“The ‘Above’ songs, I’m also thinking about writing songs for other people, building a portfolio for writing and maybe writing for movie and music,” says SPELLLING.
The spinning wheel begins with the strings and the rich sound of “Little Deer”, and SPELLLING matches the moment with the clear sound, involving vocals. “For ‘Little Deer’ it was listening to a lot of Jackson Five and Michael Jackson and thinking about ‘How do I get the child in me to sing these songs, to have that young and innocent tone to the way I sing. ?'” she says. “I treat it like a research project, I do things to get me into that mode.”
Another song “Above” with a particularly interesting title is “Emperor With An Egg”. As SPELLLING notes, its origin is anything but mystical. The idea came to him while watching a documentary on emperor penguins. “I’m just going to see a moment like this and really get attached to the metaphor of really simple things,” she said. “Looking at the conditions the Emperor Penguins were in and this Ice Realm and the struggle to protect your creation, for me it just got locked into this larger concept of the album.”
The shift from “Above” to “Below” is fully evidenced in “Boys in School”, where the feeling shifts from warmth to concentrated coolness, with a full section of classic rock style guitar towards the end. It’s a variation in theatricality, moving from the mental space of writing for others to reflecting on something more personal. There is always a feeling of playing a role, something fully apparent in another centerpiece of “Below”, the pulsating bass “Queen of Wands”.
“The vocals ended up taking months and I was going with a certain song and living in that song for a really long time,” SPELLLING recalls. “’Queen of Wands’ was the first song I started singing for. It is this character – it is based on the tarot – but a character who has just found empowerment. I just had to really get into the character’s head. I think each song has its own strength. I just imagine the character who is in the song; it is like a method of action.
As shows and tours begin again, SPELLLING has nothing specifically planned beyond an appearance next year at the legendary Primavera Sound festival in Spain. But she has ideas for her return to the stage, as well as how she would like to approach the next album.
“I’m thinking of opportunities like this to do music production for the theater, maybe create a performance that matches my experience with performance art in school,” she says. “Doing that in a concert hall and having it on tour, I think some aspects like that are really exciting to think about. Plus, just after the amount of energy this album took, I also think the next thing that I will get out may be really minimal.