An Interview With the Psycheldelic Rockers SPACE4LEASE!
Posted On 13 Sep 2017
Meet the alternative indie psych-rockers SPACE4LEASE! Although described as “psychedelic rock” their music remains elusive to being firmly stuck to any one genre, and pulls from a number of influences.
Their recently released single “Lately,” is a song that explores the heartbreaking experience of falling for someone without reciprocation. “Lately” comes as the third single in a series of releases, as the band is planning a unique approach to the release of their new work, culminating in a new EP this fall. Their first two singles premiered on Groundsounds (link) and Idobi (link). Additionally the band has an exclusive live video of “Lately”, filmed at the Diamond Ballroom.
The story of SPACE4LEASE originated in 2014, when keyboardist Grayson Hamm met the other members while attending the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma. Coming from vastly different musical backgrounds and tastes, the group formed as a unique convergence of influences. They released their first EP Hiraeth in November 2016, a collection of songs encompassing a journey of self-discovery. Buoyed by a blossoming local music scene, the band quickly became known in the Oklahoma region and have toured extensively throughout the Midwest. Derek Brown of The Flaming Lips, described them as, “Fellow Okies that wonderfully mix the blissfulness and melancholy of the great wide open. Highly recommended!” With the fantastical glamour of psychedelic pop influences, but enough grit and grime of grounded originality, SPACE4LEASE is like no other in their blend of refreshingly authentic and enticing music that will draw you close, and hold you tight.
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Learn more about SPACE4LEASE in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Where does this interview find the band today? Is there music playing in the background? What music do you all like to listen to when you are relaxing or answering interview questions?
Walt Blythe: Sitting here in OKC, it’s a rainy day out. Grayson, Caleb and I just had a nice late breakfast at a classic diner. We’re full of coffee and now currently listening to The Districts’ new record… on repeat.
How does 2017 so far compare to last year? Did you all approach this year differently then you did 2016?
Walt Blythe: We’ve grown a lot in the last year. I think we’ve all gained a better sense of ourselves and also how we want to place ourselves into the industry. We put out an EP November 2016 and it went over well, but we decided to take 2017 a different direction. We’re spreading out singles, various video content, and to share a ‘lil secret, maybe even an acoustic compilation a little down the line. Relevancy is huge and that’s a big focus now. We also are staying pretty consistent with last years numbers on touring gigs, but of course growing in outside towns, getting acquainted with new ones and branching a little further out each time.
Growing up, did you always want to be musicians?
Walt Blythe: For all us music was always around. Grayson’s grandfather played the grand piano and eventually his ended up in Grayson’s childhood home. This really inspired him to take a go at it.
Brandon’s dad, Stevie, and grandpa, Don, both are guitar players and singers. Stevie played in bands and Brandon was raised around that. It’s definitely where he gets his pipes.
Wes also had uncles who played in a great band around Oklahoma and really all over called Headroom. If I’m not mistaken, they gave him his first kit early on and always had him around playing.
None of my family are musicians, although my dad is super creative in his own routes. That inspired me to take that to music. My grandmother also had little ukuleles around when I was only a few years old. I was really drawn to how it felt in my hands. So by the time I was capable to learn, it started.
So to answer the question after a little background, I think it was always around us but never pressured onto us so I think individually we all gravitated towards that whether we knew it was what we wanted to do or not.
Can you recall the moment you realized that you could really make music together and be a band? Why do you think your name truly represents this group and the music that you create?
Walt Blythe: Grayson and I met through a different project that I was helping a friend record demos for. We worked well recording on that project and we got together to play on our own. I think in the first week we put together and wrote around nine originals. With neither of us being from OKC and new to the city, it’s just what we did every night. It felt really right and didn’t fade off. As the other members joined in, Brandon and Wes, the energy stayed the same or better yet grew.
To be honest we’re really not sure about how the name represents the music. No good answer really. I think it’s just different. We don’t try to overthink it or put too much context to it. Musically we’re a little different, an interesting blend, so that’s about as close as we can get.
I always like to ask artists how their hometown has been an influence on the kind of music they make and really what kind of a band they are today. So how do you think your hometown has affected you?
Walt Blythe: Me personally, my hometown is very blues represented. Growing up learning guitar I was always looking up and mentored by some great players. From that I learned to improvise, play by ear and be at the right place at the right time in a band situation. But to be honest the music scene has always been lacking and kind of a run around of the same ole same ole. That for sure led me to venture out. I tried new things, searched outwards and found my own way musically.
What was the inspiration for your latest single “Lately”? What was it like making the video for “Lately”? How creatively involved were you all with the making of it?
Grayson Hamm: The lyrics came to me one day after experiencing the all-too-common feeling of falling for someone without reciprocation. The truth is, I didn’t know what I was getting into and probably will never fully understand it. We have all experienced that uncomfortable moment in which we have stronger feelings for someone than they have for us, even if we refuse to admit it out of embarrassment or shame. I’ve reached the point multiple times in my life where I ask the question, “Who I am to you?” How does this person see me compared to how I see them? This cyclical pattern is emotionally exhausting, so I decided to channel these feelings the best way I know how: though the process of songwriting. “Lately” is all about asking these difficult questions. Sometimes it is more helpful to look introspectively rather than to direct the questions toward the one we might be falling for. I feel that many of us are guilty of accepting unfair treatment from a potential significant other in the hopes that we will someday win this individual over. Too often, we do things out of the ordinary and things that maybe aren’t necessarily typical behavior. Perhaps part of your life revolved around a misconception of “false love,” or infatuation, and I have found from personal experience that it isn’t healthy. A healthy, solid relationship is “not supposed to be this hard,” or as hard as I have made it in the past. We just have to be comfortable with ourselves and ultimately be confident while accepting the fact that people come and go in our lives.
Walt Blythe: The song musically came to emulate the lyrics, reflective of the emotions that swing in and out of relationships. It begins abruptly with a big and impactful sound before flowing to a deep vibe-y reverb washed B-section. Surprisingly, this happened impromptu within the writing session as the chorus literally fell into a somewhat goofy and bouncy rhythm, which felt so right but so wrong at first. In the end, it completely made the track what it is now. Post chorus, Lately quickly pauses before starting the cycle over. Love situations emotionally follow this same up and down pattern of the song. In “Lately’s” case, our own self-realizations of quick love came to thoroughly match the musicality and dynamics within the song. When dealing with “false love” like Grayson mentioned, emotions may be felt then quickly change, and as quick as they change they also repeat and start again.
How do you think “Lately” prepares listeners for your EP which will be released this fall?
Walt Blythe: I think it’s a vital piece to a time in our lives. From the lyrical representation to how we’ve grown and shaped as humans and musicians. This whole EP is a direct result of us developing in both those realms.
How has your summer been going? Do you have plans to play out live the rest of it?
Walt Blythe: It’s been great! In the short time we’ve had off between recording, personally I’ve been able to see some truly amazing shows including Post Animal in ATX and White Denim on a river festival in Arkansas. Spent some late nights into early mornings at the fest picking with members of all the headlining bands, including Arkansauce, Hot Buttered Rum and the Squashers. Had to get back on my chops there, but was such a great and inviting musical situation.
We’re also continuing to write and come up with new ideas for stuff. We hit the road next week for an Arkansas show in Fayetteville, one of our favorite and most fun towns. Then we head out to Colorado for a few in Fort Collins and Denver with friend bands Tyto Alba & Mirror Fields. Then Wichita Kansas on the way back in.
We’ll be releasing a big list of fall dates here in the next few weeks. Be prepared for that folks.
Where do you think you are happiest- on stage performing, in the studio recording new music or elsewhere?
Walt Blythe: In all of them really. Feeling EXPLOSIVE crowd energy gets me churning. Discovering a new part in the studio or while mixing and taking interesting routes and something unexpected really hits, EXPLOSIVE. While jamming and coming up with a new song idea and it clicks on the spot, also EXPLOSIVE.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Is there anyone that you would still love to work with in the future? What would be a dream collaboration for this band?
Walt Blythe: Writing a song with Mac Demarco and Evan Stephens Hall of Pinegrove would be top on the list I can say for all of us. Touring with the Districts, their live shows are unreal. Also just being able to keep collaborating together and hanging with our other musical friends here in town and all over.
Recent listens have been Andy Shauf, Mac Demarco, Post Animal, Hippo Campus, China Gate, Turnover, The Districts, Kendrick Lamar, The Bright Light Social Hour, Horse Thief, Big Thief, Calvin Harris (new album surprisingly amazing), Beach Boys.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
Walt Blythe: Be yourself. Stay inspired, and inspire others.
What advice would you give to a band just getting started? Or even to someone young that is thinking of becoming a musician one day
Walt Blythe: Make your own way. Be confident in whatever you decide and don’t let the industry scare you cause it’s real scary sometimes. It’s easily discouraging, but surround yourself with driven people. Listen to everyone, there’s always a lesson to be learned good or bad.
Thanks for talking with us!!