Originally Posted in “The Indie Authority”
Brainspoon is a Los Angeles area rock ‘n’ roll band whose goal is to write awesome songs you want to listen to and to bust out a loud, rockin’ show you want to watch. Recently our newest member Diggy Cat caught up with Daphne …..
Interview with Daphne Vandervalk Diez from Brainspoon
by Diggy Kat
What year did Brainspoon start?
We started playing our first real shows with our first lineup in 2000. While we have had lulls in activity from time to time due to lineup changes or whatever, Brainspoon has never broken up in all those years.
Tell us about the origin of the band name?
Many years ago I had a dream of becoming a taxidermist. I would borrow books from the library to study it. In one book, it mentioned using a brainspoon to clean out skulls. I thought that sounded like such a badass name for a punk band! So when Chris and I put the band together years later, it already had a name.
What was the recording process like for the new album?
Our recording process was pretty crazy. We recorded the album with Chris’s cousin, Will Shanks, at the studio at his workplace, Universal Audio, near Santa Cruz, California. We had to do all the recording and mixing on pre-arranged weekends, so we could make noise when the employees were not in the office. Now, it’s about a six-hour drive to there from where we live in Southern California, so we had to go up in shifts, two, three, or all four of us, sleeping over at Will’s house and recording one or two instruments at a time. We had to set up and break down every time. If it sounds like this process would take forever…well, it did. It took YEARS actually, plus one blown car transmission on a trip back. I don’t recommend this method to anyone, but miraculously, because Will is so good at what he does, in the end we got a fantastic recording that we are very happy with.
What’s the story behind the album art?
Tom, our bass player, had designed the Brainspoon skull logo a few years ago, and we used it for stickers and T-shirts and such. One Halloween he carved it into a pumpkin, then lit it up and took some great photos of his creation (he is a professional photographer). He posted a photo on social media, and Chris thought it was the greatest picture ever, and that it just had to be an album cover. I wasn’t sure if it might be too Halloweenish for all-year use, but we decided to go with it, and I’m glad we did, because it’s so bright and fun.
How come it was decided to have a self-titled album?
This album was self-titled because the album cover photo was already self-titled. I suppose it is also fitting because this is our first album where all the music was created entirely by all four of us together. Our previous albums included some songs that were written by band members before they joined Brainspoon, which we then recorded and incorporated into our set.
Any specific Brainspoon songs that hold a special place in your heart and why?
I love each song best when it is new to the set, and then I love the next song better. As far as lyrics, one of the most meaningful for me is “Pick Your Battles.” Years ago when I wrote it, I could see that things were beginning to brew up in society that were someday going to lead to mayhem. Sadly, I think we’re beginning to see that mayhem now. The song is about taking personal responsibility for knowing what the real problems are that we can work toward solving, versus wasting effort on manufactured problems that cause strife for no reason.
Overall, what have been some of highlights of your career?
For me, a major highlight was when we played a Flipside Magazine show, I think in about 2010, at the Redwood Bar in downtown Los Angeles, and we were finally discovered by a scene of people who “got” what we were doing. I can’t tell you how discouraging it was to play for years and years in Ventura and the Valley, and never really get a following because we didn’t fit into the rockabilly or nu-metal scenes, and because no one could clarify who we “sounded like.” People liked us, but we seemed to cause cognitive dissonance by not having a musical category to reside in. We started playing downtown, and the punk rockers my age were there, and everybody “got” us, finally. It turned everything around for me, that’s for sure, and we’ve made so many great friends since then.
I love shrimp, and donuts, and mangoes, and fried potatoes in any form. Not all at the same time, and only in moderation.
I love yellow, but I cannot wear it. It makes me look terrible.
Based on your personality what animal do you think you would be?
I would be a lioness, because most of the time I’m very relaxed and mellow. Then I go out and kick ass for a brief time, then come back and relax again. And take a nap.
Biggest pet peeve?
I hate passive-aggressive nonsense. I’m a very straightforward and honest person, and I just can’t understand sneaky backhanded snake people.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee. Cheap and homemade.
What does Brainspoon have planned for 2016?
We have a batch of exciting new songs ready to record, and some newer ones in the works. We also expect to do some mini-tours in the near future.
For the people that want to contact the band, where do you send them?
We can be reached at Facebook – www.facebook.com/brainspoon, or at our website, www.brainspoon.com. Our music is available online at https://www.cdbaby.com/m/artist/Brainspoon
What do you want to say to the fans?
Thank you to our fans for showing up, for telling your friends, and for buying our music! We hope to keep you entertained for many years to come!