Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life are pleased to bring you an interview with pop-rock artist, Leo Spauls.
1. How did you get started as a band?
I formed The UK band in January 2020 in London. It’s Elina Tikkanen on backing vocals, Andy Basiola on guitar, Paolo Succo on bass, Lewis Moody on keyboards, Dan Breaden on drums and myself on lead vocals. We did a few rehearsals, had some gigs booked, but then came the pandemic. So since then, we have been focusing on songwriting. We are releasing three singles on the Animal Farm label this year. The two first singles, “Show Me Your Love” and “Mehringdamm”, are out and available on all streaming platforms.
2. How would you describe your sound?
It’s pop music, based on synthesizers and piano. When we play live, we go on as a rock-pop band, with drums and guitars. When we recorded my last album, “Heaven’s Deep Blue Sky” (2018), we went into the studio and recorded everything with real instruments, so those songs were easy to do live. First, however, I needed to find a pianist who was willing to try Mike Garson’s piano parts. If you are a Bowie fan, you probably remember Mike’s piano solo on “Aladdin Sane”. He is still active and records with new artists all the time. Quite impressive. Since we are doing an electronic production this time, we need to find a band setting that works. We haven’t tried that yet, so that’s going to be a challenge. However, I think the new songs are great, and I’m looking forward to playing them live.
3. What bands/artists would you say have influenced your style of music?
I try to listen to an album a day, and I tune in to BBC6 every night. If you listen to such a quantity of music, the songs sometimes keep ringing in my sleep. However, I rarely try to imitate other artists and seldom play covers, so what level they influence me is probably easier for others to tell. Nevertheless, an artist I have been listening to is St. Lenox. I have never met him, but I follow him on social media. I particularly like his piano playing. He uses many chord changes, which is a bit old fashioned these days, but I like it.
4. Has the rise of YouTube & music streaming helped or hindered you as a band?
It’s incredible how much new music is released all the time. Too much, perhaps. But it’s a democracy thing, I guess. But a double-edged sword. It’s like going busking in the streets. If you are active on social media, you find a follower here and there, but you drown trying to find a bigger audience. When I released a clip from Danish director Lars von Trier’s GESAMT project a few years ago, it became viral. Probably because people thought it was porn. It was not, but it reached 8,7 million viewings. You can find it on Youtube. We are still building a fanbase on Spotify and Youtube, but sometimes you think you need divine intervention to make it work. Nevertheless, the important thing is that you keep working and do what you like. Someday it will work.
5. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not making music?
The obvious answer is sex, but I also read books sometimes and occasionally watch Netflix. Having worked in theatre for several years, I have read a few books, and I have many writers friends. We talk about art and literature and the impossibilities of making a relationship work. For example, I just ended a long-distance relationship with a Brazilian guy. That’s what the single “Show Me Your Love” is about, released earlier this summer. I’m also very fond of wine. Too much, perhaps.
6. What are your future plans musically? Tours?
We have a new single, “Moon Sign”, which will be released September 10, and after that, I’m hoping to record a new album. A UK tour would be great, perhaps next year. I am also hoping to play live with Mike Garson someday. He made this streaming concert last winter, which was pretty impressive. It had Trent Reznor, Yungblud, Adam Lambert, Duran Duran, and many Bowie alumni. It appears that everyone he called said yes. We are in contact quite often, Mike and I. He gives me piano lessons and sometimes acts as a mentor. When I play him a song, I can tell from his reaction if he likes it or not. It’s nice to have someone like that.