Borrowing from many styles — including jazz, soul, funk, dance pop, etc. — The Spandettes create a unique sound perfect for a laid-back summer soundtrack. Led by vocalists Alex Tait, Maggie Hopkins, and Lizzy Clarke, the band includes its own horn section to accompany the ladies’ tight harmonies. They effortlessly find a place for retro sounds in modern arrangements.
I got the chance to speak with the band about their experiences in running the band business, the importance of self-worth, and more!
Germ Magazine: Hello, and thanks for agreeing to this interview!
Let’s start with how you all got into music. When did you know this was something you could and wanted to pursue?
The Spandettes: Thank you so much for interviewing us! I think when the three of us met, we all knew that music was going to be a part of our lives in a very real and very important way. We met at Humber while pursuing our degrees in contemporary music. We all have different backgrounds that brought us to that point, but that’s where we took off as a unit. When we met, we all had a passion that we wanted to explore, but as we grew together, we realized that there was a real opportunity in doing this as a group and following our dreams together. When we sang together, something clicked, and the three-part harmonies came fairly naturally; we all just had so much fun. We knew we wanted to pursue music from the get-go, and we realized we could when we worked as a group. The music industry is a very difficult thing to navigate, and there is power in numbers! Ours being three. 🙂
GM: Where do you find inspiration for your music?
The Spandettes: Everywhere! We are inspired by a retro sound. We love jazz, old school funk, and soul. We draw from the classic girl groups, especially The Pointer Sisters. We also are moved by the pinpoint perfect harmonies of The Andrew Sisters… a lot of sisters really. We are also very inspired by those around us! Toronto is alive with music right now! There are so many amazing talents coming from this city. Just stepping out downtown is enough to inspire any musician.
GM: Your music seems to span several genres with a unique sound. How would you describe it to someone who has never heard it?
The Spandettes: We like to simply tell people that our music is retro. We have so many styles and themes coming together to make our sound, and the one thing that seems to bridge them all is a retro sound. You’ll hear a little ’60s Motown, a little ’70s disco, ’80s synth, or even ’90s dancehall.
GM: I was going through your site’s blog, and every post seemed to revolve around finding self-worth and really pushing for positivity. It’s so encouraging in a lot of ways. Was that something you were conscious about achieving, or did it just happen to fall into place that way?
The Spandettes: The three of us have really grown into the women we are today together. We’ve been through so much, and we’ve found strength in each other and in the ability to share our experiences. Our message of self-love, care, and overall positivity has had a very organic growth. It’s something we’ve all struggled with, and it seemed natural to write about it and share that message. When we started writing the blogs, it was a result of talking to fans and friends who had similar experiences. We wanted to talk about body positivity and self-worth in a way that was inclusive and inspiring to anyone who came across it.
GM: That’s great. The three of you head up what can quickly become a pretty sizable group, but like your site says, you’re not the average girl group. That said, it can be difficult for many women to find their foothold in such a male-dominated industry, so do you think it’s hard to feel heard at times?
The Spandettes: Absolutely! There is an unconscious assumption about women in the music industry, and that is that there is a man somewhere driving the ship. We have had some experiences where we felt we weren’t being taken seriously or that we are off-putting because the business is run by us. The music is written by us, we book the venues and buy the merch and set up the website. When a woman does it all, she can be called bossy or forceful while a man would be credited as in-charge and organized for the same task. I think a lot of women run into this in little ways. These things can often be fairly benign, but they add up. There is of course the less benign feeling of being ignored or talked over, which happens to women in all industries.
GM: Very true. Do you have any advice for young writers and creators?
The Spandettes: Be true to your art and your passion first before anything. Never stop creating, and know that for every road block you hit there is another path that may end up being better; your job is to navigate and to create. There is an amazing audio clip by Ira Glass describing the creative process. He says that when you’re young and just starting to create, what you’re creating won’t be as good as you want it to be. Self-doubt is art’s worst enemy. You may have amazing taste, which is what keeps you going, but because when we are young we don’t have the experience necessary to create our best work, many people quit. Never quit! The more you write, the better you get. Just keep going, and write and create as much as you can.
GM: Your second album, Sequin Sunrise, was released just a few months ago, so what can we expect next from you?
The Spandettes: For now we are concentrating on promoting Sequin Sunrise. We’re very proud of the album, and we want it to be in as many hands and as many earbuds as possible! We are of course always writing and coming up with new material for the future. 🙂
GM: Finally, where can we find you and your music?
The Spandettes: The best place to go would be our website. You can order our single “Over Me” on 45” vinyl and the full album Sequin Sunrise on CD. You can of course find the full album on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, and all of the major streaming and downloading sites!
GM: Perfect! Thanks again for being interviewed. I look forward to what comes next!
The Spandettes: Thank you so much!! xoxo
Check out The Spandette’s lyric video for “Over Me”:
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