around it. The focus is the song and the energy. It’s rock and roll plain and simple, but we’re really into the big, huge anthem of pop music. We like to rock hard, and we like to make sure that there is serious edge to everything we do. We also love a hook, we love to party and we love to dance. We are always bringing it back to that central, familiar, fun energy, but always with a twist. Something that will keep you on your toes, make you think or hit you in the face. I don’t think it’s where we are from stylistically, rather than what we agree on.
CJ: Love music that brings you up and you can party to. What has been your favorite venue to perform at as a band? Why?
SC: Perhaps our big highlight was playing the Sweetlife Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion, which is outside of DC in Maryland. A few of us grew up going there for huge shows, so when I was a kid I would have saw Rage Against the Machine there, or the Dave Mathews Band — something like that. So, when we got to play there as part of the festival we got to see it from the other side. It felt like kind of a coming of age moment, I think, for us. I would have to say that is my personal favorite. In New York, we have played them all for the most part. We have had some great nights at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. They have treated us right. But, I really think it’s more about the show, and the memory of the crowd, rather than the venue.
CJ: I’ve heard your new song “Regular World” on Spotify and your YouTube Channel recently, really love your music. What’s the response been like from the new music? Talk about your tour plans. Any specific destinations?
SC: “Regular World” has definitely been sort of a favorite, a lead track for us. We haven’t really gotten to the nitty-gritty of promoting it from a radio standpoint, and it’s already gotten a few million streams, which has been great to see. We are going on tour in December for a couple of weeks, and are playing thirteen cities in fifteen nights. Which even for us, and we’ve done a few DIY tours when we were coming up, three-month stuff, which were pretty intense, but the concentration of dates across time, thirteen in fifteen, is probably about as intense as it gets. We’ll be going back to some cities that we’ve been to, and we’ll be going to a couple new places.
We haven’t played Saint Paul or St. Louis, but it’s mostly the Midwest and the standard east-coast route. We really love the four corners and the mountain areas. We’ve spent some time in Utah and Colorado, but it’s generally a longer tour to get out there. We always try to schedule a couple days to get out and do the nature, national park thing. We’ve done Zion National Park, Arches National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park and more. We actually bought the national parks pass so we could go to as many as possible. We’ve had some incredible memories in Utah. For me personally, I would say there is nowhere in the [United States] more near to my heart.
CJ: So, it seems that you like to get outside and seek adventure when you vacation. Do you prefer this over a more relaxing getaway?
SC: I think, because you’re in the van so long and you drink every night, it depends for us. When you’re on the west coast I’d do a beach day, or maybe I’d go to Maine for some relaxation. We try to make the most of when we travel to the Midwest or Utah, there is large swath of states between Nebraska and Vegas we love.
CJ: That area really is beautiful, and overlooked. Now, you guys have traveled a good amount, seen many of the national parks and different parts of the country, but what is one destination that you still have to travel to?
SC: Yellowstone! But, it’s totally out of the way. To even get it on a route for a tour wouldn’t make sense. You would have to be playing Billings, or somewhere in Idaho — Boise maybe. It would probably take at least a $1,000 to throw out the window between gas, lodging and setting aside the time to spend the time there and actually enjoy it. It’s not somethings that’s typically part of the deal, but we are going to do it the first chance we get.