Interview - Courtney LaPlante of Spiritbox

  • Interview - Courtney LaPlante of Spiritbox
    POSTED 31 Jul 2021

    spiritbox 2021 constance 7"
    Photo by Alex Bemis

    Since their inception in 2017, Spiritbox, have been one of the hottest and fastest-rising heavy acts in the world.  Last week they announced the release of Constance (Acoustic), a stunningly haunting, acoustic version, of their 2020 hit Constance and on 17 September they will release their highly-anticipated album, Eternal Blue.

    But despite all Spiritbox have achieved, the thought of putting an album out is still something that vocalist Courtney LaPlante finds a little scary.

    It's so exciting. There's just been so much anxiety of, 'What if you think you're going to sell this many vinyls and then you sell ten?' 'What if not one likes the songs?' There's all these 'what ifs' because we have nothing else to occupy our time, we just think of all these scary 'what ifs.'  We also just really want to get this chapter of our lives going. It's a mission statement of, 'We're serious, we're going for it.' We have created a full-length album, we're going to tour off it.  There are no more excuses of, 'Oh we can't afford to make shirts or vinyls, or whatever.' This is a full-fledged album release and we're fucking serious. 

    One of the unique and humbling qualities about, Spiritbox, is they have documented their journey right from the start and have always been fully transparent about the creation and business side of their music.

    It's really cool to just see how happy everyone is for us because,  it's almost like, there's a lot of people that have watched us struggle through this for a couple of years. I've felt like everyone is celebrating with us because I think a lot of our fans know how frustrating is when they can't release their own music for a certain reason or (have to) push that certain thing back. 

    It's this connection that has been consciously and organically cultivated with their fanbase that has led to many of Spiritbox's achievements, including selling out of the first round of physical pre-orders for their debut LP in minutes.

    It's so cool, I'm so excited about that. But we're making more, don't worry! We thought we made enough but I don't want there to be a vinyl shortage on purpose, you know, so we'll make some more.

    Last week the band released a picture disk of the acoustic version of Constance that featured a string arrangement done by the band.  Courtney is quick to credit the idea and end-product to her husband and bandmate, Michael Stringer saying:

    It kind of cemented another talent that Michael has that he didn't know he had and he didn't even want to do it.  But again, the full band is, like, out of necessity, we have to do stuff ourselves.  So we had someone working on the string section and it just didn't work out.  We just didn't like what it was sounding like. So we ended up cancelling the whole thing and then rescheduling it after Michael was like, 'You know what, I'm just going to do this.'

     

    He can't read or write music but he learned how to make violins and cellos on midi then print sheet music to give to the violin and cello players.  So Michael did his first musical composition in that way - he arranged and composed this whole thing. So that's like another exciting new thing he learned he can do but he would prefer to never do again (laughs)!

    Watch the visualiser for Constance (Acoustic) now below:

    Speaking about Eternal Blue and the striking visual concepts behind the album, Courtney said that she came up with the album name before any of the music was created.  The name and artwork then greatly influenced the music that was written.

    Demo song titles are writing prompts so having a name of something kind of helps the writing prompts portion. Even before we recorded anything we took that to our graphic designer, Kevin - who does all of our stuff - and I said, 'Hey man, I'm really sorry, I don't have any songs to show you or have lyrics to show you yet.  I have some instrumental demos, that's it. I can't give you any direction on what I want the album art to look like but it's called "Eternal Blue."' So without ever hearing any of the songs Kevin created that artwork.  It's funny, it was the first thing the band's ever had where someone's presented us with something and we didn't immediately take it apart, we all just went, 'that's it,' and it hasn't changed.  That was a year ago.

     

    Sometimes the art helps propel the music part. It's like, giving us a little vibe to base what we make off of it. And we just have fun putting little Easter egg marketing into our stuff.  So that's why things have slowly started turning blue from the band. My hair slowly started turning blue. The single artwork slowly started turning blue and it's just that thing that helps us get into the mode for that era of our career. I was telling someone else, it's like when you break up with your crazy boyfriend and you cut your hair. So this is us cutting our hair, we're changing, we're going through a phase like when you're a teenager. This is our phase that we're in right now. So just having those physical markers for it just helps us get into this little creative world for the musical part of it.

    Speaking of phases, one of their recent singles Secret Garden was accompanied by a video that features Courtney in three distinct phases of her life; as a child, a teenager and as her current self.

    My interpretation of the video is just how we view time (as being) linear - you're born then you die - but there's so many other lifeforms that don't experience time in that way and time interacts with itself.  This kid is disturbed by something for her whole life and then when she's an adult it turns out the thing that disturbed her as a child was her as an adult. So those two planes of time interconnected with one another and met. It's kind of my thoughts on destiny and things being 'doomed' to this or that, and (asking) is fate real? 

     

    And just a lot of the traps I think a lot of women feel like we're in from birth to old age. Whether we like it or not, we're either complacent or trying to fight our way out of a trap that's been set for us that we're supposed to just sit in.  And a lot of us do feel entrapped by it, like social constructs essentially.

    On the chorus lines, "Two hands are guarding my heart, I never climbed this far," Courtney says:

    In my mind, the two hands are my two hands. I'm climbing further than I've ever climbed, whether it's me diving into trauma or issues mentally, or if it's truly me reaching a new height in my career, I'm still protecting myself.  I don't have my palms open and my arms open to everything, I'm just always a little restrained in that way. 

    Coming from such DIY background filming videos on their phone to now being signed to major label, Rise Records, Courtney reflects on how their lives have or haven't changed.

    For me, nothing's changed except now I just have other people's money to do stuff with so I can do it faster.  That's been the part of it that's been so fucking cool to me. The reason we signed with this label - we're learning more and more and it's becoming more and more of a validation that we made the right choice - is they just understand us and they just want us to continue doing what we were already doing.  We already had this album written before they ever came around.  They just want us to make good music and they're giving us what we need to get to it.  So it's been really cool and very trusting.

    Aside from working on the album, Courtney has also recently launched her podcast Good For a Girl, where she has discussions with other women within the music industry from musicians to others on the business side of things.

    I just think that there should be more women in our media talking to each other. Asking each other questions that we actually want to be asked and we want to hear the answers to. I think it's just great and educational for the rest of us that have so much to learn from all these women that are in the music industry that we don't normally get a chance to listen to and talk to because that's just not normally a part of their job.  So I think it's just selfish for me because I get to learn, and then everyone else listening gets to learn so it's a win-win.

    Check out Courtney's podcast Good For A Girl podcast here.  Don't forget to pre-order the new Spiritbox album Eternal Blue right here.

    Listen to more Spiritbox below.

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Submitted by Monica.Strut on Sat, 07/31/2021 - 03:34

spiritbox 2021 constance 7"
Photo by Alex Bemis

Since their inception in 2017, Spiritbox, have been one of the hottest and fastest-rising heavy acts in the world.  Last week they announced the release of Constance (Acoustic), a stunningly haunting, acoustic version, of their 2020 hit Constance and on 17 September they will release their highly-anticipated album, Eternal Blue.

But despite all Spiritbox have achieved, the thought of putting an album out is still something that vocalist Courtney LaPlante finds a little scary.

It's so exciting. There's just been so much anxiety of, 'What if you think you're going to sell this many vinyls and then you sell ten?' 'What if not one likes the songs?' There's all these 'what ifs' because we have nothing else to occupy our time, we just think of all these scary 'what ifs.'  We also just really want to get this chapter of our lives going. It's a mission statement of, 'We're serious, we're going for it.' We have created a full-length album, we're going to tour off it.  There are no more excuses of, 'Oh we can't afford to make shirts or vinyls, or whatever.' This is a full-fledged album release and we're fucking serious. 

One of the unique and humbling qualities about, Spiritbox, is they have documented their journey right from the start and have always been fully transparent about the creation and business side of their music.

It's really cool to just see how happy everyone is for us because,  it's almost like, there's a lot of people that have watched us struggle through this for a couple of years. I've felt like everyone is celebrating with us because I think a lot of our fans know how frustrating is when they can't release their own music for a certain reason or (have to) push that certain thing back. 

It's this connection that has been consciously and organically cultivated with their fanbase that has led to many of Spiritbox's achievements, including selling out of the first round of physical pre-orders for their debut LP in minutes.

It's so cool, I'm so excited about that. But we're making more, don't worry! We thought we made enough but I don't want there to be a vinyl shortage on purpose, you know, so we'll make some more.

Last week the band released a picture disk of the acoustic version of Constance that featured a string arrangement done by the band.  Courtney is quick to credit the idea and end-product to her husband and bandmate, Michael Stringer saying:

It kind of cemented another talent that Michael has that he didn't know he had and he didn't even want to do it.  But again, the full band is, like, out of necessity, we have to do stuff ourselves.  So we had someone working on the string section and it just didn't work out.  We just didn't like what it was sounding like. So we ended up cancelling the whole thing and then rescheduling it after Michael was like, 'You know what, I'm just going to do this.'

 

He can't read or write music but he learned how to make violins and cellos on midi then print sheet music to give to the violin and cello players.  So Michael did his first musical composition in that way - he arranged and composed this whole thing. So that's like another exciting new thing he learned he can do but he would prefer to never do again (laughs)!

Watch the visualiser for Constance (Acoustic) now below:

Speaking about Eternal Blue and the striking visual concepts behind the album, Courtney said that she came up with the album name before any of the music was created.  The name and artwork then greatly influenced the music that was written.

Demo song titles are writing prompts so having a name of something kind of helps the writing prompts portion. Even before we recorded anything we took that to our graphic designer, Kevin - who does all of our stuff - and I said, 'Hey man, I'm really sorry, I don't have any songs to show you or have lyrics to show you yet.  I have some instrumental demos, that's it. I can't give you any direction on what I want the album art to look like but it's called "Eternal Blue."' So without ever hearing any of the songs Kevin created that artwork.  It's funny, it was the first thing the band's ever had where someone's presented us with something and we didn't immediately take it apart, we all just went, 'that's it,' and it hasn't changed.  That was a year ago.

 

Sometimes the art helps propel the music part. It's like, giving us a little vibe to base what we make off of it. And we just have fun putting little Easter egg marketing into our stuff.  So that's why things have slowly started turning blue from the band. My hair slowly started turning blue. The single artwork slowly started turning blue and it's just that thing that helps us get into the mode for that era of our career. I was telling someone else, it's like when you break up with your crazy boyfriend and you cut your hair. So this is us cutting our hair, we're changing, we're going through a phase like when you're a teenager. This is our phase that we're in right now. So just having those physical markers for it just helps us get into this little creative world for the musical part of it.

Speaking of phases, one of their recent singles Secret Garden was accompanied by a video that features Courtney in three distinct phases of her life; as a child, a teenager and as her current self.

My interpretation of the video is just how we view time (as being) linear - you're born then you die - but there's so many other lifeforms that don't experience time in that way and time interacts with itself.  This kid is disturbed by something for her whole life and then when she's an adult it turns out the thing that disturbed her as a child was her as an adult. So those two planes of time interconnected with one another and met. It's kind of my thoughts on destiny and things being 'doomed' to this or that, and (asking) is fate real? 

 

And just a lot of the traps I think a lot of women feel like we're in from birth to old age. Whether we like it or not, we're either complacent or trying to fight our way out of a trap that's been set for us that we're supposed to just sit in.  And a lot of us do feel entrapped by it, like social constructs essentially.

On the chorus lines, "Two hands are guarding my heart, I never climbed this far," Courtney says:

In my mind, the two hands are my two hands. I'm climbing further than I've ever climbed, whether it's me diving into trauma or issues mentally, or if it's truly me reaching a new height in my career, I'm still protecting myself.  I don't have my palms open and my arms open to everything, I'm just always a little restrained in that way. 

Coming from such DIY background filming videos on their phone to now being signed to major label, Rise Records, Courtney reflects on how their lives have or haven't changed.

For me, nothing's changed except now I just have other people's money to do stuff with so I can do it faster.  That's been the part of it that's been so fucking cool to me. The reason we signed with this label - we're learning more and more and it's becoming more and more of a validation that we made the right choice - is they just understand us and they just want us to continue doing what we were already doing.  We already had this album written before they ever came around.  They just want us to make good music and they're giving us what we need to get to it.  So it's been really cool and very trusting.

Aside from working on the album, Courtney has also recently launched her podcast Good For a Girl, where she has discussions with other women within the music industry from musicians to others on the business side of things.

I just think that there should be more women in our media talking to each other. Asking each other questions that we actually want to be asked and we want to hear the answers to. I think it's just great and educational for the rest of us that have so much to learn from all these women that are in the music industry that we don't normally get a chance to listen to and talk to because that's just not normally a part of their job.  So I think it's just selfish for me because I get to learn, and then everyone else listening gets to learn so it's a win-win.

Check out Courtney's podcast Good For A Girl podcast here.  Don't forget to pre-order the new Spiritbox album Eternal Blue right here.

Listen to more Spiritbox below.

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