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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Psychedelic


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Sprïng find themselves coming out of the psyche-closet on their new album Celebrations (March 4). An afterbirth of Vancouver’s post-hardcore group the SSRIs, the band is comprised of Jo Hirabayashi (guitar/vocals), Elliot Langford (guitar), Ridley Bishop (bass), and Kevin Romain (drums).

Celebrations deliberately mends heavy riffs with softer melodies to develop a dynamic sound that is familiar yet strangely experimental at the same time. The album is uniquely both self-recorded and produced in their home studio and is riddled with artful psyche-pop songs, where upon every listen you’ll discover different noises lurking amongst the soundscape.

Celebrations is the culmination of limitless hours spent in the studio by four friends wanting to get real experimental after they had found the perfect ratio of bong tokes to beers. Their songs effortlessly shift from blissful piano and guitar lines to climatic doomy solos with eardrum-shattering cymbals, all to bring you back again, tranquilly left in a peaceful stasis. I was hyped to meet Sprïng in their shared home to chat about their upcoming album and how they ultimately arrived at their new refined sound.

Entering the band’s mustard-yellow kitchen, the band greets me as they’re shooting the shit and doing their own things. Bishop is fiddling around with some guitar riff as Hirabayashi starts to boil some tea; Langford is slurping some soup, and Romain passes me a beer and tells me to take a seat. We begin talking about what led to the ultimate evolution of the band and how they shifted from the music of the SSRIs into Sprïng.

“Basically I was just tired of screaming at people all the time,” jokes Hirabayashi, “but I am slowly building up the urge to do it again.”

“Well, we initially tried to make another SSRIs album, but that never happened. We were all interested in writing newer stuff and exploring different sounds, so it just made sense to start fresh,” Langford adds.

Celebrations provides a sophisticated range of sounds drawing from many different genres including psych, folk, pop, hardcore, and jazz. There’s a ton of differing content on the album, but it never seems scattered or incongruous. All of the ranges and transitions are seamless. Sprïng find a way to blend explosively guitar-heavy tracks with soothing pop ditties containing piano, saxophone, ukulele, 12-string guitar, and bowed instruments. The band’s ability to compose an album with such a diverse array of musical contrasts was definitely assisted by their immediate access to their home recording studio.

“The songs were almost all written by mashing together different parts that we had jammed out. We never really tried to simply add stuff onto any particular jam, but worked with the recordings instead,” says Langford.

This technique of developing songs from a collage of random riffs and melodies is quite evident on Celebrations, where there is almost no evidence of a standard verse-chorus song structure. Instead, Sprïng will stock a song full, with six or seven parts of complex acoustic guitar lines, heavy blast beats, stoner-metal breakdowns, and some ripping solos.

“The songs take on a completely different structure because we were just figuring them out as we went along,” says Romain. “Some pretty weird stuff can happen when you’re searching for the sketchiest sounds possible. I once played a bow on an oscillating fan and it sounded cool, so we put it on the album.”
Sprïng used the recording process as a way to compose their songs in a way that the majority of up-and-coming bands cannot. With their own studio, they could spend countless hours fooling around without having to worry about the costly bill at the end of a recording session.

“It would have been cool to have just prepared a ton of songs and taken them to Steve Albini” laughs Hirabayashi. “But even then, there is no way the album would have turned out the way it did. I look at having our own space as an investment for future albums to come.”

“There were times when we would just be insanely messed up, all hanging out and then we would see what could come out of it. We had this unsung rule that no matter what, the first suggestion would be what goes in. It didn’t matter how ridiculous it was, that’s just how it went,” says Bishop.

“Without the studio, none of the random subtleties would have been thrown in. I hope everyone can catch something different each time they listen to the album, whether it be just someone coughing or the few lyrical bars of ‘The Sweater Song’ in the background of one track,” remarks Hirabayashi.

“What?” Langford interjects, “I had no idea that was in there.”

Celebrations pushes the boundaries of studio experimentation and draws on a myriad of antecedent influences. The insane psychedelic songs build upon the familiar to inevitably stick in your head for weeks.
When asking how they would label their sound, the band laughs and starts speaking over each other trying to come up with the most absurd description. With answers ranging from “trippy songs with trippy stories” to “casual sex and riffs,” Sprïng eventually settles on calling themselves a “trans-idiomatic-post-concept-post-anti-solo rock band.” Revealing how even though they might have made an austere and dark album, they are far from taking themselves too seriously. - Discorder

ON THE FENCE outside of the East Vancouver house in which the four members of Sprïng all live, a small laminated sign advertises the Mt. Pleasant Music Teachers Co-op. It promises lessons from “qualified, professional, experienced” teachers in piano, guitar, bass, saxophone, and drums, and this is evidence of the band’s extensive musical expertise.

“We all went to jazz school,” frontman Joseph Hirabayashi explains. “Me and [guitarist] Elliot [Langford] are degree-holders.”

The four friends are gathered around their kitchen table on a snowy Saturday afternoon, and Hirabayashi nods toward bassist Ridley Bishop and drummer Kevin Romain and adds, “These guys are dropouts.” This prompts laughter and mock celebration from the rhythm section, and Romain facetiously flashes the devil horns.

Despite Sprïng’s advanced training, the members haven’t always flaunted their musical proficiency. Hirabayashi and Langford previously headed up the post-hardcore outfit SSRIs, a band that favoured frantic noisemaking over melodic clarity.

“There was a lot of ‘fuck you’ in that band and a lot of rejection of musicianship and being abrasive and confrontational to the audience, which sometimes felt really good,” Langford reflects. “But if it was the wrong place, it felt bad—like you’re the guy coming to the party that no one invited and barfing everywhere.”

Once Romain and Bishop joined the lineup, the new material began to take on a textured, more tunefully psychedelic style. The overhauled sound was so different that SSRIs opted to change their name to Sprïng—with an umlaut to help make their online presence more distinctive.

Hirabayashi notes that, while SSRIs were known for their blistering tempos and hairpin structural shifts, the new songs are far more technically demanding despite being slower-paced. “We have fingerpicking parts,” he notes. “It’s one thing to play complex time signatures with a math-rock band, and it’s another thing trying to do a little bit of that, but also have nice tone on the guitar.”

This combination of complex musicianship and sonic beauty is at the heart of Sprïng’s debut album, the self-produced Celebrations. Cuts like “In the Morning” and “You’re the One” mix perky folk grooves with layered acoustic textures and lush vocal harmonies. Elsewhere, the seven-minute “Loretta” swells from pastoral balladry to a pummelling crescendo of heavy-metal megariffs, while opener “To Accuse” showcases Langford’s guitar heroics by culminating in a solo of frenzied six-string shredding.

SSRIs never played solos, but Langford admits, “The fact is that I’m a guitar dork and I think solos are awesome. I got over my punk-rock self.”

The album’s ’60s-inflected sound was inspired in part by the musicians’ past work in a Beatles cover band called the Taxmen. That project dates back a few years to when SSRIs decided to stage a house show for Hirabayashi’s 25th birthday.

Romain remembers, “We were like, ‘Let’s learn the White Album and have a party for Jo’s birthday. We’ll just throw it together.’ Then we realized, if we were going to do this, we should do it note-for-note as much as we could. So we went and got transcriptions of the harmonies and spent a lot of time learning to do weird things that they do on the record.”

In the Taxmen, Langford played the role of George Harrison, Romain was Ringo Starr, SSRIs member Aaron McKinney was John Lennon, and Hirabayashi was Paul McCartney. Hirabayashi notes that Sir Paul’s style of storytelling inspired him when he was writing for Celebrations.

“Each song is just a scene, with descriptions of events happening in the scene,” he says about his lyrics. “I don’t think there’s any definitive moral stance in any of them. That’s the whole thing about people debating the Bible so much, or what you take from the story of Abraham and Isaac. Oftentimes, when people are looking at these stories and they’re looking for the moral or the meaning, it’s very much dependent on the people who are looking at the stories, not necessarily the story itself.”

The group has been touring in the lead-up to Celebrations, and more trips are planned for after the LP’s release. This jam-packed schedule has meant that the busy musicians, all of whom have played in numerous bands in recent years, have had to scale back some of their other projects. Bishop tells Romain, “There was a point two years ago where you said you were in 14 regularly rehearsing bands.”

With the guys now focused primarily on Sprïng—although still making time for a select few other endeavours—they’re looking forward to packing into a van and heading across Western Canada this month. Since they’re housemates, they’re used to spending long hours together in close quarters. This personal rapport, Langford says, is the real key to the ensemble’s chemistry.

“To have a band, I feel like the most important thing, more so than people’s abilities on an instrument, is getting along and being friends,” he reflects. “It’s a good vibe, it’s fun. We get together and we hang out afterwards and everyone’s good friends.”

Sprïng plays the Rickshaw Theatre on Friday (March 7). The band also plays free afternoon Vancouver International Dance Festival shows with Kokoro Dance at Woodward’s Atrium on Sunday (March 9) and the Roundhouse on March 16. - The Georgia Straight

In recent memory, I can’t recall a more pronounced winter musical hibernation than the one that occurred between this last December and January. Whatever the reason, more than one shell was being crawled out of at the Biltmore, where a stellar lineup of musicians took to the stage in support of Sprïng.

Sprïng is not SSRIs, but it’s likely that almost everyone who ever got a kick out of seeing that spastic post-hardcore outfit tear up tiny venues with jazzy, Deerhoof-inspired noise will find equal solace in Sprïng. Made up of ex-SSRIs members Joseph Hirabayashi, Elliot Langford, Kevin Romain, and Ridley Bishop, the new band is a culmination of their many side-projects, including Aunts & Uncles and Thee Ahs. This is a very good thing.

Their set, ripe with acoustic finger-picking as well as ridiculous jazz explosions, was as energetic as it was mesmerizing — Hirabayashi has a very distinct but utterly exotic way of writing songs that no other band even comes close to touching. The jazz nerds dug into Romaine’s creative drumming and everyone else danced around at every breakdown. Sprïng is not SSRIs, even if a little part of me wanted them to be, but what they are is even better. - Discorder

It is getting late on a Wednesday evening, and I’m sitting in the kitchen of the East Van house that all four members of Sprïng call home, surrounded by boxes containing CD copies of their debut album Celebrations. Living together “is like tour training!” is the apt description put forth by Ridley, the bass player, and the idea is that cohabitation will better prepare the band for the close quarters of a tour van. The simulation even extends beyond the home, with the band members taking turns driving their newly-acquired bus-turned RV around Vancouver, getting used to navigating city streets in their new travelling headquarters.

If this behaviour sounds calculated, that’s because precision is a familiar practice for the former SSRIs. When the established math-punk band underwent some lineup changes early last year, they soon decided a new name and a fresh start were in order. Celebrations features the technical mastery longtime fans have come to expect from SSRIs founders Elliot and Jo, but with a decidedly more accessible overall feel. The songs on Celebrations feature psychedelic melodies riding complex arrangements that reveal something new with each listen. While the softly sung vocals and slower tempos sound inviting, drummer Kevin assures me “a lot of these songs are actually a lot harder to play than the old stuff.”

The band recorded the album at home over the course of six months in Jo’s studio, a process that allowed them freedom to experiment with different sounds and to use their equipment to its full potential. Some songs came together piece by piece over time, while others such as lead single “Follow” were recorded quickly, after just a few practice takes. The result is a diverse-sounding record with lush, psychedelic arrangements and the kind of jaw-dropping displays of virtuosity that are sure to make any live show an unforgettable experience.

As I got ready to leave the house, the guys remarked that they would be up all night preparing for a tour up and down the US West Coast. They were visibly excited to get to use their new van and to take their new album on the road.

Celebrations (Self Released) is out March 4th. Catch Sprïng at The Rickshaw on March 7th.

By Justin Penney - BeatRoute

Spring’s (ex-SSRIs) “Yer Chimurenga” has sprung forth both a visually hypnotic video and a radiantly buoyant tune. Director Josh Nisbeth constructed this pleasantly delirious clip, airing his evidently masterful talent in the computer animation department. An ensemble of flickering designs glimmer across the screen adorned with triangles, leafs and cartoon faces, all bouncing to the rhythm of Spring’s sparkly tumult of sound. - Weird Canada

Vancouver noisemakers the SSRIs previously specialized in tightly wound post-hardcore, but the group have now changed both their sound and their name. They are now known as Spring and they will make their hometown debut later this month.

While the SSRIs' sound relied on keyboards and processed electronics, an announcement notes that the new project emphasizes "acoustic instruments and vocal harmonies" and finds the players "tempering complex arrangements with stripped-down pop sensibility."

The new songs reportedly draw from '60s British psych and feature diverse arrangements that shift "from warm, delicate finger-picked passages to vast, doomy riffage." This apparently sounds so different from the SSRIs' previous material that they opted to change their name.

The band will make their debut as Spring on June 19 at the Biltmore with openers Nam Shub and Boha. They will debut a music video for a song called "Yer Chimurenga" at the show, and they plan to release a full-length album later this year. Tours of North America and Japan are planned for 2014.

Stay tuned for the aforementioned video to arrive online later this month. - Exclaim!

Vancouver eclectics SSRIs rebranded themselves as Sprïng last year, and with the March 4 release of their debut album less than a month away, they have confirmed plans for a tour of Western Canada in support of Celebrations.

The outing includes eight shows. After playing a few dates in their home province of British Columbia, the band will head east to the Prairies. See the itinerary below.

Scroll past that to stream the newly unveiled track "You're the One." It's a tuneful acoustic pop number that gets noisier and artier as it goes along, but it's still a whole lot more instantly palatable than the previously unveiled "Follow."

Expect a video to arrive later this month.

Tour dates:

03/07 Vancouver, BC - Rickshaw Theatre
03/14 Nanaimo, BC - The Cambie
03/15 Victoria, BC - The Copper Owl
03/18 Regina, SK - O'Hanlons
03/19 Winnipeg, MB - Natural Cycle
03/20 Saskatoon, SK - Vangelis Tavern
03/21 Edmonton, AB - Wunderbar
03/22 Calgary, AB - TBA - Exclaim!

At first glance, the cover of Sprïng’s Celebrations appears an idyll, if busy, pastoral scene. And then you notice the broken tree over a pit of bodies. And the kettles with hands. And the centaur vacuuming up a cat and pile of fruit.

The painting sits in the living room of the house Sprïng’s membership lives in, commissioned by a friend to adorn the band’s debut album with a sense of everything contained within it.

“It’s just representative of the whole album,” guitarist Elliot Langford explains. “All the songs are actually represented on the album cover. All those little details; if you listen to the lyrics of the album, [they’re] part of every song.”

“It’s a little bit of a Where’s Waldo,” adds drummer Kevin Romain. “You can look through the art and relate the lyrics.”

Romain and Langford are perched around a speakerphone with vocalist Joseph Hirabayashi, together comprising three fourths of Sprïng (bassist Ridley Bishop is absent). And the eclectic cover painting’s an apt representation of the music the band makes: Celebrations is a psychedelic, impressionistic and frequently complicated feat of musicianship. It often seems to present multiple ideas at once: lush pop harmonies and piano-led arrangements dive into acid-jazz breakdowns, switch gears with guitar squeals and folk strums, and back again.

“We knew we wanted to make a psychedelic record,” Hirabayashi says. “That as a genre has a big variety of approaches. It was cool to try and figure out what that meant, as far as composing a record. And we also knew we wanted a record; a lot of the writing was informed by what was already written as songs, and what the record needed to be a balanced record as a whole unit.”

The music’s complicated take on the genre stems from an honest meld of influences: not only is the band built from a particularly varied spread of former Vancouver bands—Sprïng’s combined CV includes time in the SSRIs, The Rebel Spell, Thee Ahs, Aunts and Uncles, and more–but also, all four of its members have studied jazz to a post-secondary extent.

“Jazz is just a very old form of music compared to pop or rock; people have developed a really codified way of teaching it,” Romain says. “Using the style to get really good at music in general; myself, I’m really influenced by jazz drumming, I really love the music. But largely, if you can hack your way through some beebop solos, it gives you some chops to be able to do whatever you want with music. ”

That also means Celebrations‘ shifting time signatures and hairpin musical turns were relatively easy to pin down when it came time to record. The album’s filled with third or fourth takes of songs—some of which were never really meant to be recreated live, either, which has proven a different sort of feat for the band. Everyone in the band plays multiple instruments, and to perform some of Celebrations in front of audiences, they’ll end up switching what they’re playing two or three times in the span of a few moments.

“There’s one song, ‘Storyteller’ that we just figured out a live version for, which we didn’t have any intention of doing,” Hirabayashi says, earning a laugh out of the other two. “That was one where we totally recorded that track with no intention of actually ever trying to repeat that live. But then we went and figured it out—it’s fun to try and cover your own band.”

Fri, Mar 21 (9 pm)
With [willscott], N3K
Wunderbar, $10 - Vue Weekly


Still working on that hot first release.



The musicians of Sprng have been playing together in various incarnations for more than six years. The band is made up of some of the busiest tour-hardened musicians in East Vancouvers vibrant music scene. Having been instrumental in the success of bands like psych rock quartet SSRIs, and acclaimed indie pop experimentalists Aunts & Uncles, Bleating Hearts and Thee Ahs, the seasoned multi-instrumentalists of Sprng are poised to launch an exciting career bolstered by their previous successes.

As SSRIs, Jo and Elliot self-released a full length album, three EPs and toured across Canada three times. The band received accolades for their explosive live performances and their musically adventurous mix of genres, and were featured on the cover of the Georgia Straight leading up to the release of their acclaimed full length Effeminate Godzilla Sized Windchimes. SSRIs played over 150 shows in including opening spots for renowned international acts (Electric Six, The Most Serene Republic) and festival appearances including the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Olio, Sled Island, Music Waste and Shindig.

Now comprised of four diverse musicians (Kevin and Ridley joined forces with Jo and Elliot in 2012) who work regularly in a staggeringly wide variety of styles, the band has taken a new approach to songwriting, tempering complex arrangements with stripped-down pop sensibility. The heavily processed electronic sounds of SSRIs are joined by acoustic instruments and vocal harmonies, creating a spatial duality that bounces between the familiar and the unexplored.

Sprng's first full-length release, Celebrations, exists in a lush and dynamic landscape, traversing sonic territory from warm, delicate finger-picked passages to vast, doomy riffage. With a tip of the hat to the British psychedelic movement of the 1960s, they have achieved a cohesive aesthetic all their own. The record is set to be released in early 2014, with tours of North America and Japan to follow.

Band Members