Interview: Spacehog

bill bodkin goes on a hogyssey with Royston Langdon, the frontman of the ’90s rockers …

spacehog

Royston Langdon has one of the coolest names in rock ‘n’ roll.

Go ahead, say it out loud.

It has a wonderful ring to it, as if the gods of rock ‘n’ roll had ordained him to be the voice behind one of the most recognizable and beloved hit singles of the 1990s (Spacehog’s “In The Meantime”).

But tell Langdon that and he becomes a charmingly bashful Brit, who graciously takes this statement as a remarkable compliment. And that’s Royston Langdon these days — happily touring with Spacehog, recording a new album and playing venues, no matter the size. When speaking with Langdon — the band’s frontman and bass guitarist — the gratitude and joy he has for his musical career is so infectious, you can’t help but just feel positive when speaking to the smooth-voiced UK import.

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This Friday, Spacehog, will perform at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, only a short drive from their New York City headquarters, where they are currently crafting their latest album. The record and upcoming shows (including a Feb. 26 date at New York’s Mercury Lounge) are getting a lot of love from the media and the masses. The media is embracing the ‘Hog once again as their new single “Glad To Know,” an excellently upbeat and wonderfully crafted track — the kind only Spacehog could produce — was premiered and streamed on Rolling Stone’s website.

Pop-Break’s Bill Bodkin, who nearly a decade early had just discovered the band driving home on a chilly winter day from college, spoke with Langdon about the new record, working with fans to produce the album and tour and much more.

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Pop-Break: Your new single ‘Glad to Know’ was just streamed on Rolling Stone’s website. How’s the reception been to it? When can we expect the national release of the record?

Royston Langdon: So far, so good. It’s still kind of in the early days [the song premiered Jan. 11]. I played it for a few friends, put it out on social media. The response has been really positive. I’m really optimistic right now.

[In regards to the album’s release,] we’re looking at the 16th of April.

PB: How does the new record differ from previous efforts?

RL: The subject matter changed. I supposed I’ve matured … I’m a different person than I was when I was 21 when I started. Musically, the fundamentals are the same as they were on [Spacehog’s breakout 1995 album] Resident Alien. This record feels like a much more honest look at who we are now. That’s what we strived to do on every record. It’s a little piece of the history of where we are. Everyone’s changed — through relationships, etc. It’s uniquely ours and this is the medium in which we tell.

Pop-Break: Also, your brother, Anthony, will not be touring with you guys for the first time. Was he involved with the record?

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RL: He’s performing on the record but not live. When it comes to the next record, I don’t know, we’ll wait and see.

PB: Was there any worry he wouldn’t come back to record with you guys since he has a lot going on with doing music for Hollywood?

RL: Worried? You’ll have to ask him if he was debating on coming back. It’s a bit painful in some ways. He’s my brother, I love him. He’s a part of the band. But I wouldn’t want him or anyone doing this if they didn’t want to. He wasn’t happy at the end, and [because of that] no one was happy. I think in the end, as a result, we’re a better band for it. I don’t think we’d be as good, today, if he was doing this begrudgingly.

Pop-Break: With the time difference between releases, did you feel more or less pressure when producing it? Were you stressing that you had to produce a killer record this time around, because it had been so long?

RL: Good Question. The pressure was more from the actual technical end of getting things together. I’m writing something all the time, so there was no difference there this time. There’s no more pressure on us about when we’re playing. It was just as exciting as the old records and doing it for the first time. I love the process of being in the studio. It was a lot of fun.

[Yet] it was difficult at times. This record was more serious so this presented certain difficulties, you know, getting to those feelings.

There were different elements to making and releasing this record. There’s been a real struggle because we’re doing it ourselves in regards to funding and organizing everything. Yet, it’s rewarding because we don’t have to worry about the third party opinion. We were as true to ourselves as we were on our first record. At Sire Records, Seymour Stein was the greatest benefactor — he never got involved until things were done. Later, things were more difficult, you know because opinions are like assholes … everyone’s got one. It just wasn’t as helpful.

We’ve got a lot of support from Bryce Goggins — who I’ve know since I first came to New York and was working as a studio assistant. That goes a long way being able to trust him and the guys in the band.

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Pop-Break: You’re going to the people to help get this record produced. On Feb. 1, you’re doing a Pledge Campaign where fans can pledge money to your cause to help get the record done and fund touring. Does this sort of thing make you feel weird in any way or are you totally cool with it?

RL: We’re starting a PledgeMusic.com campaign this week. We didn’t fund the record yet to promote it, finish it and produce the tour. It feels a little weird going cap in hand [to fans] but for us there’s not a lot of choice — it’s this or give up. We’ve always needed help in varied ways. In some ways this is nice because it cuts the middle man, the large corporation out, and it gives us direct contact with our true fans.

We’re grateful to the fans and to those helping us spread the word. My wish is to spread the word of what this record is all about, the sentiment of it and who I am, to the greatest degree.

Pop-Break: With the new record being released this year, are there plans for a national tour?

RL: We’d love to tour the world, bring our music to the four corners of the world. I’m available, I’m doing what I love and I want people to get out there and see that we’re a really good live band. We have a great spiritual connection with the our crowd.

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Pop-Break: You guys have played a varied array of crowds, especially local to the Northeast. For example you played The Brighton Bar in Long Branch, a popular rock club at the Jersey Shore. Then you played The Bamboozle Fest in Asbury Park, a festival which had tens of thousands of people in attendance. How is it going from a club setting to a festival setting within a matter of weeks?

RL: It’s practical that we stay local. We’re based in New York and it costs more money to drive outside of the greater NYC area. That’s the reality of it. [laughs] We’re quite selective, be we want to keep playing moving through the year whether the show is big or small.

Our music works well in the smaller clubs. You can really feel the fans — there’s a good energy that’s distilled in those rooms. It’d be great to play the bigger shows, but we’ll get there at some point…we’ll just take it one drumbeat at a time.

Spacehog will perform Friday at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J.. Click here to buy tickets. They will also play The Mercury Lounge in New York on Tuesday, Feb. 26. Tickets for that show can be purchased here.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site’s podcast, The BreakCast.┬áHe is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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