Spiritual Rez will be releasing their 4th studio album Setting In The West this fall. The 10-track album, scheduled to drop on October 7th, 2016, includes guest features from Duddy B of the Dirty Heads, Hirie, and trombonist Billy Kottage from Reel Big Fish. Spiritual Rez has decided to provide fans with an early taste of Setting In The West, streaming their new single “Square Grouper” exclusively through The Pier!
The Boston-based reggae fusion group is known for throwing down wild live performances, bringing an unrivaled energy and passion each time they take the stage. Spiritual Rez has experienced success in the studio as well. The band’s 2014 album Apocalypse Whenever reached #2 on the Relix/Jambands Radio Chart and #8 on the iTunes Reggae Chart. Their music packages engulfing tales with a genre-defying sound that consistently blurs the lines of reggae, rock, ska, and jam. To record their new album, Spiritual Rez spent time on both coasts, stopping at Jim Kaufman Productions in Los Angeles, Hookbeat Studios in Venice Beach, CA and 9B Studios in Milford, MA.
Spiritual Rez Discusses New Album: Setting In The West:
We caught up with Toft Willingham (lead vocals/guitar) and Ian “Meat” Miller (drums) for an in-depth discussion on the making of Setting In The West, as well as a closer look at a few of the band’s favorite tracks from the upcoming release.
“The new record is a little bit of a departure from our last record in the sense that Apocalypse Whenever was totally self-produced. We kind of did whatever we wanted. We had this jammy free-form. This album we really focused on writing the best songs possible, and we had really good outside producers. We had a lot of great sit-ins, co-writes and things like that..just a lot of great people involved,” says Willingham. “We really tried to involve the whole reggae community and I think we ended up with a great product.”
Setting In The West producer Kenny Carkeet, a member of AWOLNATION, connected Spiritual Rez with Duddy B for their collaborative song “Red Room.” Hirie also joins the New England group for a smooth love song. “We met Hirie at a show we were playing in Santa Cruz, and the vibes were just great,” says Miller. “There’s a song we had, this love song, that was just begging for her to be on.”
If you’ve caught a Spiritual Rez show recently you may have heard two of the band’s highly anticipated hits, “Sober” and “Square Grouper.” Willingham has labeled “Sober” as the best chorus the band has ever written.
“Square Grouper” is a lighthearted story song that the band specifically chose to premiere on The Pier. Miller says the band decided to open every show on their last tour with the track in order to get the party started right off the bat. “It’s very metaphorical. The whole point is you have to find your nest egg or square grouper, especially in the music industry. Obviously we’re not in this to get rich or find a big ol’ bale of weed. But you’ve got to find a way to make life happen in a crazy music industry.”
The album title, Setting In The West, is also a metaphorical reflection on the band’s journey so far. Miller explains, “Rising in the East was like the rising of the band. ‘Apocalypse Whenever’ came out in 2012 when the shit was hitting and the fan and everyone thought it was going to be the end of it, and we’re all still here, so let’s make fun of it. And then ‘Setting In The West’ where things are heading in this great direction.”
Ian Miller finished our conversation by discussing the bands effort to create a great album with ample space to expand on during the live shows. “What we do live is insanity. We like to indulge upon our songs live, because we want to show people a better time than just playing the songs. And show ourselves a better time too. This album it’s got these really singable songs but you aren’t going to hear the exact same version live. We like to make it crazier.”
Spiritual Rez Premiere’s New Single: “Square Grouper”
The premier single, “Square Grouper,” will hold us over while we wait patiently for October 7th. Spiritual Rez is currently on the road bringing their ruckus to a series of festivals and shows around the country. Check back to The Pier for further updates!
Listen: Spiritual Rez – “Square Grouper”
Spiritual Rez – Setting In The West Tracklist:
2.) Red Room
3.) Together Always
4.) Bad Girl
5.) Square Grouper
6.) Blue Faces
8.) Tidal Wave
9.) Surface Tension
10.) Digital Age
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Article By: Brian Winters
Photo by: Eleni Willingham
Watch: Spiritual Rez – “One Big Song” (Official Music Video)