Spirit Animal has a lot of people talking. The group recently released its first EP, has been traveling the country on tour, finished its full-length album, and just saw one its songs get some airplay on a national TV show. Not bad for a group that’s only been together for about two years.
Singer Steve Cooper says he’d put together bands before but it took some time to get the perfect combination.
“I grew up outside of Washington, D.C., and the bass player and I were roommates about ten years ago,” he explains. “I moved to L.A. and New York and when I came back to New York, it was because Paul, our bass player would be able to be in the band.
Cooper and Paul Michel (last name pronounced Michael) soon got together with guitarist Cal Stamp and drummer Ronen Evron and the current incarnation of Spirit Animal was born. Some have compared them to the Talking Heads or Red Hot Chili Peppers, but they have a sound and dynamic that is uniquely their own.
“Alternative rock and roll,” Cooper says when asked to describe it. “There’s definitely a funk element, there’s definitely a psychedelic element.”
There’s also a polish and professional edge to everything they do and you notice it whether you’re watching them live on stage or in one of their videos. (You can check out some of their music on their website: www.spiritanimal.us)
So far, that dedication to quality is paying off. They’ve been pleasantly surprised by the strong response from the crowds on this current tour, they’re getting a growing number of requests from other cities about future gigs, and just a couple of months ago they saw one of their songs featured on CSI-NY.
“We’ve had other placements on big shows before,” notes Cooper. “This one, because of how they used it was just more exciting. And it’s a big show, right?
Cooper and his fellow band members are grateful for each success, as they look to the future. They’re also very strategic as the move forward. They’ve all given up other jobs and involvement with other bands to focus solely on Spirit Animal. And all of them work consistently promoting the band, the image and the music in whatever way they can.
“Obviously we have ideas about what we think should happen or might happen, but we’ve just got to wait until it’s realized. It’s exciting, but it’s not a game for dreamers, you know? It is, but it’s also understanding what really needs to take place to get to those levels, instead of looking at it like it’s a lottery. So, you’re grounded chasing the dream.”
And as they chase the dream, music fans are lucky enough just to enjoy great music and incredibly intense, live shows.
“We’re a party band,” says Cooper, “and from the first note, I’m dancing. It’s rock and roll and there’s a lot of guitars and there’s big riffs, but ultimately it’s made to be danced to. So, expect to hopefully, sweat a little bit, or at the very least watch us sweat.
You can see Spirit Animal at ZaZoo’s this Friday night along with the Nick Peay Band and the Neil Johnstone Band. The show starts at 8:00pm.
Photo: Courtesy of Spirit Animal