Steve Cooper from Spirit Animal Talks Touring Red Hot Chili Peppers, & New Music

Suburban Rose Magazine recently had the chance to speak with Steve Cooper of rock band Spirit Animal. Fresh off tour with Dorothy, the band is ready to head back out on the road and start making new music. Keep scrolling to check out our conversation.

Credit to Jimmy Fontaine


Can you share the story of how you guys became a band?

Well, we were looking for new members and someone suggested Cal should join the band. So we checked him out and initially, he didn't really want to join the band and didn't think we were a good fit for him. He came to one of our shows and fell in love with our live show, and that's what drew him in. So we got really lucky!

Do you think being a band for such a long time has made the music better?

Oh absolutely! You sometimes think that the music you're making at that moment is what should propel you forward; you think it's what the entire world wants to hear. You have to think of it that way, but in the end, when we got to where we are now and put out the record, you kinda look back and get to see how much stronger we are and how much we've grown! We have grown into the thing we thought we were, it's gotten better and I think that's why we're gaining more fans and just becoming so much better.

How would you say you’ve grown from your first album?

I think that we learned how to trim the fat and learned how to hone in on our identity and have that shine. We wanted the pop sensibility and more production stuff to be brought out. That stuff took place for some of the genres we wanted. We learned how to do a lot... but figuring out how to do a lot but also do one thing was what needed to happen. In the earlier years, we were kinda scatterbrained. Now we work with more people, know more about each other, and know how to keep going. I think we'll do that continuously when we're making music together!

What does it feel like to hear that people compare you guys to musical legends such as Red Hot Chili Peppers?

Well, that one in particular was super exciting. When people say that they're not saying you sound like the 'peppers, but you remind us of them. Which is so much better than saying our style is like theirs. Anyone who is a fan of theirs knows they were more than just the music. They had their own identities and they pushed the boundaries constantly, in their videos, their live shows, and just how they made people feel. [...] Their energy was instilled in people, and I think that being able to fill the void of a band in any way, especially the culture, is incredible.

What's your process for creating the perfect song?

The perfect song.... well, For us, it's about being willing to be self-critical and revisit things and demand a lot from every inch of the tune. Especially lyrically, how are we able to get our message across and go with the theme and story. The same thing with the music, the music in these genres can be very similar. Anything you can do to make it all fit together so it doesn't become this generic or stock thing is what matters. We're just intensely looking at that and saying how can we make this better, instead of thinking we have all the answers, the song has to lead. The key is to have the time, chase all the options and trying to think of what's best. You got to just go with what feels right.

A fan wants to know: Do you have a name for your fan base?

Well, funny you should ask that! There's a rapidly growing group of fans online, the call themselves the "Spanimals." Over the course of the band's history, we always used the "sp" from spirit and "animals." So now we even have a Spotify playlist called Spanify. We these folks started to form and they asked what they should be called we gave them Spanimals. Actually, there was a group of fans at the Philly show who held like a Spanimals meetup. It was pretty cool to see!

Out of all your songs, do you have a favorite to perform?

In the band, I'd have to say we all have different ones, honestly. We actually haven't really talked about that much, I don't think. Personally, I'd have to say "JFK." It's just really a chance to do the rock star thing. Our live show is very high energy and in your face. Playing "JFK" gives that swagger--but the swagger is there the whole time, don't get me wrong! I get really jazzed, and the crowd really tends to love that one and gets involved with it a lot.

You guys have opened for some pretty big acts recently. Are you planning on a solo tour anytime soon?

Ahh, it's hard to say! We really have been loving doing support touring recently. It's a good way to meet new bands, gain new supporters, and get to play to lots of people every night. Fans ask all the time when we will headline; we sadly can't make that decision as a band. But we have an incredible team and all the strategies are in their hands. We have a lot of control over everything; we even do our own artwork, we just want to stick with making the music. I'd have to say sometime this year. It's very possible, and if not, early next year most likely!

What’s next for Spirit Animal?

Well, we're gonna tour till we die! The live show is something we want the whole world to get to experience. We'll probably keep working this music for as long as we physically can. The album is out now and we have a new music video coming soon. We're always ready for making new music but for now its just about the present and our music. Playing our asses off and having this album flourish is what we want for sure.
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To keep up with all things Spirit Animal, make sure to check out their socials!

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