Spaceface (lead by Jake Ingalls formerly of The Flaming Lips) are self-described “Retro Futurist Dream Rock” visionaries. Their music resides at the forefront of the evolving psychedelic sonic landscape in the United States. Spaceface gained momentum in recent years with their 2017 debut LP, Sun Kids. Subsequently, they hit the road on international tours and notable festival appearances such as: SXSW, Desert Daze, Canadian Music Week, Treefort Music Fest, Hangout Music Festival, and more. They have a reputation for their live music prowess: with an experimental light show and unique props to take their musical performance to the next level for audiences!
Recently, we interviewed Jake as the band just hit another monumental milestone by releasing Anemoia, their sophomore LP, via Mothland Records this month. We chat with Jake to discuss their new record, their evolving creative process with producer Jarod Evans, an upcoming West Coast tour with The Reptaliens and an initial foray into NFTs to fund future studio recording projects.
I’m curious what the title of your new album, Anemoia, means to Spaceface?
That’s a really good question! I wanted it to be more provocative. I think the term is a little open ended. I’ve come to know it as, “longing for a time and place you’ve never been.”
Wow, that sounds like this retro futuristic dream rock that Spaceface tends to sonically lean into!
That’s where we are always living as far as making music and talking about stuff we like and we want to do. When I discovered that word it really resonated with me. We’ve always said we try to sound like if a band from the 60s or 70s were suddenly sent to the future and had access to synthesizers. What would that be?
Or, conversely, what if you were in the future and were sent to the past and all you had was a couple of these things? I don’t think we’ve ever decided which one that we are and thankfully we don’t have to! Yea, I think we called it Anemoia because it really encapsulated how we’d been feeling… because we recorded this pre-pandemic.
What was the timeline for Spaceface to create the record?
“Panoramic View” was actually the very first song that we ever wrote and played! It was very different back then but the bones are pretty much the same. We just moved some stuff around and changed some things.
But, in short I’d say it’d be a couple months in 2019 that it really took form and we did the bulk of the work. And when I say a couple months it makes it sounds like Spaceface was locked in a studio for six months. It had less to do with that and more about getting the time. It was recorded in between [Flaming] Lips and Spaceface touring. I was going to Jarod’s studio recording 4-5 straight days and then nothing! And then going back for three or four days and then Big Red would show up for two. It was disparate. It was very piecemeal.
What was Spaceface’s general process for creating Anemoia?
I work with a producer. His name is Jarod Evans. I love him very much and here’s why: when we finished Sun Kids back then we would slave away in a basement for hours, learn all the parts, writing, tweaking them, performing it live, we’d tour on it for a little bit and THEN record it…. and decide which songs would make our first record. I don’t think we were acknowledging or taking full advantage of studio time with Sun Kids because we were writing and road testing it. When we went to Oklahoma to meet Jarod in his studio. I was feeling beholden to the five other people in the band… I wouldn’t let him [initially] rearrange stuff or add new shit.
What was Jarod Evans’ role as producer for Spaceface records?
He was making it sound good. The way I used to describe it was as if we came to him with a bottle of Ragu and went, “Can you help us make gourmet pasta?”
“If you want to make it gourmet, first you must learn how to grow tomatoes. So if you want good drums we’ve got to re-record them.” I resisted for a while, and then there were a couple songs where it was just unavoidable. We had to get Matt from the [Flaming] Lips to record drums.
It was just a first-hand lesson on how to really treat things. In those sessions, I learned how to comp vocals, and actually set up a patch bay. I learned what gear does what. If that makes sense. [I learned] how to organize session files so it’s not a mess. But in any case, we’re doing all of that and running all these tracks we’ve recorded through Moog synthesizers and tape.
We finished the Sun Kids record and went out for drinks. It’s just Jarod and I at this place in Oklahoma with tequila and red wine slushies cuz it’s OU colors. It’s a hangover in a glass!
He turns to me and says, “Congrats! You finished your first record. A lot of people never get this far.” He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “You severely wasted my time and your money with how you wanted to do this record.” It was a celebration. It wasn’t heavy. It was very casual. That’s what I kinda like about Jarod and what makes me trust him. He speaks very plainly.
I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Well, I’m a creative person and there’s a lot of resistance this whole time which made things really tough to mix around.” He’s teaching me mixing techniques while it’s happening cuz I was dead set on how this one thing needs to hit. The bass needs to be so loud. He explained, “You’re rearranging the room. Imagine you have an empty room. You’ve gotta make room for everybody. You want a tv and couch and stuff. You’re insisting this couch goes right in the center of the room. There’s no room for anything else.” That’s how he explained sounds to me.
Jarod said, “I want to work with you again, but if you want to do this I want to start from the beginning. I don’t want you to come here with a full record full of recorded stuff. We need to start from the get-go. Come with demos. Come with nothing.” And it wasn’t a demand. It was just a recommendation. In between, he’s mixed stuff for us throughout. But at first, I resisted because I think I had too much hubris. At the back of my mind I’m constantly going, “What would Jarod be doing?” We’d sent stuff to Jarod to mix and every time the song came back (cuz we did a string of singles in between Sun Kids and this) it was fantastic!
So for this one [Anemoia], I came in with a handful of demos. We didn’t even record tracks. It was my phone sitting in the middle of a room with three or four of us just jamming. And that those weird drum fills are from the original iPhone. It’s just a horrible video recording, like audio ripped from it.
That is so unique to successfully use an iPhone demo recording and actually put it into the final master recording in some way!
So what informed the process? I think your original question was about the process. Okay so we’re gonna come in with less than we usually are used to. I showed up with a “Panoramic View” demo and a “Rain Passing Through” demo that I had nothing to do with: actually it was just Eric and Big Red with an SPD SX and a favorite guitar…
Then, Jarod had us make a playlist of stuff we wanted to sound like It was anything that we were enjoying, even if it’s just a little sound in the verse or even if it’s just a vibe. We put it on the playlist and we sat and listened. We finished listening to the demos, so Jared turns it off and asks, “Why doesn’t the music that you make sound like the music that you like?”
I just smiled so big. I was like, “Dude, I don’t know,” but I’m really glad that he just cut right through! And immediately moments after that he pulls up the “Panoramic View” iPhone video. He tosses this filter on it. Then, we went through and then identified stuff that wasn’t quite working and removed it.
Then, Jarod immediately pulled up some drum samples that I made and tossed them into a Pro Tools session and chopped them up and then re-tracked a couple keyboards over it. Before you know it, he’s placing three microphones down in the studio. He asks us to go grab some junk from around the studio and we’re just going to record you playing percussion to that filtered demo. So, I end up hitting coke bottles and booze bottles and cowbells that I just found. And that became the percussion track. This process became the template of how we did anything that wasn’t from the ground up on the record.
So Spaceface has the upcoming West Coast tour with Reptaliens starting this month. Do you have a name for the tour?
I think when we were headlining ourselves and when I was doing all the booking we’d make posters for each one and name each one. This tour just happened from Reptaliens DMing me saying that we should do a co-headlining run. So we didn’t name it but we probably should!
I guess it’s a bit of a trope right now but do you fuck with NFT’s?
I actually did an audio NFT with this dude, Josh PlayStation, who is big in that world. But, I know nothing about it. And he threw many meetings to try to explain it to me. And I never got it.
But like, I’d actually hit him up previously, he was going to do a visualizer for the Anemoia record. And I just forgot that I asked him to do that and then one day I reached out to him, “Hey, oh, I fucking forgot to follow up on this. Are you still interested? I have the full record. And we’re gonna probably release next year or something.” And he’s like, “Let me do you one better. Are you familiar with NFT’s?”
LOL! He sounds like Butters from the South Park “Pandemic Special.” Have you seen it?
Yeah! Josh is a loving, cool dude who makes sick visuals. And he’d been doing this series where he’s pairing up with Zola Jesus and other artists right now.
The people that were doing audio for him were creating this distorted, crazy stuff. So, I sent him some music similar to that. And he replied, “Well, I actually hit you up, because I wanted something magical.” Instead, I sent him some [music] that I much more enjoyed making. Yeah. I sent three tracks to him for an NFT. And then I used all of the money from that NFT to record.
All of my friends that are into NFTs, they don’t cash [the money] out. You’re supposed to leave it in. But I’m going, “Yeah, but if it’s there and I can’t use it, is it real?” Because I would much rather go to Sonic Ranch with some of my friends and record 25 songs and have a cool story out of that. And I did that instead. But I’m the least informed person to talk to you about NFT’s.
You’re like a unicorn to me, because now I’ve actually met an artist who has actually successfully issued an NFT.
It’s a wonderful experience. I wouldn’t trade it for anything… Like I said, I’m not going to be a person that watches it every day. I checked on it today, because I left a little bit in, but the stuff that I did leave in was worth way less than it was the last time I looked at it. And I’m like, “Well, I’m glad that I used it when I did.”