I'm curious about Marc because I've never really gotten to know him. I met co-founder and guitarist Dan at one of the first Spak shows and became good friends with him, collaborating a lot from 2015 to 2019. But despite Dan's significant artistic influence, I always find myself more drawn to Marc's work, particularly the range of his emotional output. It's sometimes confuses me where his lyrics come from, and that certainly applies to the album I have now listened to multiple times.
Marc: (overlapping) -been a long time. Yeah. That's alright. It happens.
You seem better.
I think I am. I mean, I am. (laughs) I'm eating healthy. I'm trying to exercise more. You know.
Yeah, sounds good. And now you're back in Seattle!
Yep. It feels nice, walking around the streets and stuff. Especially at night, it feels really bizarre.
You've been back for...
For a few weeks, now. I'll be here at least another month. Dan is gonna come up and hopefully we'll play some shows.
Cool! And Dan said a week ago that you were recording stuff here, too? Was that for the new album?
Yeah. We thought we were done recording but as I was mixing it Dan and I agreed there was some stuff that we needed to scrap. So I recorded two more songs with Mako, really quickly, and we put those in there.
Oh, wow. And where did you actually record those?
Here, actually. There was an electronic tune I was working on called "Your Holes" and Mako came and played that there (motions to a keyboard) and then she showed me a song she was working on called "Waiting" on her ukelele that she wanted me to sing, because she wanted it to sound like White Town, who's an artist I introduced her to last year she really likes. He's got this kind of deep posh British accent. So I tried doing that.
He's a musician. You've probably heard him... "Your Woman", it was this cool nineties thing, uh... dun dun de dun... (imitates string melody from "Your Woman")
That just sounds like Star Wars to me.
Well, you can listen to it later.
I liked your song though! Or her song.
Yeah, thanks. It was nice of her to give it to me. She writes straightforward songs about relationships, and they have this timeless feel to them. I like putting them on Spak albums 'cause it's like covering standards.
What's the other one you recorded this month about?
It's about a woman who came to a lot of the shows we did last year. We don't need to get into it though.
Tell me more about the recording process for the main part of the album.
We were struggling to make it work for a while, obviously we didn't start playing shows again until early last year. It was pandemic stuff and also life stuff for Dan with his new house and me with some messy relationships. While we were playing shows I was trying some new songs out like "Big Wing" and "Penis Butter and then Dan showed me a cool song he wrote called "Well-Known Guy" that's was about Tom Cruise or Will Smith or some other male celebrity. We knew it could lead to another album but I was actually planning to move in with my girlfriend at the time so we had to postpone that idea indefinitely. So Dan went back home to Minnesota and I moved in with her, but then two weeks later we broke up. It was too soon. So I moved
So instead of going apartment hunting I decided to say fuck it and go stay with Dan. He had a free couch and he was even building a little studio in his shed. So we really went for it and decided we would record everything in that tiny space and produce everything ourselves like the old days. Just with better gear and mics. Mako came in and played slide guitar on "Head Nurse" and we got to develop "Big Wing" into this long jam and it felt really fun like we were finally doing what we wanted to do again.
Oh yeah. I can feel that. It feels really free. I mean, Dan raps on that [song]? Like, what?
Yeah! We still sorta buried it in there because, like, we know that's not what people are looking for from us. But it's not totally out of the blue! Dan's other bandmate Zeke raps on every album they do together, I think. I would call it one of Dan's special skills. I call him a rhythm machine.
There's also a lot of relationship songs. Did you write those?
Mostly. Mako has hers too and Saahir (drummer for Husky Dog) co-wrote "Fruit of the Groom". But yeah my ex ended up seeping her way into a lot of it. And I already had stuff I had written about my girlfriend before her. I wrote "Head Nurse", "Your Eggs", and "Riddle Woman" alone and Dan helped me develop the rest.
Which ones did Dan write again?
Dan wrote "Well-Known Guy" and "Eyeful Beatrice" and "Big Wing" technically. But again most of it we wrote together. John wrote the songs he's on, that's "Suck Your Juice" and "Roman", with Dan.
Those ones were cool! Could you say more about John's involvement?
Yeah. John Hadel is one of Dan's friends. They used to play in a band in high school before I met him. When we were recording Yadda in 2017 he'd come by for jam sessions. There was a song called "Popavillion" from their high school days and I made them do it for the album. John smokes and drinks a lot and he's got an awesome rough voice. He disappears sometimes and he doesn't really check his texts so we never know if he's gonna show but there's an open invitation for him to be on anything we do. Luckily I guess he had time and we had an all-day session with him. He plays drums and bass too. Great guy.
Yeah, I like him. So what are the highlights for you, of these twenty songs?
God, that's tough. Um, from Dan and John... "Well-Known Guy" and "Suck Your Juice" are great. It's hard... but I am really proud of "Beast of the Broth", "Your Eggs" ...and it's a gut punch for me but "Try to Make Love" is a banger. What about you?
Me? Oh, uh, I really liked "Beast of the Broth" too. I liked "Hindenburg", I thought it was so different... "Little Buddy", the first song. They're all fun though.
No problem! Thank you for letting me come by this time! It's really good to see you Marc!
It's nice seeing you. I feel better about this interview I think.
You can listen to and purchase Aux Nero Theos on Bandcamp.
And also on Spotify.
Thanks for reading!