Is that Johnny Quinn from Spinn?: An Interview
If you ask any musically orientated teenager in Liverpool who Spinn are, they’re likely to not just know of their catchy tunes, but know Johnny, Sean, Andy and Louis personally, approachable lads – lads who by all accounts are causing a spinn (to excuse the pun) with their self-entitled jangly dream pop. So much so that they have recently signed recording deals in America and Japan, and are heading a UK tour this very week!
I had the greatest pleasure to catch up with the lead singer himself, Johnny Quinn, before their set at Liverpool Sound City this May and explore everything from the origins of the name Spinn to their new EP.
Johnny: Hello! I’m Johnny Quinn from Spinn! Every time I say that it’s like “eyyyyy” (laughter) – the one and only.
Eve-Marie: So, what is the significance of the name Spinn with two N’s?
Johnny: I hate this question! (laughter) Basically, I have to admit this every interview that we were a mod band when we started off, and it hurts me to say that we used to wear suits and stupid things like that and we were called The Spinning Tops. The name was dead sixties but we were writing tunes that sounded like the modern day Spinn, so we kinda got rid of the ‘–ing Tops’ and the ‘The’ and thus, the name Spinn was born.
Eve-Marie: Nice! Did you have any other ideas of names? Anything else that shows off your style?
Johnny: The Smiths but not The Smiths, (laughter) that’s the name I’d go for.
Eve-Marie: Amazing. How would you describe your sound?
Johnny: Its…nice! That’s how I’d describe it. You’ll have to listen to it, pointing at you recorder. Listen and find out! But, very upbeat, it suits summery vibes, relaxed, much like myself!
Eve-Marie: How do you think Liverpool has influenced your sound?
Johnny: Massively to be fair like, we started off trying to be The Beatles, obviously everyone does that in Liverpool. But then, you get more and more into the Liverpool scene and learn more about bands from back in the day such as Echo and The Bunnymen. There’s a band called Candy Opera, this band that never managed to get signed, which were meant to be big and it never happened. One of them happens to work in a car park with me and Sean, you just find bands like that – and take things like that on board.
Eve-Marie: Really interesting that. So how did you guys meet?
Johnny: Year 8 Geography (laughter) was when Andy and I met, then he left our school and met Sean and was like “ey lad, I hear you’re a mod” to me and I was like “yeah man I am a mod I like mod music, I like wearing suits” so we made a band. We met Louis walking down the street with some drumsticks in his hand, when George, our old drummer, joined the police and we were like “do you drum bro?” and he was like “yeah I do drum alright” and we asked if he wanted to drum for us and he said “f***in yeah I do.” And yeah, that’s how Spinn started.
Eve-Marie: How did you progress from a mod band?
Johnny: Ohhhh I hate it (laughter). The thing is, I stopped being a mod after Andy asked me to join the band, so I had to pretend to be a mod for the first two months to avoid being kicked out. I kept writing jangly indie whilst being in the band, and eventually it worked out.
Eve-Marie: How important do you think image is to your band?
Johnny:Well, I think if you just Google us you’ll find out how much people love our haircuts… Nah I’m joking! No-one f***ing knows who we are. I mean, image as a band is very important, that you dress a certain way just so people can tell what you’re about, that’s my personal view on it. But, I mean, when it comes to reviews and people start talking about your haircuts it makes you doubt how you dress. Maybe I should just go on with a sock over my d*** and maybe people won’t judge me anymore (laughter). They probably still would wouldn’t they? The Red Hot Chilli Peppers did that and they’re f***in awful. I watched for ten minutes at Leeds and had had enough, 14 year old Johnny went to go see Two Door Cinema Club instead.
Eve-Marie: After the recent success of your EP, which I can’t stop listening to, especially ‘Who You Are’, what is your favourite song?
Johnny: Ah thank you! Success is a very kind word. ‘November’ for sure, it’s a love song, I wrote it – well Andy wrote the music and I wrote the lyrics. It’s a lot of fun to play live because I just get to dance like a f***ing idiot and I like the synths on it, I think we should use more synths in the future.
Eve-Marie: What are your plans for the future then?
Johnny: Might go to Cornwall this summer (laughter)
Eve-Marie: Yeah just in general yeah (laughter)
Johnny:I suppose if the band calls I’ll be there for anything. No but we have a tour coming up, gonna be amazing, playing Liverpool as well on the 28th September so come along!
Eve-Marie: So, this is a genuine question, did you create Helvetica?
Johnny: (laughter) Yes. People for some reason were doubting me. I’ve got a Masters in Graphic Design and my final project was Helvetica and for some reason this band called The 1975, never heard of them, they think that they can use it, man I’m gonna sue the s*** out of them. I’m gonna kick anyone’s head in (laughter). I was going to wear a t-shirt today that just said ‘Helvetica’- that’s a good merch idea. Helvetica by Spinn.
(If you are behind the times on the Helvetica debacle – read this tweet: https://twitter.com/spinn_band/status/991612747447193601?lang=en)
Eve-Marie: If you weren’t in a band, what do you think you would be doing right now? Going to Sound City?
Johnny: No, I’d be too sad! I mean it’s the first time we’ve played at this festival so I would have just been like this could have been me. I’d probably still be doing Law at university, revising or something horrible. Imagine me on a law course!
Eve-Marie: Well at least you can sue The 1975 (laughter).
Johnny: I was getting so much stick for hating The 1975 on Twitter and I was like guys if you scroll back through our band social medias I go on about The 1975 all the time – I’m one of you!
Eve-Marie: A 1975-er forever. Thanks for the interview I’m going watch your set and hopefully get some dancing tips!
Johnny: Thank you! We’ve been Spinn and you’ve been spun x
Listen to the SPINN EP here: https://soundcloud.com/spinn-band/sets/spinn-ep-1
Listen to their new single ‘Shallow’ here: https://spoti.fi/2AzGTZl
Tickets for SPINN’s UK tour can be found here: https://www.seetickets.com/tour/spinn