Interview: Believe It or Not, SPINN Inject Sunshine into Therapeutic Indie Pop

SPINN © Sam Crowston
Watch SPINN’s fun, high-spirited “Believe It or Not” video and get to know one of Liverpool’s fastest-rising indie pop bands in our coming-of-age interview!
“Believe It or Not” – SPINN

Some songs just have that special glow: A radiant warmth that beckons listeners forth, inviting us to bask in that same visceral energy the musicians felt in bringing their music to life. There’s no rhyme or reason as to why some artists or tracks have it and others don’t, but you know it when you hear it: Often times, that’s the artist you want to tell all your friends about, and that’s the music you end up playing on repeat. Liverpool’s SPINN have given indie pop a fresh rinse this month with their dazzling effervescence and undeniable charm, giving audiences everywhere a new underdog to root for as they begin their climb to the top!

SPINN album art

SPINN’s debut album

Everyone’s changed but in the wrong way
But then again,
who am I to say what’s right?

When you say, “Where did all the fun go?”
Don’t you know, its only a Monday
And I, I’m tired, so tired
Cos everyday just
seems the same nowadays
Are you tired? I’m so tired
I swear it’s all the same

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the fun, dance-filled music video for “Believe It or Not,” the opening track and single off SPINN’s brand new, self-titled debut album.

Recently released May 3, 2019, SPINN is a powerful introduction to one of Liverpool’s most exciting young pop acts. The four-piece of Jonathon Quinn, Andrew Power, Sean McLachlan, and Louis O’Reilly (all aged 20 to 21) deliver a refreshing guitar-driven sonic blast that’s as colorful as their album’s technicolor spin art. SPINN have been on an upward trajectory since debuting online in 2017, the release of their debut album solidifes their place as a band to watch in the months and years to come.

Their big splash begins with “Believe It or Not,” a euphoric coming-of-age song recognizing how one’s actions don’t always line up with one’s intent. Bubbly melodies enliven the spirit as lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Jonathon Quinn sings an apologetic acknowledgement – recognizing he’s as responsible as everyone else is for the discord and disconnect he’s currently experiencing:

Believe it or not, despite what it looks like
I never wanna let you down when I do
Believe it or not, despite what it looks like
I never mean to come across like I do

Quinn sings passionately in the chorus, surrounded by jubilant vocal harmonies that continuously uplift in spite of the lyric’s more reflective, ruminative nature. In many ways, “Believe It or Not” is the perfect jumping off point for SPINN. It’s a wash of happiness coating a wash of serious – a fun, high-spirited and good-natured track injecting light into a dark and lonely room.

Spinning heavy, dark, and sad subjects to feel accessible and easier to talk about, SPINN’s music is the kind to listeners rejuvenated. “The music and lyrics on this album were written by some awkward, skinny and frankly kind of weird looking lads who are from the suburbs of Liverpool and Birmingham,” Quinn tells Atwood Magazine. “We just wrote what we feel to be true to our experiences growing up: anxiety, self loathing, falling in love, witnessing things fall apart, missing your friends – that’s what it’s about. It’d be good if some people might like it, and hopefully one day it’ll help a kid somewhere get their head around things, in the same way bands we love have done for us. That’s the goal.”

SPINN © 2019

SPINN © 2019

The music video for “Believe It or Not” finds SPINN in high spirits, dancing their hearts out to the feelgood tune. Says Quinn: “We were given a green screen and were told to dance like the performing monkeys we are… this was the result.”

SPINN aren’t the only ones having a good time with their music. “Believe It or Not,” and indeed the entirety of SPINN’s self-titled debut album, is an electrifying adventure just waiting to be discovered.

Get to know SPINN in our interview below, and stream “Believe It or Not” alongside the brand new album on Atwood Magazine!

“Believe It or Not” – SPINN


Atwood Magazine: Why did you choose “Believe It or Not” to be the opening single for your debut album?

Jonathon Quinn: It felt like the natural position for the song to be in, both musically and lyrically. It’s mostly because of the opening guitar riff, it’s like a build-up to something and then when the drums come in and it all goes off it creates like a snowball effect of feelgood indie pop I guess. When we listened to all the tracks back that’s what we thought and that’s why (I think) it just feels like the right song for first track of our debut album.

Everyone's changed, but in the wrong way; then again, who am I to say what's right?” These the first words we hear off the record; what is their significance, to you?

Quinn: This line is me looking back in retrospect at my experience of bing a teenager growing up in Liverpool, I wrote the lyrics to this song when I was 19, so it was an in-between kind of time. It’s a sad line really. I’m talking to all the figures who played a part in my teenage experience who aren’t there anymore, and almost asking them where they are, if that makes sense. I’m also acknowledging that it’s selfish of me to assume that they’re the ones who have changed and/or left and that these things can’t be helped. As you get older people drift out of your life and it’s sad, but that’s just what happens.

To me, “Believe It or Not” is this quintessential coming-of-age song about recognizing that your actions don't always line up with your intent. I've been through this quite a lot; why is this subject matter important for you, and how did you decide to write a song about it?

Quinn: It’s something I suffer a lot, I’m naturally quite an anxious person and as a result I always tend to say too much or act up a bit when I’m around big groups of people. I write lyrics to portray my emotions and experiences; this outlet usually formats itself in 3 minute radio friendly indie pop chunks, so as something I get stressed about it’s only natural that I’ve ended up writing part of a song about it. It’s usually subconscious and a lot of the time I figure out what the song is about months later, it’s great therapy when you realise you’ve got something off your chest via an art form. These questions are good, they have me thinking about stuff.

How does this song differ from “Is There Something That I Missed?” for you? How do these songs show different sides to SPINN?

Quinn: I think musically, “Believe It Or Not” is a lot poppier than “Is There Something That I Missed.” We definitely went for that kind of vibe in the studio, there’s A LOT of harmonies on there, that took a long time recording but it was good to experiment with our extra poppy sound. BION is also more traditionally “Liverpool sounding” I think — influences like the La’s and The Lightening Seeds are rife on that, whereas ITSTIM is (in my opinion) very “Manchester sounding” — e.g. The Stone Roses, The Smiths etc.

Both cities have boss musical histories and both massively influenced us, however I’d say that the contrast between BION and ITSTIM highlights the contrast, which isn’t as noticeable on other tracks on the album. Good Spot!

As a band, SPINN have a lot of sounds and stories going into this record. Can you talk about how your debut came together conceptually, and why these 11 songs are the right ones to introduce your band to the world this way?

Quinn: Conceptually there isn’t a single theme that we tried to follow, essentially when putting this album together we just wrote a lo of songs (I think around 75/80 in total), chose the ones we liked and the ones we thought our current audience would like the most and then BOOM! you have the album. That’s not to say the songs that didn’t make it aren’t good enough, we’ll hold onto them for now; it’s just that these were the most typically indie pop sounding songs, and that’s what we’re doing right now. Who knows what the future holds, baby!

In the PR you talk about moments of doubt and defiance, disconnection and re-connection, holding on and letting go. Pretty much all of these come down to relationships and navigating the murky waters of the self and its interplay with others. I suppose you could argue all art is about this in some way, but why do you think the album ended up being about these subjects in particular?

Quinn: Each song has a different theme lyrically but I guess you could say that, as you put it ‘relationships, self and its interplay with others’ is a general theme of the album. The album is very personal to me, I get a real kick out of writing about the serious stuff in my life and painting over it with a pop music sheen, but at the same time I think what I’ve written is almost universal, a lot of people will have went through the emotions and experiences I’ve tried to share on this album and that, for me, is one of its main strengths.

Look, the music and lyrics on this album were written by some awkward, skinny and frankly kind of weird looking lads who are from the suburbs of Liverpool/Birmingham and who also like The Smiths a bit TOO much. We’ve just wrote what we feel to be true to our experiences growing up: anxiety, self loathing, falling in love, witnessing things fall apart, missing your friends that’s what it’s about. It’d be good if some people might like it, and hopefully one day it’ll help a kid somewhere get their head around things, in the same way bands we love have done for us. That’s the goal.

Here's an easy one to end with! What are you most excited for people to hear off the album, once it comes out?

Quinn: I feel like I’ve just ran a marathon but in a good way, it’s very nice to have Music Journalists who actually do their research ask us questions so thank you very much for that.

I want people to listen to “July At a Glance” because that’s my favourite song. But I’m most excited for the bad reviews, they’ll keep me up at night and that’s when I write my best lyrics!

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:: stream/purchase SPINN here ::

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📸 © Sam Crowston


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6th DEC – 02 Academy1 – Liverpool
Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com