“A living room doesn’t give much natural reverb, and it’s not in our interest to artificially construct it”
Modern English Decoration, the second album from Ulrika Spacek, has been entirely recorded, produced and mixed in their shared house. The space, a former art gallery called KEN (so named after a cryptic inscription found above the front door) is the band’s hub – where music, artwork and even band photos are created.
To label the band’s style and sound as “DIY” is a disservice (although they themselves do feel emboldened by this ethos) as their craft is considered and purposeful, and their means of production reflects their overall vision rather than the value system of an often haphazard and accidental DIY culture. “We enjoy listening to music through the album format and want our records to reflect that”, says Rhys Edwards (guitars, vocals, synthesiser). “Though we may explore this in the future, our records are not ‘jam’ records. We’re fans of collage-based art, and create music in the same way.
Ulrika Spacek was formed in Berlin by Rhys Edwards and Rhys Williams, who were later joined by Joseph Stone (guitars, organ, synths, violin), Ben White (bass) and Callum Brown (drums, percussion), after they moved to London.
While there’s an element of domesticity to the album’s creation, the themes that drive the songs are anything but, reflecting an all-too-common sense of mid-twenties alienation and anxiety, alongside the comforts/burdens of self-awareness. The lyrics favour abstraction and the vocals tend to be more impressionistic than declarative, the album title itself offers perhaps the most telling entry point to the record. In part, it’s a self-effacing play on an interior design cliché that references the meticulous creative processes the band adheres to. There’s also a nod towards the environment in which it was created – a Victorian house turned art gallery turned home studio. “This record was made in various rooms in our house, predominantly in the living room. Every part of the album reflects this, from the title to the setting of the lyrics. Doing everything ourselves is not just necessary: it’s important to us, as it allows us to truly create our own world”.
The album is set to be released on 2 June.
Watch the video for Ulrika Spacek’s “Mimi Pretend” below: