For tour dates, tickets, merch and to purchase their album. Click on the link at the bottom of the article.
Interview will be coming soon. We will update our subscribers once the Artist Highlight is up!
Spirit Animal is a band whose musical sound is hard to categorize. Some people call it funk with mixes of punk but I call it an “energized punch to the face” kind of music. Spirit Animal is based out Brooklyn, NY and consists of Steve Cooper (vocals), Cal Stamp (lead guitar), Paul Michel (bass), and Ronen Evron (drums). I did get the chance to sit down with lead vocalist Steve Cooper and talk about the creative process behind the band’s sound but more on that later.
Before I talk about the show let me just toss just a few musical facts your way. The bands song "The Black Jack White" had over 450,000 plays on Spotify and the song was then used on an episode of CSI:NY. (RIP CSI:NY. Loved that show). Spirit Animal signed a record deal with Atlantic Records in 2018, and released the single "YEAH!". The band has been on tour with some big name bands such as The Struts, Incubus, and Fitz and the Tantrums. When I sat down and talked with them they were touring with Theory (Theory of a Deadman).
One of the things that impressed me right away was the bands kindness and personable. Before I entered the venue I met up with the bands bassist Paul Michel. Paul took me back stage into the green room so I could get things ready for the interview I had scheduled with Steve Cooper. While I was setting things up I also got to meet and to talk with guitarist Cal Stamp. To give you a visual there are two “red” rooms up on the second floor back stage of the Ritz. I have been back there before when interviewing bands or doing portraits for artists. It is a small red room but very cozy with a nice couch to sit on, very clean bathrooms, small refrigerator and places to hang up clothing if needed. During me getting everything set up, in most cases, the band members will not say anything to me. Some bands seem very dry and not really responsive and it can make for a bit of nervous experience, but that was not the case with Cal and Paul. Both Cal and Paul talked with me and we each asked questions about photography, music, scariest tour dates, weirdest shows and things like that. It was a very relaxed environment and I felt as if I were talking with old friends I had not seen in a few years. The interaction I had with them showed me how personable and kind they were and really set me at ease. A few minutes after getting everything set up Steve walked in and introduced himself, shook my hand and we just started talking. Steve was very generous with his answers, kind and had a great sense of humor. I did not meet drummer Ronen Evron until after the show when I was leaving the venue. Ronen saw me walking by the tour bus and said “I hope you got some great pictures”. I laughed and said “I hope so to!”. I then realized it was Ronen and turned around and said “oh hey!, let me show you some”. We talked for a bit and he was a very nice guy. The reason why I state this is because the band as a whole is passionate about their music but also very kind and personable. Some bands and artists forget how important their fans are and can get lost in the overwhelming world of music and touring.
Spirit Animal has not forgotten how important their fans are and embrace them with open arms and love. You will even find Steve hanging out at merch booth talking with fans while taking pictures with them. The guys in Spirit Animal were engaging, funny and really nice.
Full video interview coming soon!
Now lets talk about their show!
Spirit Animal opened for well-known rock band Theory of a Deadman (Now called Theory).
As the guys from Spirit Animal walked on stage fans started yelling and raising up their arms in excitement. Steve (vocalist) walked out on stage with a big smile on his face and waved hello to the crowd. Once the first guitar note was hit the energy went up to 1000%. Steve moved around the stage like a wild animal just shot with adrenalin, Cal (guitarist) was swaying his head back and forth while twisting his body around, Paul (bassist) was jumping up and down and landing almost epic bass guitar split stances and to top it all off Ronen (drummer) was keeping the beat by pounding at the drums as if they called his mother a horrible name. All of this energy and they sounded great! The band was in key, the sound echoed through the venue smoothly and you could hear Steve clearly. Throughout the show Steve and the guys kept the energy high and not once caving into the exhaustion I can only imagine they felt from all of their dancing. Steve and Paul would pull of dance moves I never thought were possible while Cal would head bang in such a way that I was positive his head was about to fall off. They put on one of the most energetic, exciting and positive stage performances I have seen in 2019 so far.
Spirit Animal is a band that creates what feels like a new musical genre with their unique sound while punching you in the face with expressive energy and an epic stage performance all while throwing hand written love notes to your ears. I honestly can’t find a category to put this band in because Spirit Animal is, well… they are Spirit Animal.
~ Lead Photographer Chris Sturk
Spirit Animal Website