Interview: On a (Arc)Tangent with Space Blood

Ahead of this year’s Arctangent Festival, we’ve had a go at interviewing some of our favourite bands appearing at Europe’s finest weird-rock playground. Some questions are silly, others not. Regardless, go buy a ticket. 

Space Blood are broken up. They are straight up not a band. But to paraphrase the words of our lord and saviour Specs Gonzales: there are no rules anymore. That being said, Space Blood are playing at this year’s Arctangent Festival, presumably because they had such a slap-up time performing at the 2016 edition of the fest.

In case you didn’t know, Space Blood are a pretty weird band. Hurtling straight out of Chicago, Illinois, the two-piece take a blend of instrumental math-rock, improvisation, comedy sketches, lycra that’s 3 sizes too small, and creepy masks and throws it all into a blender. The result is a surreal smoothie that leaves you completely x’ed out, wondering what on heck just happened. Did you just watch half of Don Caballero on a bad acid trip? Did they really just spend 15 minutes pretending to be Boris Johnson instead of playing a song? And how did they make my body herk and jerk like this with only 2 members on stage and a couple of loop pedals?

The true answers to those questions only lie in seeing them live. But for those of you who aren’t convinced: a) what the hell is wrong with you? and b) let Space Blood’s jazz-trained drummer Will Covert explain why their final UK shows are not to be missed.

Hey Will, I thought you guys broke up – what gives?!

Well, yes we did. After our last show this spring, the planets were just aligned in a strange way that the opportunity to do a proper UK farewell show at ArcTanGent came to our attention at the same time as Delta Sleep contacting us about their upcoming US tour and playing in Chicago in August. They were offers to perform that we couldn’t refuse. After these shows in August we’ll go back to being dormant, but I think Space Blood is more of a way of life than simply being a band, and when there is a need for Space Blood to perform the spirit of the band will arise to the occasion.

The spirit is inside of me, baby. Whats your favourite thing about playing in the UK?

The people for sure. Space Blood can be a weird live show sometimes and there are bits of humour we do that fall totally flat in the US, but in the UK our humour has generally gone over very well and people at UK shows usually get what we’re about and going for. It’s a very welcoming music scene, at least for us, and now every time we tour the UK it feels like a homecoming. It’s just awesome to have made so many friends in different cities and have developed so many earnest and meaningful friendships that is something I never would have expected before we did our first tour in the UK.

Back when our bands last played together, you gave me some of that drink called Malort from Chicago, which is absolutely disgusting and tastes like distilled vomit mixed with children’s tears and battery acid. Could you bring me some more? 

Haha yes! What kind of ambassadors for Chicago would we be without bringing the nectar of the Windy City. The only way to get your official “I Got Malorted” sticker (which is a badge of honor really) is to come talk to us at a show and get a swig of the stuff. It’s the only way you’ll find Malort outside of the former colonies.

You write regularly for math-rock website Fecking Bahamas – do you have any hot tips for this year’s festival that people should check out?

Oh man, lets see. Well I guess a few bands to see I’d assume go without saying, but as a Chicagoan I have to say if you go to ATG and don’t see Pelican and Shellac you’ve done messed up. My perspective may be a bit different as an American going to the fest because there are a lot of bands playing who don’t normally tour the US. For me, the bands I’m really looking forward to seeing are Part Chimp, Strobes, Poly-Math, Bearfoot Beware, Mouse on the Keys, Delta Sleep, People Like Milk Products, Gulfer and Tangled Hair (hopefully they don’t cancel this year). Bearfoot Beware, Delta Sleep, and Gulfer are bands that all put on really good live shows and are super energetic when playing so they’ll be fun to watch. Part Chimp is a band I’d never thought I’d get to see live so I’m excited to check them out and that goes double for Tangled Hair.

What’s next musically for you two?

I (Will) have spent the first half of 2018 recording a couple different albums. I recorded a full-length solo LP that is in the similar vein of solo albums done by drummers like Adam Betts, Greg Fox, and Ian Chang. The music revolves around me playing synth and electronic drum parts and playing acoustic drums on top, and there’s some live-looping of synth lines and sequencers thrown in when needed. I’ve released some live in-studio performance videos that kind of show what the album will sound like. Anyone interested in that can follow me online to learn more about solo shows I’m doing and when that album is coming out. Besides working on a solo album, I also just finished up the debut full-length for my other band Rust Ring.

Sam has been playing bass in another project with a bunch of Chicago musicians from other notable local bands in a Saves The Day cover band called Band From The Back Porch. He’s also been DJing as DJ Malort Face around Chicago and hosting a weekly DJ night called Native Locals that has a guest DJ each week showcasing different Midwest artists and bands.

Thanks for chatting Will, i’m really gonna miss you guys. 

Space Blood play the Friday at this years Arctangent Festival. If you’ve not already got a ticket, what the hell are you doing buddy? Get one here right now! Check out the full line-up below.

Space Blood’s LP ‘Tactical Chunder’ is available to buy here via Lonely Voyage Records.