Japanese coffee, diamond jackets and living in the moment.
Best known as the creative force and frontman of the art-pop group Fischerspooner, Casey Spooner released his first solo project this fall, the album ‘Adult Contemporary.’ Produced by Jeff Saltzman and covering wide range of character, the emotional, rock-based songs are a departure from the conceptual electronic music Spooner has made with Warren Fischer. The album also features cameos from performance art queen Marina Abramovic and Scissor Sisters singer Jake Shears, with whom Spooner just returned from touring the United States.
Why did you call the album Adult Contemporary?
It was not easy to name this album. I typically like names that are kinda broad and vague. It is hard to find something that is descriptive and unique that doesn’t sound too gimmicky. I like that the word “adult” insinuates a bit of perversion, I like that “contemporary” makes me think of art, and I like that the two words together are a lame radio format for mellow, out-of-date music. I turned 40 this year, so I really wanted to embrace it and celebrate it. I think the title does that well.
How did you end up going on tour with the Scissor Sisters?
I was in Tokyo as the same time as the Scissors and they started discussing having me open for them. At first I said “NO WAY.” I had three weeks before the tour, no label, no money, I wasn’t even home to start the work, and had a calendar full of stuff I was committed to. Then I drank this unbelievable cup of coffee at a truck stop somewhere in Japan during a five-hour van ride, and I had one of those “AH-HA!” moments. I always knew that I wanted to use the early 1970s Marlene Dietrich concert as the basis for the look and feeling of my solo show. Very sophisticated and minimal. And I realised I could pull off this idea if I worked very quickly.
What has been your favorite part of working on this new project?
The pace! I made this album very quickly and everything about the production has been all about making fast decisions and moving quickly. I had to do all the packaging very fast, I had to sequence the album very quickly, I had 4 days to make the show. I am enjoying whipping everything together and not deliberating or wasting time.
What was it like being on tour with Scissor Sisters?
Initially it was really difficult. I had no time to prepare so I was learning how to perform the material on the road. As the opening act I didn’t get time to rehearse in soundcheck or anything. I was learning in front of an audience every night and making changes. John Garden, the Scissor Sisters musical director, was incredible. After my first, rather messy show, he stepped in and helped me to reprogram and mix the show. He saved my ass. The Sisters were really generous; it is fun to tour with your friends! But it was the first time I was ever an opening act. It was so different from the touring I do with Fischerspooner. Usually I am surrounded by tons of drama and energy and excitement and responsibility. Typically it takes 3 hours to get ready for an FS show. This solo performance was so stripped down and minimal, all I had to do was throw on a suit, drink some tea with whiskey, do a 5 minute vocal warm-up, and I was good to go. It was a big departure. And I was so ALONE. I was alone in my dressing room, alone on stage and alone afterwards. A totally different experience. I missed my Fischerspooner family.
Your look for this show is very stripped down compared to Fischerspooner, what is that all about?
I wanted to do something super elegant and chic. My image in FS is always extreme and avant-garde, but this material isn’t about that and I wanted to make a clear distinction between the two projects. I wore a bespoke Timothy Everest silver suit on the US tour that was really beautiful.
Timothy Everest and Mary Katrantzou also collaborated on the suit for me. She made the print and Timothy cut the suit. It is an amazing purple diamond print. I love evening clothes, and this show is perfect for them.
What are you doing next with the project? Music videos? Concert tour?
Luke Guilford directed a music video for the song “Spanish Teenager” that will premiere soon. I just did a live show at The Top Of The Standard, NYC. And I am considering how and if I will do more shows. I am most excited about staging performances for camera. It’s not really a music video, but more of a document of the show I did on the tour.
What were your inspirations while working on the album and the show?
I didn’t plan or think much before making any of this material. It was very in the moment. It really was about where I was at each day and what was happening in my life at that moment. Very spontaneous. Again everything about this material has been about the instantaneous, the immediate, the present, the right now, no deliberating, no wasting time, get it done. GO.
Adult Contemporary is available exclusively at caseyspooner.com.