Tiny Hazard isn’t content to remind themselves of the better angels of our nature. At times delightfully angular, steeped in melody, they occasionally detour into dissonance, mining the darker parts of the human psyche too. The juxtaposition is a credit to Alena Spanger, who leads the band as singer, keyboardist and head songwriter. The Deli sat down recently with her to discuss collaboration, audience expectation, and parental approval.
Your music has such a broad spectrum sonically, dynamically, and in terms of genre. Does your sound have a sort of cohesive mission statement, or is it an amalgamation of the different member’s influences?
We’re all different people on different days with different feelings and a very consistent burrito habit. There is no mission statement; it is a collaborative effort.
Tiny Hazard seems to have created a genre all its own. Are there bands that you’d consider contemporaries? Sister acts?
Our friends are our biggest influences. Friend Roulette, Celestial Shore, Cloud Becomes Your Hand, Girls and God, J-Zee Sushi Car, Lip Talk, Killer Bob, Bears (in a temple for midgets)… The list is long.
How do you consider the current atmosphere around experimental and avant acts? Has there been a change in how open people are to a more innovative sound than when you started playing as a band?
People at our shows have always been pretty open to the “experimental and avant” quality of our music. Our parents still aren’t into it. We think we’ve been able to reach a broader audience, even with all of our eccentricities, because the melody and harmony is always central. It’s been so exciting at our live shows to see how willing people are to go to some very strange places with us.
How close is a finished song, after it’s been recorded in the studio, to your idea of how it’s going to turn out? Is there improvisation involved, either live or in the writing of a song?
I don’t think anyone in the band really knows how any of the songs will ultimately turn out. We try to stay open to any new directions the song seems to want to go in until the bitter end (death). In terms of recording, we just finished tracking for our first LP. We will be experimenting with sounds and layers, some of which are not possible in a live situation. It will be a long journey to the final mixes and we think in the end we will have something pretty wild to share with everyone.
Alena has played extensively with Moon Hooch (those dudes are awesome), how’d you come to meet them, and how do you incorporate lyrics to songs that are written as instrumentals?
We have had a long and spirited relationship with Moon Hooch; few boys are as special to us as those boys. Writing lyrics to their songs was very much a collaborative process- they had the melodies written and we worked out the lyrics together. I have the tendency to obsess over songs for months and they are some of the most spontaneous and productive guys I know. Their energy is super contagious and working with them really inspired me to get out of my head!