Are music genres like bones – made to be broken? One listen to Maryland-based “post-genre” project SPRING SILVER and you might be inclined to think so.
(photo by Zig Coughlin)
The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist K Nkanza, SPRING SILVER keeps listeners guessing with its spinning plates approach to genre-shifting. “I Could Get Used to This,” Spring Silver’s recently released second full-length, is a tour de force of the band’s many strengths, encompassing everything from fist-pumping post-hardcore fury to wistful indie pop, strutting dance floor flourishes and even some dollops of dream pop.
It’s a credit to the talent of K Nkanza that this wide-eyed, multitudinal approach to music-making never comes across as contrived. In fact, all of SPRING SILVER’s different musical flavors blend together seamlessly like your favorite rainbow waffle ice cream cone — and the music is just as delicious.
With Spring Silver set to play the Friday, June 3rd edition of WE FOUGHT THE BIG ONE at the Marx Cafe in Mt. Pleasant, I reached out to K to ask him a few questions about his remarkable music project.
1) Let’s start with a little background. How did Spring Silver form?
K: Spring Silver is my musical project that I started after my previous band Aerial View broke up. I felt that having it be a solo project would feel more freeing creatively.
2) One of the things I love most about Spring Silver’s music is how the band breaks down barriers between genres. From the irresistible metallic crunch of “Little Prince” and “O Kristi” to the dance floor ready rhythms of “My Feelings on the Matter” to the Robin Guthrie-inspired dreaminess of “Call It Strength,” Spring Silver weaves together so many different styles and sounds so effortlessly and it’s always emotionally powerful. Is the band on a mission to tear down perceived genre barriers or is this something that’s not even thought about?
K: I try my best to create music that’s kind of “post-genre” where I take as many of the musical styles that I’m fond of as I can and combine them. It’s also meant to be a reflection of the vast amount of information that we all take in on a daily basis. “We” as in just everyday people.
3) Spring Silver has never sounded better than on the new album, “I Could Get Used to This.” Everything sounds so crisp and clear. What was it like to make this album, especially with so many guest performers and different instruments and sounds to capture? How pleased is the band with the end result and the reception it has received?
K: I feel as though both I and my friend Ananth whom I mixed this album with are really honing our engineering skills. I’ve always been fond of really tight, clean production. I wanted this album to stand out in an era of noisey stuff and lo-fi (which I love as well). I think the performances and the mix really helps unify the guest vocalists and the different drummers on this album. That and the fact that I was doing guitar and bass for all the songs unified the sound quite a bit.
(photo by Caroline Miller-Bruns)
4) In an interview with Bandcamp, K says that one of their aims with Spring Silver is to “represent a sort of abstract feeling, an abstract anxiety through a narrative.” Is there catharsis from this anxiety when performing these songs live?
K: I think there is some catharsis. Though I’m also preoccupied with trying to perform my best. I’m really lucky to be doing live shows with such talented players. I feel like we’re all on the same wavelength, so that makes it a lot of fun!
5) Spring Silver’s bandcamp page makes it clear the band likes to have fun with genre signifiers. Queer metal and They/Themcore immediately jump out, of course, then you have the old standbys “alternative,” “progressive rock” and “math rock.” But the one that makes me laugh out loud is “shugazi” – shoegaze infected post-hardcore because…why not? If there’s one thing Spring Silver has taught me, it’s that any combination of sounds is possible. Care to comment, K?
K: “Shugazi” is based on this post from a message board that’s kind of a running joke in music circles online. Somebody posted about how they had thought “shoegaze” was pronounced like “fugazi.” It’s kind of a fitting genre descriptor for Spring Silver, because the music kind of sounds like a mix of shoegaze and 90’s post-hardcore.
Listen to and purchase Spring Silver’s music on Bandcamp. Be sure to catch Spring Silver at WE FOUGHT THE BIG ONE at the Marx Cafe (3203 Mt. Pleasant St NW) on Friday, June 3, 2022 at 10pm. DC punk legends Brendan Canty (Messthetics) and Tom Berard (Tone) will be guest DJing.