Released last Friday, The Fear is the new album from Spirit Award, the moniker for Seattle-based singer/songwriter Daniel Lyon, along with bassist and collaborator Chris Jordan (Sunny Day Real Estate). Across 10 songs, the band’s blend of scuzzy, psych-rock takes you on a journey that will have you “shedding your perceived notions of what you think life or the world is and being open to new ideas or experiences.” While the whole album is well worth a listen, we really enjoyed “New Energy”, “Pushing Forward” and the title track.
We caught up with Daniel to talk about the new album and the vital work that MusiCares does for the industry.
Hi Daniel! How’s everything going right now?
Hi Paul! I would say everything in my life is going good, just busy and trying to keep it all in a line. Prettay, prettay…prettay good.
What classic album cover is your current mood?
Harry Nilsson – Nilsson Schmilsson
Your new album “The Fear” is out now and you’ve described the record as “an exploration of the supernatural, love, dreaming/waking, and most of all facing the things that scare you or you think you can’t do, all encompassed in a warping and changing landscape” and you can really feel that in the 10 tracks here. When did you write and record the record?
Thank you! I think the bulk of it was written and recorded January-April of 2022. Some songs were written previously maybe the year before.
“The Fear” is your fourth album – how do you think the band has evolved since the release of first record “Neverending”?
We’ve gone through member changes since our original lineup, which I think has affected the sound to a degree. Also the way in which songs are written is different. I think it’s just finding ways of challenging myself as well that makes the music slowly evolve.
If you could only listen to one record, what would it be?
Off the top of my head: Paul McCartney – Ram
You’ve said that you will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the new album to MusiCares (who provide health and welfare services to the music community). It seems like these services are becoming more and more important for artists since the pandemic.
Yes, MusiCares was vital to me as someone who didn’t have the wonderful health insurance that the United States has to offer. Thankfully MusiCares stepped in and helped cover some needed services.
You have some live shows planned for WA state – are you planning to tour the rest of the US (or further afield)?
Touring in the US, much like the healthcare system has proven to be more difficult for us post pandemic. We are still planning to do some runs in the US at some point. But are focusing on a tour in the UK/EU this fall, as well as working on recording for another project.
What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?
I think this one of my favorite pizzas is the clam pizza at Denver’s Cart-driver. Special thanks to our friend Jack for always making it extra special there. If they could make me a special with white clam sauce, clams, bacon, caramelized onion and rapini. And we’d call it Salty Salvation.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2023?
Personally I am hoping to do a lot of camping, hiking and working on finishing another recording project with a buddy in Denver. For Spirit Award we will be doing some US dates later this summer, some festivals, and going out for a month tour in the UK/EU in the fall. Likely working on some new songs or another album.
(Feature Photo credit – Rachel Bennett)