“When U Call” elucidates a powerful, ubiquitous statement on modern love and its informality; it is often impersonal, lacking real emotion and relying heavily on just physical attraction. Those late night texts, unprompted DMs, the infrequent yet subtly sexual Snapchats — TL;DR: a booty call. “When U Call” explores why, wondering the point of it all.
Simple, but difficult
The reason is physical
This attraction is action-based
spill tab find their form in explicating half-assed romance. “When you call me, why do you call me late?” Claire Chicha questions over lush synth and percolating beats. The song delves further into emotion through its use of stark piano immediately following the first chorus, attaching stronger feeling before the song continues. Its simple production, complemented by Chicha’s vocals, give spill tab and “When U Call” more than enough to prove their prowess.
“[‘When U Call’] was the first song we ever made together, and we really loved it,” Chicha explains. “It’s a very easy-going vibe.”
Though spill tab is still very much burgeoning from the infancy, that’s not to say they’re not worth their weight in talent. “When U Call” poses as an impressive debut for the duo, and with their Sofar Sounds connection, they’ll easily extend throughout New York City and beyond. Atwood Magazine chatted with spill tab in conjunction with the premiere of “When U Call,” wherein the duo explained the project’s origin story, their bi-coastal background, and with whom they’d most like to collaborate.
Read our interview below, and check out the premiere of “When U Call,” exclusively on Atwood Magazine.
Listen: “When U Call” – spill tab
A Conversation with spill tab
Atwood Magazine: Why did you decide to start spill tab? What inspired it?
Claire Chicha: We just started with that one song and just had a good vibe.
David Marinelli: Yeah, you and I just met up to make music, and really enjoyed it and kept doing it more – and then it became more apparent that it was something that we were going to take seriously.
Claire: I think it was because we loved that first song (“When U Call”) so much. That first experience went so well that we kept writing more shit together, and I think by the second song we just kind of thought, “We should release this, right?”
David: Yeah, and I think there was also something more than that — I make music with so many different people, like, one time, and either never do it again or it’s another couple months until I do it again, and, I don’t know, I think that it’s kind of rare to meet some kind of person that you connect with musically that way, you know?
Claire: Yeah, we have really good musical synergy and I think that’s rare. We just really liked the vibes that we were going for and I think that we became really good friends, and thought, “Fuck it, why not just start a thing?” Also, I feel like we were both in times of our lives where we were down to start a project.
David: Yeah, I think the timing was really good because we were both really serious about careers in music, but not actually in projects.
You’ve already played a Sofar Sounds before even releasing any music. Do you think that being in NYC allows you more freedom to expand as a new artist?
Claire: I think it’s difficult because you don’t live in NYC… It’s difficult to expand as a duo when you’re in LA. Definitely, since you’ve been here though we’ve been able to meet people together. So NY is definitely such a vehicle for expanding the project.
David: I think it’s even more applicable because I just got here. It’s good [for] us being bi-coastal, since I know people in LA and you know people in New York – we expand in both cities.
Claire: That’s actually really cool because I feel like we both have our own hubs of music in our own cities. People from both sides get to help us, and it’s like a whole different extension of community for the both of us. We’re allowing ourselves a larger community of people to help out and for them to help us.
David: The project has been a really interesting case study about in the communities of LA and New York because we’ve taken it one at a time — working with entirely LA people first, and now entirely New York people. It’s cool to see the different changes of pace and work ethics and work flow out here [in New York]. But yeah, I’d say it’s absolutely beneficial, just in a different way than LA is.
Claire: I truly think it’s such a blessing though that we get to have both cities be a part of this experience.
Who are 3 inspirations you feel are reflective of your sound, and 3 that might be surprising to people?
Claire: Personally, I don’t listen to just one artist — I love finding new baby artists. On my Spotify, almost every single save is by a different artist.
David: I’m more like… I just find an artist that I like and I sink my teeth in. Things that wouldn’t be surprising, at least from a production standpoint: Beach House, Sylvan Esso, and…
Claire: …I showed you Puma Blue right?
David: Yeah, I think so.
Claire: Puma Blue is definitely someone that inspires me… Oh Bon Iver, ’cause, it’s Bon Iver.
Claire: Steve Lacy I really love, and feel I have subconsciously tried to pull vibes from Steve Lacey. I have honestly just have such a huge respect for DIY artists — I feel that they’re really musically inspiring, but also from a business standpoint — Omar Apollo, Mac Ayres, MorMor. Who’s an inspiration that you feel has nothing to do with what we make?
David: Shakey Graves – He’s my number one favorite artist, but I feel like I never make music that sounds like his. But he’s my number one.
Claire: Still Woozy is dope.
David: Definitely. I don’t think The Neighbourhood is super surprising — at points, I really tried to go for a vibe like them or Beach House. Or that guy – make out in your car – who is he?
Claire: OMFG, Moses Sumney my boy!
David: Okay, now we’re at 15 artists. I feel like Moses is probably surprising.
Claire: He’s such a unique artist, that relating him to anyone else would be surprising.
What inspired “when u call”?
Claire: We wrote it during literally our first session.
David: I did a little drum beat on my OP-1. Oh also, what inspired a lot of it was Mk.Gee
Claire: Yeah cause you were on that Mk.Gee shit over the summer.
David: Yeah I actually straight stole one of the sounds, like the “PRRR” from something on his [Instagram] story – I saw some snare sound and thought it was so sick.
Claire: I love that. I remember being so nervous because I had never been in a session before and was thinking “What should we do first?” and I got frustrated enough to just sit down and play some motherfucking keys.
David: Oh, yeah, I played the drum beat and you were like “DAY-VID!” and then you wrote that chord progression.
Claire: Yeah, and then the first thing I wrote was the chorus — the first lines were what came out of me, and did the verses later.
David: Yeah, we wanted it to be super lazy — that was the day where I just fucking laid in my bed with my drum pad, right?
Claire: Ha, yeah, [it] was like “What up – this is how it be – this is how it do.”
How much music do you have backlogged currently, that you’re hoping to release?
David: Uh, not much!
Claire: Haha, yeah, not much.
David: We have like two other songs that we’ve like really, really worked on.
Claire: Yeah, we’ve gone in so fucking phat on the two other songs.
David: It’s gonna be weird starting a new thing but I’m really excited for it
Why did you decide for this to be the debut single?
Claire: ‘Cause we only had really, like, a month and a half, two months to be making music while you were also working on stuff and I was interning that entire summer; so I think that realistically we had a pool of 3-4 songs to pick from. We both individually have our favorite songs and they always change too, but I think it was also partially because it was the first song we ever made together, and we really loved it. It’s a very easy-going vibe.
David: It’ll be the gateway drug to our other music. It’s a nice kind of preview to what the project is gonna be — it’s solid first step.
Claire: Yea exactly, and also like whatever, the beat slaps. I love this song.
David: It fucking slaps, okay?
Is there any artist, local or otherwise, that you’d like to potentially collaborate with?
Claire: Weirdly enough, I really haven’t thought about this.
David: Oh I have, I tried to get this shit to happen. Did I show you Vlad Holiday?
David: Vlad Holiday.
David: He’s fucking dope, but he said he’s not looking for collabs right now. He’s in NY though and is so good.
Claire: Honestly, yeah, I don’t think there’s anyone that I’m in mind thinking, “Oh I’d love to work with them.” I’d wanna work with the people that surround us already cause I love them and respect them so hard.
David: Yeah, and like the EP is full of big and small contributions from people that we both love like Cal [Kevany] on guitar and Bert [Gervis] who mastered.
Claire: Exactly, yeah. Gabby [De Oliveira] is killing it on graphics, and that makes me so happy. Nothing would make me happier than to work with those that are in our lives now, and are already doing such great things and just kinda like, killing it.
David: I think that the reason this works and that we went beyond the first session is that we’re all really good friends. And it’s important to me to be working with people that I love, if I’m going to be letting them in on something I think is special. That being said, I bet we’d make some cool stuff with Bon Iver.
Claire: Ha, Daddy Bon Iver, yes, damn.
Plans for an EP or album? More shows?
David: Yeah and yeah.
Claire: Yeah. I mean, we do wanna release an EP eventually, and I think we just always wanna be playing more shows. Like, we just played our first show on Thursday (November 1st) and I truly… fuck, like, that was so much fun. I was nervous about it but it was so much more fun than I could imagine it being. It was so good to have our friends there, and it was also just so good to show people what we’ve been working on so hard and for these past months, you know?
David: Yeah totally, it felt like a really big payoff for a lot of hard work.
Claire: Yeah, it was such a good night overall. So definitely more shows and definitely an EP.
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📸 © Audrey Leshay