Getting four band members in the same room together isn’t always a simple task. It’s even more of a challenge to find four like-minded people that you can trust, share the same artistic vision with, and can be musically vulnerable with.
Even over the last few years, when the members of Spitting Image were sprawled across the states of Florida, Nevada, Illinois and Tennessee, they still had an itch to jump back into the same room together to start making music again.
Spitting Image originally formed in Reno in 2010. They describe themselves as a DIY punk band, meaning they come from a world of underground music making that has its own traditions and standards. To them, punk isn’t just a label or genre, it’s more of a spirit or an ethos they embody.
In 2015, the band took a break from making music, but it never felt like they were calling it quits—it was more like everyone was in different places doing different things like finishing degrees, visiting family and going on tour with other bands.
Vocalist Austin Pratt, who was finishing up his graduate degree at the University of Tennessee, remembers thinking if the band were all in the same place again they would really get back to making music and take advantage of what they had.
In late 2018, Pratt decided to move back to Reno, and not long after bassist Jackson Scribner followed. By January of 2019, guitarist Julian Jacobs and drummer Donovan Williams had jumped in, and the band began practicing regularly again, ready to make new music.
The band said that when they started recording songs again earlier this year, it didn’t feel like they were a second version of a previous band. It was a natural transition and felt like no one had ever left in the first place.
After creating some new songs and not really knowing what direction they were headed, Spitting Image released their new demo This Not This earlier this summer. The five tracks embody Spitting Image’s practice of not just paying attention to the sound of their instruments, but the textures, colors and emotions they can create.
Songs usually begin with Jacobs bringing a guitar riff to the table. From there, Williams and Scribner fill in the blanks with whatever feels natural to them, and finally Pratt lays vocals over the top.
Each band member has an understanding of what they want the music to sound like. It’s more like the four members share one cohesive musical brain when recording new songs because their ideas are so similar.
Throughout the rest of the year, Spitting Image will only perform a few times. Their main focus is to finish their seventh release. Despite how long the group has been together, this will be the band’s first full-length album.
“A lot of bands are adamant about getting the first full-length album out quickly, and it’s something that we didn’t do as our first several years as a band,” said Pratt. “It’s something that we can appreciate and understand the gravity of, so that’s one thing that’s going to be super important to us.”
As the band slowly chips away at their album and begins tracking new songs, they’re not forcing their music to head in a certain direction. Instead, they understand their musical process and trust that songs will eventually come together.