Focus: Callum Spencer | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Callum Spencer. I’m from a small town in the Yorkshire Dales called Skipton.

What is it you do?
I am a Singer-Songwriter and guitarist. I write indie folk / indie rock music. I do a little touring around the UK and Europe. I have recently (as recent as you can be with covid) toured with Seafret around the uk as well as playing a few of my own headline tours in Europe most recently a run in Poland in October in-between covid waves with socially distanced gigs, which was an interesting one. 

How long have you been doing it?
I have been playing since I was about 15, starting out in little bars round town and just slowly progressing from there really. I started seriously releasing music and playing my own original shows about 4 years ago.

What inspires you?
It’s strange really because it doesn’t seem like any one thing or setting tends to inspire me directly. Whenever I write it’s more just a case of literally out of thin air a cool idea might come to me whilst I’m doing something really mundane like making some toast or something. I would usually have a vague idea for a hook or a cool lyric or something and then from there I just sit for hours messing around with that idea trying to come up with the next part until eventually I have a song. I do find that the shower is the best place to have a great idea though. Not very poetic I guess but it’s true for me. 

Tell us about your music.
I do most of my writing by myself, I’m pretty particular about my lyrics so I put a lot of emphasis on developing them and constantly tweaking and re-working lyrical ideas as part of my writing process. I know a lot of artists write loads and loads of songs and choose their favourites that make it out of their bedroom. But I feel like my creative process is more like writing loads of versions of the same song until it’s something I’m really happy with.

I try to write songs that can stand alone when played acoustic, without the backing of production. Purely because this is how I would normally play them on tour or at any of my shows. Also I feel like if a song can stand on its own without much going on, from there you can pretty much take it in whatever direction you like. Only once I’ve developed the song to this point do I take them to the studio and then get creative with where we can take the recordings. Getaway and the songs that will be following it all lean into that slightly heavier production style which I have grown pretty fond of. I think this heavier style compliments my writing well, that kind of cathartic energy is what I go for in most of my writing and performing. There’s a lot of influence from that kind of straight Springsteen style production in my music, particularly the newer stuff. To someone that’s not heard my music before that asked what I sounded like, I’d probably say it’s a blend between that old school Springsteen driving energy with elements of modern singer songwriters such as Ben Howard and Sam Fender.

What have you got coming up in the future?
It seems that things are starting to grind back into gear again, I will be playing a few festivals later on this year, Gathering Sounds in Stockton-on-Tees and Live at Leeds. Then I’ll be back on tour in November with Seafret finishing off a tour that we started a year and a half ago. We’ll be playing Lafayette in London (22nd) and Brighton Concorde 2 (24th).

Where can people find out more about you?
The best way to stay in the loop with my stuff is on my Instagram.  All my music is out on all the major streaming services. Or come down to a gig and say hello.

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