SPINN live at The Magnet, Liverpool

‘Look, my t-shirt says “Swollen but golden” on it.’ Jonny has the mumps. But he’s not letting it put a damper on his band’s gig tonight: ‘I’m getting better now so I can sing fine but I’ve just got fucking big cheeks.’

It’s a pretty drizzly day and the long, uphill walk from Liverpool Lime Street Train Station to The Magnet, where SPINN are set to perform later that evening, was enough to challenge my #FridayFeeling. But Jonny, lead singer and guitarist of SPINN, could probably improve any mood, either with one of his upbeat ‘dreampop’ tunes or with his chirpy attitude, not to mention that soft kind of Scouse accent that brings any story to life. And he has quite a lot of stories. For example: ‘I know that lad once who made it to Glastonbury a couple of years ago and he stood at the front for the 1975 and just threw sausages at Matty Healy. That’s what he said anyway.’

I ask him how he managed to come down with the mumps. ‘It’s my mate right, he always steals everyones pints. He had the mumps and then took a sip of my pint when I wasn’t looking so I got the mumps from taking a sip of my own fucking pint.’ He throws his arms up, faux exasperated. His t-shirt does indeed say ‘Swollen but golden,’ scrawled in a mixture of red and yellow felt tip pen. In a way this sartorial choice sums up SPINN’s whole vibe: they’re up for a laugh but ready for you to listen. Their social media presence cements this further with their last tweet at the time of writing: ‘Just saw the 1975’s trnsmt slot; to the girl crying her eyes out during robbers, honestly mate, same.’ Their bio describes them as #ApproachableLads.

 

Other than the homemade slogan tee, Jonny describes his style as ‘“Quirky boy chic.” But I’ve started spelling chic like c-h-i-q-u-e.That’s cool isn’t it?’ That effortless teenage boy grin, equal parts cute and goofy, would probably go with any outfit. ‘I always wear white socks – that’s essential – and usually like a t-shirt I always like baggy pants as well. I usually shop online or Pop Boutique then see what Gucci are up to as well.’

Jonny explains his musical beginnings: ‘I just kind of picked up a guitar one day, because we had one in my house, and I just started picking on it and my dad said to me “Son- (he laughs and puts on his best fatherly voice) Son, if ya learn a song I’ll get some new strings for ya.” So I learnt a song. I learned Blackbird by The Beatles. And my dad was like fair enough, and he got me some new strings.’ His link to Liverpool’s most famous musical export is strong: Jonny grew up around the corner from where The Beatles met, close to John Lennon’s house, on actual Strawberry Fields. ‘I might get a tattoo of a strawberry,’ he smirks. ‘I embraced the Beatles stuff a lot for a while but then people started to make fun of me like “Oh there’s that kid that loves the Beatles!” so I was like for fucks sake.’

‘My first musical memory from when I was a kid was when I was sat there with my cousin and he put Kylie Minogue on and I just thought “this is shite.” And I wanted to find something better. I bought my first ever two CDs on the same day. For some reason I got Ed Sheeran – Plus. I mean that’s a good album but I’m not into it as much anymore. I got it on the same day as a David Bowie quadruple CD.’ I told him he should just tell the Bowie story. ‘I do most of the time,’ he laughs. So what’s on his playlist at the moment? ‘At the minute I’ve been listening to a band called Half Man Half Biscuit. It’s kind of like satirical stuff and they’ve got this song called Just Give Us Bubble Wrap where they sing about how everything could be solved if we had a big roll of bubble wrap.’

Jonny’s self-deprecating tone comes through in his pleasant drawl over SPINN’s latest single ‘Notice Me,’ which is literally a shout out to radios stations to give them more plays. Jonny explains that writing the songs is a team effort, but he writes the lyrics. ‘It’s usually like shite love songs. My uncle said if you get in a band and you’ll get loads of girls it will be great. I’ve got a girlfriend already so its sound. But none of us have had any attention from girls. A lot of my songs are about my girlfriend. I know that sounds really sloppy and horrible but I don’t usually tell her. Nah, sometimes I do write about politics. That’s as edgy as it goes. I’ve got this one where I moan about England for a bit. I feel like Morrissey, it’s great. I try to work harder and I’ve expanded my vocabulary a lot – is that the word? I’ve had to many beers. I know my mums gonna read this so I’ve said I can’t drink because of my antibiotics but I have had too many beers.’

While being in band might not have resulted in a lot of female attention, Jonny says he has mostly enjoys the social aspect of playing shows and meeting people. ‘It’s like a big massive family and then when you meet other bands and it feels dead nice. Thats my favourite part about being in a band. I like being able to just follow around people that I like at festivals like Cabbage and In Heaven.’ The future will definitely hold a lot more fun for SPINN, as their name shows up on more radio playlists and their Spotify and Soundcloud plays increase. ‘If we get signed with a nice juicy record label – I’m looking at your recorder now – if we get a lovely deal, then we might get a flat. I like Liverpool for now but if we have to move to London I’d be quite happy to move to London. I like London a lot. It’s just cool isn’t it? And everything’s bigger.’

The show is filling up by the time we finish our chat and Jonny offers me a can of cider from the table. The band don’t come on until late and put on an incredible party. Jonny gives his mum and nan a shout out while boys clamber on to each others shoulders and the crowd get dancing. Lots of fans sing a long with ‘Notice Me’ and SPINN’s other singles ‘Home’ and ‘Bliss’ stir things up as well. In an era seriously lacking in indie pop, this band could fill the hole that early Maxïmo Park and dreamy debut album The Kooks singles left in your life.

Words Alex Bee

Photos Lauren Keir

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