Interview: Armand Lance / Spirit Mother

Armand Lance performs under the name Spirit Mother in the Long Beach/Los Angeles area. He crafts psychedelic power pop that’s as infectious as it is well composed. He just released a new single called “Heathens” with the B-Side “Naked Eyes,” both of which you can hear right here. We also got the chance to touch base with him about his songwriting process, which you can read below!

spirit mother

Photo Credit: Emily Gummig

When did you start writing original music? When did you start performing?

I started writing original music as soon as I started playing guitar. Guitar was a means for me to write, that was the whole point.

You were in Blue Eyed Lucy in college; what has it been like to change who’s made up your bands over time and how has that, in turn, changed your songwriting style, if at all?

It’s an incredibly humbling experience for someone to lend their time to you, and I think the work done with those people directly reflects that. A group is not the same if someone else is in it. I have songs that lasted a few lineup changes in Blue Eyed Lucy and even though we are playing the same notes, it always felt different. I guess the songwriting is always in a state of change. My personal songwriting blends with whoever I’m playing with, and I try my best to let that dictate what the band will sound like and where we will go creatively.

How long does it take you to go from writing a new song to fully recording it with the band?

Depends on how much money you have to spend. It can be done the next week if you like. But luckily for me, I don’t have pockets like that so the song gets to grow a bit before it’s recorded.

“Heathens” and “To Naked Eyes” seem to be pretty different, at least in tone. 

Yeah, I have a feeling that’s going to be a common sentiment. I guess they are pretty different.  “Heathens” was written pretty recently and “To Naked Eyes” is about four-and-a-half years old.  But they don’t feel as [different] to me.

In your own words, what are these two songs about?

Discussing meanings is weird. Everything I write has some sort of meaning/connection to me, as well as my experiences, thoughts, and beliefs. Most of the time, they aren’t things I want to talk about with most people. So I write it down (sometimes vaguely and sometimes directly) and scream it at strangers. It’s therapeutic. Plus, I like hearing what other people think about it after being given a rough outline or sometimes no context at all.

So following that line of thinking, “Heathens” is about organized religion and the role it has played in mine and others’ families. I feel like if you can make out the words, my thoughts are pretty straightforward with that guideline. “To Naked Eyes” is about the most terrible mushroom trip I’ve ever had. The title reads, “To: Naked Eyes,” like a letter I’m writing to a sober self as I slip further into a psychedelic abyss.

Where can people see Spirit Mother perform in the next couple of months?

We are going to concentrate our energy in the Long Beach and LA area. Prospector Bar, 4th Street Vine, Davey Waynes, The Resident, Lost Knight, Harvard and Stone, etc. I’m just naming places I’ve played with my last group, by myself, or plan to play again. I just played a solo set at the Silverlake Lounge last week. But the idea from now on is to play with a full band. Every now and again I like to take shows in Orange County at the Wayfarer, or Constellation room or something. So those are good places to find us.

Carter Moon grew up in the desolate Evangelic capital of the world and responded by developing a taste in counter culture, which eventually bloomed into a love for filmmaking and screenwriting. Carter has average opinions on most things, but will defend them adamantly and loudly until no one else wants to bother speaking up. He runs Crossfader's podcast, IN THE CROSSHAIRS.

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