Editor’s Note: Spirit Animal got me hooked! It all started when they commented on our Instagram with a Mortal Kombat reference with “Finish Him” as they shared the stage with Dorothy in Minneapolis. I had to get to know this band. Just had to. They recently completed their tour with Theory Of A Deadman and they’ve released music videos for “Arm Candy” and “Painkiller”. In this interview with Madness To Creation, guitarist Cal Stamp of Spirit Animal discusses music education, mental health awareness and the videos for “Arm Candy” and “Painkiller”. Fans can find Spirit Animal at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: Hey Cal, how are you doing today?
Cal: Good how are you?
Madness To Creation: Let’s start talking about mental health awareness, how does music get you through?
Cal: That’s a heavy question man! Music has always been, I don’t want to use the word retreat, but it’s been a safe place on where I can go, music for me dates back to high school when I struggled with depression, and I see a therapist now, and I think that everybody should whether you’re sad or not, and music has always been a kind of place that felt it was played from the heart, and that I felt it existed separately from whatever struggle that I was going through, and as long as I had that there, there was some stability and solace there, it was a place that I could go to where all the other issues didn’t matter, to me that’s what music does and what it offers. When I see our young fans at our shows, it kind of reminds me of myself, when I was at that stage, and that’s obviously the kind of fan that I like to meet, cause it means a lot that they might be turning to our songs the same way that I would turn to my favorite bands when I was that age.
Madness To Creation: I remember first seeing you guys open up for Dorothy up in Minneapolis
Cal: That show was fucking freezing!
Madness To Creation: *laughs* Was that your favorite memory from that show?
Cal: It was my first memory, it wasn’t my biggest memory. My biggest memory is that I wear a necklace on stage, which is an anchor pendant, and during a headbang at the end of the set, the pendant whipped me and caught me in the pupil, so I couldn’t see for like a day after that, but that was little bit of a tangent, what were you going to say?
Madness To Creation: Just seeing what your biggest memory was of that show and all that?
Cal: That was it! *laughs* almost losing my eye from that! It was excruciating pain and intense physical pain for the last three minutes of the set, but the crowd was amazing and there was so much adrenaline from having a good time, and it didn’t really affect me until after, and I was like “oh my God”
Madness To Creation: Would you say that’s one of the many reasons why people need to see Spirit Animal in concert?
Cal: The energy from the show? Absolutely, we’ve always prided ourselves on really bringing it every single night, to us it doesn’t matter how many people are there or what the crowd response is like, you’re going to get our show at 11 no matter what the context, just super fun energy.
Madness To Creation: Speaking of a spectacle, what was your most embarrassing when you played a show?
Cal: There’s so many! We fall a lot, not to throw Steve(vocalist) under the bus, but we did a festival last year and we were opening up the festival and Steve jumps off of the drum riser and lands and immediately falls on his ass, he’s tripped over his own cables, Paul(bassist) has actually fallen off the stage, it was a low stage fortunately, so he wasn’t hurt, but he flew off the front of the stage and just faceplanted right into this poor woman’s stomach who was standing in the front row. That’s probably our most routine humiliation is falling off stage. Did you notice anything at the show?
Madness To Creation: I wouldn’t have ever known about the anchor pendant necklace going into your eye, you guys were just grooving the crowd to death, and what’s your favorite thing that the audience does at a Spirit Animal show?
Cal: Audiences usually gets really engaged with the back and forth, so we’ll ask the audience to sing along or do some stuff with him, and everyone is really gracious enough to participate, but one thing that sticks out to me is that there was this one show in particular, I think that I had mentioned to a fan or an interview maybe that I always wanted that experience on stage where everyone in the room was holding up their lighters and I was so sad that no one does that anymore now because everyone has cell phones now and no one smokes, which is good, but they don’t bring their lighters to the show as much, so in response to that, our fan club, which is known as “Spanimals” which is about a 1,000 person fan club, that we have online, they all brought lighters to the show during one of the tunes during the chorus to “Survival”, I think, that was pretty sick.
Madness To Creation: I miss the days when lighters would go up when there’s a ballad playing.
Cal: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying, the slower stuff, some people may think it’s a little cheesy, but I think it’s so cool!
Madness To Creation: Cell phones don’t have the same effect.
Cal: There’s no magic to cell phones, it doesn’t flicker.
Madness To Creation: Random question for you, let’s say President Donald Trump is at one of your shows in a moshpit, how do you react?
Cal: While I don’t like President Trump, I also don’t condone violence, I would probably just ignore him. I’m not going to stoop to his level and offer to pay anybody’s legal fees.
Madness To Creation: “Reborn Yesterday” has been released, what can people expect from it if they haven’t checked it out?
Cal: It’s a deluxe version from the album that came out last year, so it has all of the fan favorites from that album, but there’s also a short EP of some new stuff, there’s two new tracks that we released over the last previous couple months, one is called “Arm Candy” and the other one is called “Hydr8”, they’re both super fun party tracks, and we also have an acoustic version of our song “Yeah!”, which came out recently, so all three of those new tunes are on “Reborn Yesterday” as well along with all of the old stuff that we put out last year.
Madness To Creation: Take us into the video for “Arm Candy”!
Cal: I don’t want to! *laughs* I want to stay as far away from that video as possible.
Madness To Creation: You don’t have good memories of it?
Cal: No, it’s not that. I find it sort of horrific, something about Paul when he eats popcorn and his tongue keeps poking out between his lips and the way he’s licking his lips, it’s challenging to watch, but there’s a purpose and I’m really happy it came out the way that it did because that’s the way we wanted it to come out, I just choose personally not to watch or think about it ever. What did you think of it?
Madness To Creation: I found it to be absolutely hilarious, I love weird videos like that. I just love the feelgood vibe that your band Spirit Animal brings to the table.
Cal: It’s just fun and lighthearted, I think there’s something charming about the whole concept of the song, it’s reversing the conventions of what arm candy means to us and just playing to that.
Madness To Creation: Who would you ask to be your “Arm Candy” to prom back when you were in high school?
Cal: Can it just be anybody?
Madness To Creation: Let’s try challenging you a bit, let’s stick with high school.
Cal: Oh man, I don’t want to date myself, I have to say my girlfriend. *laughs* I don’t want to get in trouble.
Madness To Creation: What else would you like to add?
Cal: Our video “Painkiller” is out, which was directed by a super talented director named Carlos Lopez Estrada who made a terrific film last year called “Blindspotting”, which is off of Sundance and it’s kind of an indie hit, we’re excited that we got to work with him and he did a great job.
Madness To Creation: Thank you so much for your time Cal!
Cal: Thank you man, thanks for taking the time for us.
Spirit Animal will be providing support for The Cult this winter! Check them out on tour!
Fri. 12/6- Wellmont Theatre in New York, New York
Sat. 12/7- Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York
Sun. 12/8- The Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland
Tue. 12/10- The Paramount in Huntington, New York
Thu. 12/12- Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut
Fri. 12/13- Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Sat. 12/14- House of Blues in Boston, Massachusetts
For tickets and further information on The Cult with Spirit Animal, click here.