Since the release of their second album, the life-affirming “queer punk” of Try To Be Hopeful, Edinburgh four-piece The Spook School have been finding rightfully-deserved comfort in who they are.
The influence the record has had on them is evident, the band coming across, in their own wonderfully welcoming way, as simply embracing the opportunities afforded to them. “Because we were a lot more forthright and honest with our lyrics maybe it became easier for people to really understand what we were singing about all along.” Singer and guitarist Nye Todd explains when contemplating the band’s progress since. “When we started out we didn’t exist in any kind of scene in Edinburgh and now we’re finding other people who are singing about the same sort of things as us, and realising the world is so much bigger.”
The scenes we discuss don’t figure in a geographical sense, with the group making like-minded friends not only in the UK but across the Atlantic; their recent tour with PWR BTTM seemingly having a really positive effect on them. Now with talk of a third album being recorded and ready, the future only looks brighter and more actualising for the band: “I feel like the last album was very affirmative in realising and accepting your own identity,” drummer Niall McCamley confirms. “I suppose with this one it’s a bit more about some of the bumps along the way, and the regrets.” “I think it’s a definite continuation from the previous two records,” guitarist Adam Todd adds. “It deals with a lot of the bigger issues but from a personal level.”
“You can tell everyone really appreciates the acceptant community”
The degree of personal passion that the group invest into their music is undeniable, and when contemplating whether their own perception of happiness is difficult to define, the group don’t shy away or overstate themselves. “I think when we are writing we don’t have this big overarching idea that’s going to go into it, we are limited by our own personal experiences and the way we feel.” Nye determines openly. “We try not to be purely serious or purely optimistic,” Adam adds, “but certainly when playing live we are a bit silly”.
On the notion of their sprightly shows, the band are embracing the previously-discussed sense of community that they feel is developing from them. “It’s difficult not to have fun at shows, and I think lots of queer kids or gender non-conforming folk are coming and you can tell everyone really appreciates the acceptant community.” Their desire to raise awareness of the queer and gender non-conforming community has shown them just how vital their voice is. “Once you show a venue how many queer kids are out there or how many people will really appreciate gender-neutral toilets, it’s something that hopefully starts as a small wave and can kind of grow, but again you can only start doing things through your own personal actions,” Nye explains.
The Spook School’s music is obviously having an integral influence on those who listen. When asked whether it is simple to comprehend, the group are noticeably humble. “I think it’s something that we can understand and emphasise with because we are all also navigating our own understanding of our own gender or sexuality” McCamley says, as Adam concludes “we’ve definitely – as individuals – grown, shifted or learnt a different understanding of ourselves by going through the experience of being in the band.”
With each record they release and each show they play, The Spook School are becoming a more vital part of the UK music scene, simply on their own terms.
The Spook School play The Stag & Hounds on 13th May. Their album ‘Try To Be Hopeful’ is out now via Fortuna POP! Check out ‘Speak When You’re Spoken To’ below.