5 Minutes With Spanish Love Songs

Los Angeles formed five-piece Spanish Love Songs returned with latest LP, 'No Joy', earlier this year to huge acclaim.

The record follows 2020's stellar 'Brave Faces Everyone' - a record the indie-punks didn't get chance to tour extensively - and sees the band instantly return to form.

We caught up with frontman Dylan Slocum to discuss their forthcoming UK headline tour, balancing the setlist with old favourites and new directions, plus lots more.

Check out the full interview below.

You’ve just completed a run of UK shows with Hot Mulligan – how was that for you?

Great! We haven't done a full UK tour since 2020, so it was nice to be back. There are a few places we hadn’t been, including Nottingham, since maybe 2018 or 2019 so it was great to see some old friends and new faces – the audiences have been great too which always helps make it a good time.

Your new record, ‘No Joy’, was released while you’ve been on the road – was that a conscious choice when looking at release dates?

We were holding back a little bit at the shows because it was still pretty new and it is hard to play a lot of it the week it comes out because people don’t really know it. Also, we didn’t get to do a lot of touring for our last record ‘Brave Faces Everyone’ so we wanted to give service to both albums.

Brave Faces Everyone’ and ‘Schmaltz’ felt like a turning point for Spanish Love Songs – did you get a similar feel for that internally?

I don’t think so – we have a hard time working out where we are or what our stature is, but it doesn’t really concern us. We want to be popular and the more popular we get it feels better and the job gets easier, but it isn’t something we stress about. As long as people keep showing up and the crowds go up instead of down then we’re doing something right. The pandemic didn’t help because any success that we’d gained was stripped away almost instantly, so we were back to living ‘normal’ lives with the band being a second job again. I’m making it sound like a burden, but what I mean is it is something we have to be responsible for and not take for granted.

In terms of responsibility, the last two albums have been released via Pure Noise Records – do you feel like there’s a pressure to work towards their sound?

They’re not that type of label which is great! They trust that people are going to do their jobs and it be a success. Of course we send them demos and if the songs suck they would be like ‘this isn’t what we’re looking for’, but that hasn’t happened yet and thankfully they’ve been excited by whatever we’ve sent over. It is a good working relationship because we’re usually on the same page.

You mentioned the pandemic earlier and releasing ‘Brave Faces Everyone’ around then – did ‘No Joy’ feel like a complete reset and a fresh start?

Kind of, yeah! We definitely held off from doing new music for a while after ‘Brave Faces Everyone’ was released. I’m not sure if it was intentional or we just put it aside temporarily, but we didn’t even start writing the album until the end of 2021 or start of 2022. Then we started recording this album in August 2022 and it was only released recently. It was great to be able to take some time off, but we all felt that if we waited any longer for normality that we still don’t really have, then the album would probably never materialise.

You have some new shows in January 2024 – can we expect ‘No Joy’ to heavily feature on the setlist?

Absolutely! That will be enough time for people to sit with the album and absorb it – with the Hot Mulligan shows we’ve been playing shorter sets to new crowds so there’s a conversation of ‘what shall we play to bring them back next time?’ For a lot of people that aren’t really at the show for us, they might know a few of our bigger songs so we’ll definitely play those, but it is impossible to play everything everyone wants to hear and not disappoint someone. Our set runs pretty tight with the synths and changes so we can’t really do as many requests as we’d like, but when we play longer shows we will definitely be able to see how the crowd is reacting and change it if we need to.

As you release more albums, does it become increasingly difficult to curate a setlist that both flows how you want it to and keep the fans happy?

I love having so much material to work with because we try and build a set with no skips. We got to a point this year with festival shows and the Hot Mulligan dates where we could play for 45 minutes without stopping. Previously we’ve had to extend outros and even throw covers in to fill the slots, but now we’re leaving out songs that people love. It is sad when people don’t get to hear the tracks they want – like we always used to open with ‘Routine Pain’ and close with ‘Brave Faces, Everyone’ because they match the energy of the set, but to evolve we may need to eventually change that.

What else can we expect from Spanish Love Songs between now and 2024?

A lot more touring really. We can’t say much more than the shows that are already confirmed with Hot Mulligan across the US, but touring takes us up to around Christmas – then we’ll be home for around two weeks before heading back out on the road and return to the UK and Europe. We can’t wait!

Final tickets for Spanish Love Songs' shows in January are on sale now.

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Hey - I'm Callum. Fan of The National, collector of vinyl, season ticket holder at Leeds United, owner of Dougal the cat.

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