Britt Daniel: Interview
Gimme “Stranger Than Fiction”
Spoon received much praise for their
2005 release Gimme Fiction, and now Britt Daniels, lead singer,
guitarist, and co-founder of the band, has taken some time to work with Brian
Reitzell on the soundtrack for the film Stranger Than Fiction starring
Will Ferrell. Britt was nice enough to talk on the phone with me about his
involvement with this soundtrack and the progress of the new Spoon album.
On the soundtrack is a new Spoon track "The Book I Write" as well as three
previously recorded tracks; "The Way We Get By", "My Mathematical Mind" and "Vittorio
E". You can hear "The Way We Get By" playing during the trailers for Stranger
Than Fiction, and you can also see that Will Ferrell is looking confused and
shouting while wearing clothes this time around. That is in fact, THE TWIST! In
all seriousness this is actually a really vibrant soundtrack that fits entirely
well with the film.
I was reluctant and smart enough NOT to share my embarrassing story of renting a
fork costume last summer with the attempt to baffle the band during one of their
live performances. However, some beefy/dreamy security guard wouldn't let me
into the show dressed as fork. Fate has changed, and I only now informally
apologize to Britt and the rest of the band for that awfully absurd and vain
attempt at humor. But let's face it; there aren't a lot of spoon costumes out
So before we talk about your involvement with the new film Stranger Than
Fiction, let's talk about you band Spoon. How is the new album coming along?
It's coming along good. It's just taking a while. We're seeing to all the
I see on your website a little about some track titles. Is this just tentative,
and is there still like a dispute over a title for the CD?
Right. We're still open to suggestions if anyone's got them. The songs are
pretty much written it's just a matter of getting them on tape.
When you went into recording these new songs for the new CD do you think there
have been any similarities to Gimme Fiction or have you taken a different
route for this album?
I don't know. We didn't really have a
set design. It just kind of develops as it does, and it's kind of early for me
to tell what this one is going to be like overall.
I always appreciate how there isn't any set sound with Spoon and there is always
an unexpected sound with each album.
Which brings me to ask, with the
re-release of Telephono have you ever thought of experimenting back to
that sort of sound or are you beyond that now?
What was that sort of sound?
You know heavier sounding. I would say it was a lot different than what you're
Yeah. When we started out, I mean, I have been in all of these unsuccessful
bands and I thought the way that I could maybe get more than five people to come
to a show is to play as loud and fast as I could write them. You know? So that
was kind of the thinking of that time. I feel a lot more similarities to Soft
Effects, which you know wasn't recorded too much later.
So how did you get into this opportunity of scoring Stranger Than Fiction?
Well, I was contacted by Brian Reitzell, the music supervisor, and he's done a
few movies. He did Lost in Translation, Virgin Suicides, and Marie Antoinette.
He just got in touch with me a long time ago just about maybe doing something in
the future, and we both bonded. It was almost two years later and this movie
started coming up, and he just said, "Do you want to come try to work on some
stuff?" I was like, "Sure! I don't know how though." I was not sure what to
suspect, but it ended up working great you know.
Was the new Spoon track "The Book I Write" written specifically for the film?
I had a batch of new Spoon songs, and that was one that was just sort of a
sketch at that point. It didn't really have many words other than ‘book I
write'. So I played Brian some other sort of sketch songs, and that was the one
we both felt a little like that is a real literal interpretation of the movie
perhaps. It was weird, because when I came up with that phrase it was before I
knew I would be working on a movie that was about a book [laughs]. It just
seemed to have the right feel and so we both decided that I should, you know
fill in that one and write it and finish it up.
What other jobs did you have working with this soundtrack?
I helped the scoring of the
instrumental queues and wrote the new Spoon song.
Have you seen the film yet? Do you like how the songs and what you have done
with Brian mesh with the film?
Yeah, I mean it's weird. It's weird after having your own sort of context for
what a song is and means and you play it live and you hear it on your own CD
player and then seeing it in this totally new, very deliberate format. You know,
it's strange. I thought that was really the main feeling I got. Like this kind
of blows my mind. This is not the way I'm used to hearing it.
Almost every time I turn on the TV now I hear Spoon in a cell phone commercial
or something. Has this transformation of a lot of your songs into film and
television had any effect on the band or the process in which you make songs?
No, really not at all. Well, I've never seen one of our commercials on TV. And I
think this might be one of the first times that I have seen a movie that has one
of our songs. I think maybe I'm wrong about that, but that's the only one I can
think of. So I don't actually experience this a lot although I do know it's
going on. But you know when you're writing you try not to let that stuff affect
Have ever been contemplating on working on any specific solo material?
No, not really. I have to finish this next Spoon record. I've got some songs
kicking around that could be on a solo record, but I don't know when I'm going
to have time for that.