Bringin’ it Backwards: Interview with The Struts (Part 2)

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

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We had the pleasure of interviewing Luke Spiller of The Struts over Zoom video! 

The third full-length from British rock band The Struts, Strange Days came to life over the course of a charmed and frenzied burst of creativity last spring. After getting tested for COVID-19, singer Luke Spiller, guitarist Adam Slack, bassist Jed Elliott, and drummer Gethin Davies all moved into the Los Angeles home of Jon Levine, a producer who worked extensively on their acclaimed sophomore effort YOUNG & DANGEROUS (including the album’s chart-climbing lead single “Body Talks”). Within just ten days of couch-crashing at Levine’s house, The Struts had laid down nine original tracks and one masterful cover of a KISS B-side: a lean, mean body of work that amounts to their most glorious output to date.

In an organic turn of events for a band massively embraced by some of rock-and-roll history’s greatest icons—a feat that’s included opening for The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Guns N’ Roses—Strange Days finds The Struts joining forces with a formidable lineup of guest musicians: Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott and Phil Collen, Albert Hammond Jr. of The Strokes, Tom Morello, and Robbie Williams. Mixed by Claudius Mittendorfer (Panic! At the Disco, Arctic Monkeys, Johnny Marr), the result is a powerhouse album that lifts The Struts’ glammed-up breed of modern rock to entirely new and wildly thrilling heights.

Despite its prescient title, “Strange Days” took shape from a voice memo Spiller recorded on the band’s tour bus way back in summer 2019. Fused with a cabaret-inspired interlude Spiller had recently dreamed up, the song ultimately evolved into the perfect vessel for the frontman’s force-of-nature voice: a tenderhearted epic that offers incredible solace in the most chaotic of times.

As Spiller reveals, the making of Strange Days was a period of joyful productivity. “Every day I’d wake up at about 7 a.m., get three venti Americanos delivered to the house, go out to the backyard and smoke a couple of spliffs, and listen to the voice memos I’d recorded at the sessions the day before,” he recalls. “After the first four days or so we hit a bit of a wall, so we decided to get some beers in and just stay in the pool all day—and the day after that we knocked out three whole songs.” Throughout Strange Days, that kinetic energy manifests in the album’s unbridled spirit, an element that makes every track exhilarating. “I think because we’d wanted to make an album this way for years, all that excitement and hunger led to an immediate sort of magic once we started working on it,” says Spiller. “It was undoubtedly a magical ten days for us—and I hope when people hear the album, it gives them a taste of that magic too.”

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