DFW Music News

Spoon Frontman Britt Daniel Opens Up About Childhood in Dallas, Return to Matador

Britt Daniel (front) is a co-founder of Spoon.
Britt Daniel (front) is a co-founder of Spoon. Zackery Michael
Spoon plays House of Blues on Thursday, Oct. 12.
You probably think of Britt Daniel as an Austin guy. After all, it's where he co-founded the longstanding indie-rock band Spoon with drummer Jim Eno in the '90s. But Daniel has just as many ties to Dallas. Not only did Spoon find more than one keyboard player here, but Daniel also spent much of his childhood in Dallas. After his parents divorced, Daniel split his time between living with his mother in Temple and with his father in Dallas, where his mother's family also lived.

“I didn’t know the local scene, but Dallas was a big, big place compared to where I normally lived in Temple,” he says. “The Dallas Observer was something I would pick up every week. I would read Joe Bob Briggs. I would go to Bill’s Records. Just those two things alone were sorely lacking in Temple, Texas.”

Daniel is back on his old stomping grounds this week. He's playing House of Blues on Thursday with Spoon, supporting the group's new album, Hot Thoughts. The album marks a return to Matador Records, which put out its first album, 1996's Telephono.

"I've always steered people away from thinking that there's going to be some man or some woman or some label that's going to be able to magically make things happen. I don't see it. You have to bring the magic yourself." – Britt Daniel

tweet this
Daniel and Eno have kept the band as it has forged and dissolved relationships with several labels. Spoon had a great run with Merge Records from 2001 to 2010, when it put out some of its best-received albums, including Girls Can Tell, Kill the Moonlight and Gimme Fiction.

The band's current lineup is rounded out by Rob Pope on bass and Alex Fischel on guitars and keyboards. Former keyboardist Eric Harvey, of Dallas, departed the band between its last LP, They Want My Soul, and Hot Thoughts. Sean Kirkpatrick of local band Nervous Curtains also toured with Spoon many years ago.

One reason Spoon's music is still interesting and enjoyable nine albums in: It's produced well. It's a treat to listen to on a pair of good quality headphones. All of the credit goes to Dave Fridmann, who has also worked with the Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev and Thursday.

“I think when you’re working with Dave Fridmann — which we have for the last two albums — he loves that,” Daniel says. “He loves hearing sounds bounce around from side to side. [A] perfect headphone record mixer is what he is.”

Daniel says green musicians frequently ask him how to get on a record label. Daniel's experience is that bigger isn't always better; Spoon has found more success on smaller labels.

“I’ve always steered people away from thinking that there’s going to be some man or some woman or some label that’s going to be able to magically make things happen,” Daniel continues. “I don’t see it. You have to bring the magic yourself.”

The vibe of Spoon's indie rock has remained fairly consistent over the years, but it's never been shy about exploring new ways to conjure that magic.

“We want to be brave. We want to keep our mind open to doing things we haven’t done,” Daniel says. “Also, keep our mind open to doing things we didn’t intend to do. Lots of times, the best ideas come from mistakes or weird mutations we were not planning on.”

Spoon, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., $39-$126, ticketmaster.com.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Eric Grubbs is a Dallas-based writer who has published two books, Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 and When We Were the Kids. His writing has been featured in Punk Planet, Popdose, Fort Worth Weekly, The Dentonite and LA Weekly. He supports Manchester City and will never root for Manchester United.
Contact: Eric Grubbs

Latest Stories