Spraynard 2.0: Spray Harder

Spraynard 2.0: Spray Harder

By Ashley Partridge

Dec 23, 2015 12:00

Make it stop. Oh God, please make it stop. I share an awkward glance with Spraynard’s bassist, Jake, and we both take long sips of our drinks. I shuffle towards the end of the table and cringe like I’m watching a chat-up line go horribly wrong.

“So where abowts in Americuh are yuh from?” the very Mancunian homeless man asks Pat, the band’s guitarist and vocalist.

“Pennsylvania but it’s closer to New York,” Pat replies. He really is handling this like a champ.

After more questions about what he’s doing on tour, what guitar he uses, how much he paid for it, how much that would be in pounds, what kind of music he plays and repeatedly thanking him for the two pence, the man stumbles off.

“Well played,” I say to Pat and give him a nod of approval. They really are pretty nice guys.

We’re sat outside The Thirsty Scholar pub in Manchester to talk all things Spraynard but Pat makes the rookie mistake of engaging one of the many homeless men that accost people for spare change.

Once done, I want to get the difficult stuff out of the way first: their hiatus in 2012 and the departure of original bassist, Mark.

Pat is surprisingly calm about it: “I understand why it happened and I’m in a mindset now that I can avoid it happening again, in the same way. It was more a lack of communication than a problem that we couldn’t get past. We all say that, in hindsight, we should have never broken up.”

“Mark’s leaving made a lot of sense. He was always a full-time job kinda guy and we were just kind of prepared for it. We lucked out that Jake said yes because we were most stressed about finding the right replacement,” he explains.

Jake offers his point of view: “I had just finished school and wasn’t ready to go to the real world. Somehow it all worked out. We’d been friends a long time before that.”

He has a teaching degree and focused on Elementary (that’s Primary to us UK folk) school but now fits Spraynard in around his job in a pizzeria. It might not sound glamourous but, like many people in his 20s, he’s unsure what he wants and the band helps gives him focus.

“It’s hard knowing what I’m gonna do with my life. When we’re off tour and I’m home, delivering pizzas, I’ll have days off where I just kinda do nothing. Being on tour feels more worthwhile,” he says.

Earlier this year, the new Spraynard dropped their third album, ‘Mable’ on legendary emo/punk publisher Jade Tree. It seems fitting that the new record from a rejuvenated punk band would find a home on a label that has gone through something of a rebirth itself.

Musically, it isn’t all that different from their earlier material but there’s a darker edge to the lyrics. Where previous songs dealt with hope and finding ways to be positive, the new stuff seems more honest about misery.

“I’ve always had this attitude of you’re gonna be kinda sad your whole life. There’s always gonna be this melancholy to your life and Spraynard, for me, has always been about navigating that melancholy. With ‘Mable’ I was trying to be more personal and thinking less about how people listen to it. It was really cathartic,” Pat says.

One theme in particular seems to be his struggle with growing up. At 27, he’s no spring chicken anymore but he confesses that he doesn’t feel his age.

“I’m kind of ashamed about how I’ll always feel like a kid. I can’t not feel young. I could be President of the United States and still feel like a child.

“If you’re into punk, it’s likely that you’re always going to feel like an outcast or an adolescent. Going to shows and seeing kids so amped up on music is really important to me. These kids need an outlet for the shit they’re going through and I’m someone that never left that realm,” he explains.

The fact that he works at a videogame arcade and indulges me in a discussion about the new Star Wars movie, somehow managing to skirt the issue of whether Han or Greedon shot first, suggests that he’s not ready to grow up.

Having a full-time job to fund music seems par for the course these days but Pat hammers home how important it is to maintain a job outside of a band, even just for mental stability.

He says: “I was talking to Barry from Joyce Manor about it and they could definitely [make a living off their music] but for him it’s more psychological. I know he works a job just to do it. I’ve talked to a lot of people about that and agree that you need that shitty part of your life. It’s an American attitude that without work you’re worthless. You need to feel downtrodden so that your art can feel inspiring.

“No-one likes Jack Johnson type songs,” he chuckles.

No-one, except for surfers and boring twats.