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Spoon’s Jim Eno Discusses Beto and How the Band Keeps It Together After 25 Years

Austin-born band Spoon will be releasing a compilation of their greatest hits, Everything Hits at Once: The Best of Spoon. The album is a scrapbook of the last 25 years of Spoon's career, which will delight old fans and serve as a road map for new fans discovering the band for the first time.

Drummer Jim Eno has been there since day one, after founding the band with Britt Daniels, and has been an instrumental creator in every album the band has released since their first EP, Nefarious, dropped in 1994. When he's not making new music with Spoon, Eno produces music for multiple other groups out of his studio, Public Hi-Hi, in Austin.

Eno took the time to chat with us ahead of Spoon’s show with Cage the Elephant and Beck on Saturday, July 27, at Dos Equis Pavilion.

One of the last times you were in Dallas it was to play the Beto rally. Even though you guys are such a large, nationally touring band, do you still feel drawn back to Texas-related causes?
Yeah. I feel like the Beto rally, that was something we were all really passionate about. We’ve been sort of doing things with him during the campaign. I do feel like doing things for Texas is good. I’m involved in an organization called Black Fret, which is Austin based. They’re a nonprofit that gives money to musicians basically in order to make records and tour and things like that. We try to stay active in the Texas communities.

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The upcoming album Everything Hits at Once: The Best of Spoon releases July 26 — what led to releasing a greatest hits album now?
I don’t know. We’ve been talking about it for a while. We usually toss around the idea almost between every record for the last couple of records, only because we just have a lot of songs, and we feel like … it always felt like it would be a good time. I don’t know, now I feel like, just coming up on our 10th record and also having this tour, we felt like maybe it was a good thing to do. The other thing is we knew we would be playing in front of a lot of people, so I know, for me. I got into New Order with that record Substance, and I pretty much became a die-hard Smiths fan with Louder Than Bombs, and those were sort of greatest hits compilation kind of things. I feel like it is a good way to get introduced to a band. I feel like while a lot of people have heard of Spoon, there’s still a lot of people that have not. We’re playing in front of a lot of people with Cage the Elephant and Beck, and so it gives us an opportunity to introduce ourselves to a lot of new people. And they can go back, and if someone hears the greatest hits they’re like, “I want to dig deeper into this catalog,” which is what happened for me with The Smiths and New Order.

Does it feel like it’s been 25 years?
No, not at all. (Laughs) We just write, record and tour, and we’ve been pretty much on this cycle since around '96 or so. So for me, I feel like it’s just a normal process to keep doing that. So it’s a little overwhelming that it’s been 25 years, but that being said, it’s still fun. I feel like Rich is writing the best songs he’s ever written, so it’s still real exciting.

Is there a secret to success to your longevity? There’s not a lot of bands that have lasted as long as you have.
I don’t know, I feel like one of the things is, well there’s a few things. Like I feel like it’s helped us that our success has been sort of gradual. So it isn’t all at once. I feel like that can be really detrimental to a band. So we would go into a city, play in front of 100 people, go into the city the next time, play in front of 250, then 500. Things like that can be pretty exciting, and just seeing our records grow as we go has helped I think. It hasn’t been a drastic jump. I feel like also we tend to try very hard in the studio to not repeat ourselves. So we try to do new things. We actually talk about things, like, oh we’ve done that before, let’s try something different. Oh we’ve done something sonically like that, let’s think about a different twist of things. We talk about that to try and make it pretty much more exciting for us, but that ends up translating to it being more exciting for our fans. And then I would say the last thing is that we definitely don’t compromise in the studio. We really don’t release anything unless we’re really happy with it. So if we do that, what that tends to do is our records take maybe a little bit longer, but there’s a lot less filler, and from our standpoint there’s no filler, because we feel like every song stands on its own.

When you’re producing other bands, like Phantogram on your Jim Eno Spotify sessions, do you get inspired or influenced to create new music when you’re working with such a variety of artists?
I’m constantly learning things from any session I do. You take Phantogram, and they were using pretty heavy electronics along with drums, which is cool. And then you take a band like Grupo Fantasma that I worked with, and so that’s a Latin rock band, you can take things from that as far as maybe percussion or horns or something. I feel like, I’m at least taking that back into sessions that I do moving forward, but it also has to be … things can’t be forced. It has to be the right time and place. Also that being said, we always work with a producer, whether it’s Dave Fridmann or Mike McCarthy, so we have someone else in there who helps us move the ship forward and has an outside perspective, so it’s sort of a group effort of whether something’s going to work. But definitely all those elements from other sessions definitely appear, and can appear at anytime.

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