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NextGen Spotlight: Spent

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a person wears a yellow jacket and clown make up

Photos by @spit.ting

Glasgow-based artist Spent creates otherworldly electronic soundscapes, and with their debut album, the Youth Music NextGen Fund supported 'City Music For Country Kids', continues to build their own universe.

Mixing glitchy electronic beats with distorted vocals and witty raps, on 'City Music For Country Kids', Spent speaks on everything from embracing their identity to letting loose in the club, even sharing a cover of Shania Twain's hit, 'Man, I Feel Like A Woman!' in their own artistic flair.

With support from i-D and Metal Magazine, and collaborations with fellow Youth Music NextGen Fund alumni, Tsatsamis and LVRA, Spent has been creating a name for themselves as a multidisciplined artist.

The Youth Music NextGen Fund grant enabled Spent to fully release their debut album, put together a launch party, and create a visual zine to accompany it. As the record itself is about community, Spent ensured their friends were involved in the party production, calling upon their contacts for everything from lighting and makeup to DJ and live performances on the night.

We caught up with Spent to hear about the album making process and collaborating with others.

Which was the most challenging part of the album making process, and which was the easiest?

I guess all of it was pretty hard… and all of it was kind of easy. I don’t think music comes that naturally to me, but I love it more than anything so I’ve just learnt how to squeeze a song out. The ideas are always there but I go through at least 8-10 versions before I get a track I’m happy with. That perseverance was hard at times, trusting myself to get there in the end. But I’m so, so proud of the album and happy with how it turned out, I’ve got to appreciate the journey. 

You dedicated a portion of the grant to mixing the album, working with the musician Sleepy Eye. From your experience, how might emerging artists benefit from having a third party mix their tracks, rather than doing it themselves? 

Sleepy Eye was such a pivotal moment in the album making process for me. The little tracks I’d spent tinkering on for the previous two years were suddenly returned to me as actual, real-life …songs :0. It’s so easy to get lost in your vision, and hear what you want to hear - or what you think you hear, so a fresh ear towards the end of the process was vital to make sure everything was showing up where it should. Sleepy Eye and I chatted back and forth quite a lot so he fully understood the the album, the intent, and I guess the sonic soundscape and then he just elevated everything to level I couldn’t have. Big shout out Sleepy!

You also worked with the Glasgow club night, Ponyboy, to organise your album launch party. When releasing something as seminal as a debut album, choosing the right collaborators is especially important. How did you go about this process?

For me, collaboration is all about friendship/connection. CM4CK is a soundtrack to my last two years in Glasgow, partying and having fun with all my queer, non-binary and trans friends, so it just made sense for the launch party to reflect that. Dill and Reece have created such an inclusive, celebratory, high impact space for the queer scene, Ponyboy always just feels like a kind of family affair. It was a no-brainer to have them involved in the launch.

You personally shot visuals for each of the album’s tracks and compiled them into a zine which was released at the party. What was your vision for the zine, and why creating a physical asset such a key piece of the album narrative for you?

The zine was such a necessary and obvious extension of the album for me. A lot of my creative practise has always been within visual media, so it would’ve felt half-cooked if I didn’t provide any images. It was also a moment to spread the albums roots, and get even more of my friends involved. The walls in my room are always covered floor to ceiling in images and inspirations, the zine was almost an act of spring cleaning - compiling the best ideas from the last two years, fully realising them, then making space on my walls for new things haha. I was also obsessed with Tumblr again. I just wanted to make a physical Tumblr blog.


Connect with Spent:

Instagram: @__spent

Find out more about the Youth Music NextGen Fund here.

The Youth Music NextGen Fund has been made possible thanks to our principal partners the Players of People’s Postcode Lottery, and support from PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) and the Dr Martens Foundation. We are also grateful for our vital support from the National Lottery via Arts Council England.