Scandinavia has a natural ability to produce hook-laden rock music and heavy metal. Therefore, it isn’t a real surprise that Screamer Magazine has stumbled across another act from that part of the world that is creating a buzz in melodic rock circles. The Spin started out by announcing their arrival under the guise of Sencelled, and then relatively recently changed it to The Spin. “It was like more than ten years ago; we didn’t have a good name so we just decided let’s see what we can come up with, and we didn’t know English very well obviously…” begins Teddy (Erik Holmberg), vocalist and guitarist with The Spin. Bassist Mattias Ohlsén adds “We made something up.”
Teddy continued this line of answering by tucking on the end of their joint response, “We just thought at that moment, wow this name was really good! But no, it wasn’t.” A hearty chuckle then filled the air. “Especially on the live shows, we are evolving with the name and just become better the more we play. We’re going in the right direction” responds Teddy when asked whether the music has evolved alongside the band name changing.
This goes to prove how difficult it can be for people to select a band name that reflects the beating heart of what they do. The very same issue awaits new parents when they try to name their baby, and that is why there are books devoted to the topic of baby names! Maybe some enterprising entrepreneur will devise a book of band names explaining why each name is suitable for the varying styles of rock music that exist?
The Spin consists of four members within the line-up who have remained tight as a unit for a very long time. Joining Teddy and Ohlsén are Christoffer ‘Chris’ Ahl on drums with Fredrik Askenström tackling lead guitar. “It’s a very long story, but to make it short; me and Chris met up in high school and some of us quit other bands. Our paths sort of crossed so after that it became just the four of us.” Teddy enlightens on how they came to be. With Ohlsén side by side with Teddy, it seemed appropriate to find out why it was that he had taken to playing the bass. “I think it was ’96 or ’97 that I started to play bass. I just liked the instrument from the beginning. I’d played some guitar, but I just started to play with friends and I’ve played it since. I am really happy about it actually.”
“When we started this band it was so common to play metal and we couldn’t handle that, so we just decided to do something that makes people happy instead. It just comes naturally even if it’s not the kind of music we listen to.” This was Teddy’s response when the question was raised about their musical influences and how the sound developed within the band. “We have different influences and it’s always like a pain to try to sort out what we should have in the end, but we always seem to do that.” This was how Ohlsén saw their musical journey.
When tackled about their individual influences, Teddy chips in first by listing Bullet for my Valentine, Goo Goo Dolls and even mentions Westlife (boy band). In contrast to the diverse approach of the vocalist, bass player Ohlsén calmly mentions how AOR (Adult Orientated Rock) and West Coast melodic rock music have influenced him the most. Still thinking on the question, Ohlsén also suggests that what they call “Skate Punk” in Sweden has made an impact on his musical output a little. Bands like Green Day are served up as examples.
Like many bands around the globe, it is often surprising to hear the names of artists that have influenced the individual members when you hear the final output the band has as a unit. Bullet for My Valentine and Green Day aren’t necessarily going to be obvious choices when you hear music that encompasses the Sencelled self-titled debut album which was released back in 2011, and is the sound that is continued with their new band name The Spin. Their style of melodic rock is infectious with a strong pop sensibility and charm. With melody being a strong focus and a crisp production to boot, this outfit are going straight for accessible and direct for a smile on your face. From their 2011 release, one song in particular caught fans of the melodic rock scene by surprise. The song goes by the name of I Love the Way You Are which has a super-powered hook loaded within its chorus and strikes you right between the eyes. This highlight works very well at informing the listener about what The Spin do so well.
Teddy with pride, gushes about that one song by explaining “That’s our trademark song, wherever we go and wherever we play that’s the song the people remember and ask us about all the time.”
One major upheaval to the ranks of the band came when they announced they were relocating from their homeland of Sweden, to the UK. “We actually started by chance touring in Essex because Stansted (major airport in the UK) is located there in the middle of Essex. So we flew there the first time and realized that Essex is kind of good; close to home, just really nice people. Everything is working out there really good.” Teddy continues with his flow of thought on the subject of their relocation. “You have like nine million people in just London; we have nine million in the whole country (Sweden), so it’s like we reach out to more people and they seem to just love the things that we do.” These reasons make sense when you believe your music has something special to offer and you can find it practical to move around with an impressive airport nearby, and you reach more people.
Those people who have heard the self-titled album when they were known as Sencelled can rejoice with the news that they have recorded their first studio album under the moniker of The Spin. “We just have to set a date to release it” chimes Teddy in anticipation. No title has been agreed on at the time of assembling the article, although they jokingly share “Greatest Hits” could be a suitable idea. After an outburst of laughter, Teddy mentions a little more about the forthcoming album. “I think we recorded 11.” As he pauses, Ohlsén chips in again by saying that two of the songs had an outside songwriter credited. Known for his work as the keyboardist in the U.S. rock band Touch, Mark Mangold has contributed his songwriting talents to the new album by The Spin. Apparently there are ongoing conversations regarding the inclusion of their ‘trademark’ song I Love the Way You Are which could knock the total number of songs on this new album up to 12.
During the interview, both members acknowledge that Ricky Delin was a fundamental ingredient in shaping the Sencelled album is still as important as ever. After his massive contribution as producer, co-writer of some songs and engineer on that first session, he played an integral part with the new recordings as well. Most of the new material was recorded over at Delin’s studio. Teddy says with an enthusiastic tone “One song is really about sex of course, and it’s called A gentleman Comes a Knocking so the title doesn’t say that much, but the song will rock your socks off, and all the other clothes you have on!” As the laughter dies down, Ohlsén speaks a little about the sound on the new album. “It’s going to be a little more raw, a little bit tougher sounding but quite similar.” Teddy takes on the responsibility of elaborating. “Yes, the songs have the same feeling, up-tempo and happy, but we have put in more thought with these songs, but you can’t really say that. It feels like that we have really found ourselves.”
So what nestles in at the beating heart of The Spin? At the time of assembling this article, the band tweeted how they’d been playing some acoustic music live on the streets of London and were taking every opportunity to share their music, new and old. They came across as laid back and friendly guys during the interview process and kept their aspirations at ground level. Their music wasn’t rocket science; it was from their creative collaborations with the underlying notion of making people smile and share some positivity. As Ohlsén mentioned during the conversation, “Just want to spread the love.” Such a simple mission statement; but in times of stress and informed disillusionment as people become more aware of the world that surrounds them, where information on any and every topic imaginable can be obtained readily, it’s easy to see why people’s mood can be so despondent. With music that shares such a sunny disposition and an upbeat sense, is that really a bad thing? Make up your own mind.