For a country which can be pretty miserable at times, we produce more than our fair share of happy indie-pop bands, Teenage Fan Club, Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura, BMX Bandits, The Pastels, etc. Now we can add Spaghetti Anywhere to that ever growing list.
Residing in East London, the band are centred around Francis, who hails from Glasgow (hence my justification for including them under the ‘Scots Way-Hay’ banner), and Valerio from Rome. The band formed in 2008 and released their debut EP this week.
It was actually Jim who runs the Aye Tunes blog who brought them to my attention. It was one of those moments where I guess he couldn’t believe how good the songs he was hearing actually were. Thankfully though the man has an ear for good music.
For the past month or so their EP has been my soundtrack after yet another shitty day in work, their songs just put a smile on my face and make the world feel that little bit more bearable. Be warned though if you don’t like your music to be ‘twee’ then this might not be for you. If you do, then prepare yourself for some incredibly catchy music, with a twist of 80s pop thrown in to boot. In short this is nothing new, but with Francis Cullen’s soft Scottish voice and incredibly catchy tunes, Spaghetti Anywhere are an achingly good band and completely caught me off guard.
Would you care to introduce yourself?
Hello, I am Francis, one half of Spaghetti Snywhere, Valerio’s not here right now because I’m at Uni and he’s in London.
How would you describe the music you make?
Um I always have difficulty in answering this question, usually I say something like ‘um I dunno, like folky kind of poppy indie stuff, sort of twee, like Belle and Sebastian do you know who they are?’. I’d like to think our music makes people feel happy in a kind of melancholic way, I don’t really like writing depressing dark lyrics and if I do then there’s usually a happy ending. I’m wondering if I answered the question.
How did you start out making music?
Well it began when I met Valerio, I had some songs already, one I wrote with one of my friends Johnny way back when, but it was nowhere near finished, so Valerio suggested I go round to his house to record some of them. So we did ‘Dangerous As Pisa’, and I was amazed at how much better it became when he came up with some new guitar parts for it. I really liked going round his house in the day, I had nothing to do and we’d always drink and he’d make us spaghetti for lunch, good times. After that I wrote more and more songs, being slightly heart broken they all came out pretty easily, some of them were a bit too wishy washy though.
What process goes into the way you write songs?
Well I spend hours in my bedroom strumming a guitar until something sounds good, then I think of lyrics to go over it, sometimes they just write themselves and sometimes it takes forever, it’s a strange thing that I will probably never get my head around. After that it moves down the production line and Valerio puts some new guitar parts over it, a bass line, then we stick whatever synth, keyboard, glockenspiel parts in, then he sits me in a corner and records me singing, this is the most painful part.
Who are your big musical influences?
I think I have to be predictable and say Belle and Sebastian, I try and rip them off a lot but I do it really badly so nobody realizes, I also take a lot of influence from Daniel Johnston, ‘Lousy Weekend’ in particular. Valerio I think if he was here would say stuff like Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, and the Mr Sandman song, I’m really into that too, so it’s a nice contrast.
What are you all listening to at the moment?
At the moment, I really like Bishop Allen, we were supposed to play with him a while ago, my friend was organizing the gig, but then we didn’t in the end and I cried a bit. We did play with Dent May though and he’s really good.
What can we expect to see/hear from you in 2010?
Well at the moment we are trying to sort out our live act, we’re looking for a band because everybody who’s played with us in the past ends up leaving, we’re on our third bassist, our drummer ditched us for another band and our keyboard player is off to India. I think we need to find one more guitar player too because I’m finding it difficult to stage dive with a guitar round my neck. After we do that I’m sure another EP is on the cards probably May/June time, I already have someone doing the art work for it, again with the highland cows. Oh and we’ve also started shooting a music video for ‘Girlfriends with Boyfriends’ so maybe you’ll see that one day.
Can we expect to see any live shows coming up in Scotland?
I hope so!., maybe my granny will come and see us, I’m sure we will. If anyone offers of course we’d be up for coming up anytime,… Nudge nudge wink wink.
If you fancy bringing a little sunshine into your life then I recommend Spaghetti Anywhere’s Debut EP, which came out on the 22nd February on 10″ vinyl and by digital download through Toy Soldier Records. If you like music of the twee variety, this is a must buy.
More from Lloyd at Peenko