MEET THE BAND: SPENCER
How do Deva & Miten concerts differ from other bands you’ve played with?
There is a deep focus which I love! I particularly dig the fact that you know everything is being heard and not lost in some great big mish mash of sound! A clarity of musical sound which supports the clarity of the whole.
I guess this comes from the appreciation of space which is such a part of a Deva and Miten concert (the great conundrum of whether it is actually a ‘concert’ or more a coming together to be together to celebrate the possibility of being able to do so?). Above all it is the creation of a complete vibe rather than a crafted reeling out of a ‘performance’ – you can’t beat being very much in the ‘now’.
Any memory of the first concert with Deva & Miten?
How 3D it all became! Getting sounds together, rehearsal and everything is all important but it doesn’t really give a true feeling of how it is on stage when everyone is in the space together. Helsinki somehow felt a great place to do the first concert – kind of a Finnish purity and openess!
You’re obviously passionate about music – what do you consider you main instrument and how did your relationship with it develop?
I consider acoustic piano as my main instrument. I started playing when I was six years old so it has been with me practically all my life and has never failed to be a way to express how I feel – even now at the grand old age of 50 (!) I still feel like a new player on the piano. There is always something else to discover and that constantly pushes me. That’s the true definition of an instrument – something that allows free expression.
Electronic stuff is very sophisticated and wonderful but I have yet to see it transcend what an acoustic, in the real 3D world, instrument can do! There are some pretty honky pianos though but even then they all have a personality – wonderful!
Do you have a pre-concert routine?
I do like to set my own gear up and play and tweak stuff prior to sound check as it tunes me in – I then feel at home in the place we are playing when we come to the concert (I appreciate our technical folk on the road as they give me plenty of space to do so and that understanding means alot to me). Closer to the actual concert I just like for us all to be together before going on stage so we can all get in the same vibe. I’m not one for just meeting up side stage!
What one special item do you always take on tour?
Pictures of my family. I like to see them as soon as I walk in to my hotel room – it works!
All-time favourite album?
I’m not sure if I have an actual favourite one album – I just love all music that reaches my soul and being! However, I have always loved Eberhard Weber – especially with his band Colours. I may change my music I take with me but his albums constantly appear on my playlists so I guess that says much!
Personal musical highlight?
That’s a difficult one as I have been very fortunate in having fantastic musical experiences. These would have to include many incredible gigs with John Martyn including one of the last at the Roundhouse in London when we performed all of the album Solid Air – everything just came together and to cap it all it was filmed and recorded so it’s there for posterity! Also, recording my solo piano album last year was most definitely a highlight as it was the first time I’d ever done a truly solo album. As a musician it was most definitely an important rite of passage!
Do you meditate – and if so, can you pass on your technique?
I don’t meditate in any formal way but ever since I was young I have used a technique just before going to sleep where I relax my body consciously from my toes up! No matter what state my mind might be in, if I lay still and do this I fall asleep easily – I never get much further than my feet (OK, my knees maybe!). Being at the piano is also a form of meditation too – I have always loved playing chords and passages that are rich and sonorous then just listening to the sound completely fade away – it leaves me feeling incredibly calm – wonderful!