How Spoon Went Home to Find Lucifer on the Sofa

Frontman Britt Daniel dives into making the band's "kick ass" new record

spoon interview britt daniel lucifer on the sofa
Spoon, photo by Oliver Halfin/Illustration by Steven Fiche

    Spoon didn’t quite intend for their next album to became Lucifer on the Sofa. In fact, the title track was almost left off the record entirely.

    To be sure, the blueprint that gives the indie rock stalwarts’ 10th LP its form was there from the start. As frontman Britt Daniel puts it, the band wanted to “shoot for that great rock and roll album status.” It was a desire born as much as a reaction to Spoon’s previous effort, 2017’s “fairly pieced together, very produced” Hot Thoughts, as it was a response to modern music at large.

    “I don’t think there’s enough great rock and roll records out there,” says Daniel.


    Their intention was to deliver this return to rock in 2020. After years living in Los Angeles and recording everywhere from rural New York to Portland, Daniel moved back to Austin, Texas in the fall of 2019. Guitarist/keyboardist Alex Fischel followed close behind, with Spoon convening in drummer Jim Eno’s Public Hi-Fi studio right in the capitol. The band was aiming to break away from the sounds of their recent albums by reconnecting with the “identity and culture” of the city that birthed them.

    “We had made the last couple records in isolation,” Daniel explains. “When you’re working on a record with [Hot Thoughts and They Want My Soul producer] David Fridmann, and you’re working out in the woods in this one studio where you’re staying in these little bunk beds, it’s a different experience from being in a city where you can go out and have a drink or go see a show and then bring that energy back home and write a song with it. That was the design.”

    For a good five months, “it worked beautifully,” with the band enjoying the dynamism of the city and its impact on their own music. Then a different sort of isolation was forced upon them with the onset of the pandemic. Recording halted, and Fischel retreated back to LA. The best laid plans of mice and men had suddenly turned into the longest gap ever between Spoon records.

    “I sure would’ve loved to have put this record out sooner,” Daniel admits. “One thing after another led to it taking longer this time.”

    Those things included Spoon’s greatest hits project, Everything Hits at Once, and recording “No Bullets Spent” specifically for that release. Then just as they eyed settling into sessions again, they were offered a chance to open for Beck in the summer of 2019. When they finally got to Austin and started working in earnest, the pandemic hit.


    Still, without all those delays, Lucifer on the Sofa wouldn’t exist in precisely the same lively, rollicking form it does now. “In the end, I think if anything, it’s just a better record for it,” asserts Daniel.

    During lockdown, Daniel continued writing new material. He found himself so taken with the fresh work he decided to bump tracks previously set for the new album. “Some of those are gonna come out still,” he promises, adding with a laugh, “and then some of ’em I never want to hear again.”

    Songs like early single “Wild,” “The Devil and Mr. Jones,” and “Lucifer on the Sofa” all came from this more solitary period of creativity. That last one captures the coronavirus quiet of the Austin Daniel was living in at the time as a quintessential Spoon track. It sees the narrator “cruising up Lavaca” and “thinking about Dale Watson,” the loneliness reflected in Jim Eno’s steady, contemplative drumming and layered-in synths. Yet despite being so representative of this period and the city which inspired the record, it almost didn’t make the final tracklist.