RGM Introducing – We Interview Spencer Flay

Hiya Spencer thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide to become an artist?

I never really had the confidence to be any kind of musical entertainment, until a rugby club canoeing trip. I was what they’d call a tour virgin. And my punishment was to provide entertainment to the 30 plus numbers of our rugby club and all the other randomers at the bar. 

At this point, I couldn’t play any instrument and I didn’t think I had any sort of singing talent. 

The only party trick I had up my sleeve was the opera from the “Lloyds TSB” advert 

(Tasmanian symphony orchestra – for the journey)

So that’s what I did, the 17 stone front row prop (big fat bloke rugby position) sung opera. And it went down a storm. 

So much I decided I wanted to make a lot more of it. 

Introduce us all to you and your musical history?

My name is Spencer Flay and I’m a 33 year old Docker/Crane operator from Bristol, living the Dock and Roll lifestyle. Unloading ships during the day and playing festivals and various types of music gigs on an evening (when I’m not working a nightshift)

After some surprisingly positive compliments for my unusually high hitting notes on the tour, I decided I wanted to be able to play an instrument at the next tour. So I got the Argos catalog out looking for a guitar. Instead I found a Ukulele, it worked out perfectly, it fitted straight in my backpack so I could take it to work to practice in down time. And I started writing songs up the crane where I spent most of my day job. 

I found a new love for music from this. 

I even wrote my first EP “30 metres above sea level” (a reference to writing my songs up the crane) 

From there it got played on ”Radio Bristol” ”BBC Radio 4” and even ”Points west” (BBC news Bristol) came down to do a news bulletin, which was mad!

What support is out there for new artists in Bristol ?

BBC upload and BBC Introducing are excellent boosts for indie artists who are looking to branch out their tracks to their local areas. And the uploading process couldn’t be easier (I did it from my phone). 

There are also ample open mic nights in and around Bristol to get your music heard to the supportive ear of local enthusiasts, as well as a couple of grassroots festivals. 

Who is inspiring you at the minute on the Bristol music scene?

I have a vast liking to all sorts of music, from Grime artists like Komposa, to great male pop vocalists like MJ Duke (who’s joining me on a gig next May in Bristol) 

What would you like to see more of in Bristol?

I’d just love for Bristol to continue to be the creative part of the UK it always has been. All the regular clubs, bars, venues and festivals all took a big hit from Covid. And I really hope they get the funding to be able to make all the cider drinking  parties come back full flow. 

What useless party trick /talent do you have? 

Singing opera, particularly the Lloyds TSB advert and making a clown horn noise with my mouth. 

What was the most fun you have had on stage?

Playing my song “Little Bro” on stage and getting a laugh out of a popular line in the 2nd verse. 

What was the worst experience on stage?

Some old man giving me a hard time at a gig before for not playing any Irish songs was bad/funny. I thought he was gonna fill me in 😂 

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about? 

I write most of my songs up a crane 🏗, my day job is a Docker and I operate cranes for a living so when there’s any downtime I write lyrics, then write the music with my ukulele that I carry in my work backpack. I also love sausage dogs.

What advice would you give other artists starting out?

Don’t be scared to experiment and be different. 

And practice until it’s as easy as making a cup of tea. 

What’s your biggest achievement as an Artist?

Knowing that someone had one of my songs as their first dance. That hits me differently knowing people can connect in such a way with a song that I wrote. 

What makes you stand out as an Artist?

17 stone rugby player that writes songs from the heart with a ukulele. 

Also I think I’m the only person I know that has made a dubstep/Drum and bass track with a ukulele in it. 

Right now, what’s pissing you off the most in the industry?

I think music nowadays is very much judged on how much of a following an artist has rather than the music and talent itself. 

And there’s a lot of good music not getting the recognition it deserves because they’re camouflaged by the bigger artists. 

What’s your favourite song to play live and why?

I’ve got a couple…

I love playing a song of mine called “Little Bro” it’s a story about siblings being mischievous and outright annoying little s@!#s. And the second verse there’s a funny (and unfortunately) true story involving me, some poo and a bath, but the song tells it better. 😂 it always gets a great reaction from the crowd. 

And another of mine called “Storm”, a ukulele HipHop track that’s in your face and nods heads immensely. 

I hear you have a new LP called Sound Waves out, what can you tell us about it?

If I say so myself, It’s the best work I’ve made to date. It’s extremely honest, it’s very me and it’s very down to earth, I’m extra proud that I’ve managed to keep my natural Bristolian accent in there without sounding like a novelty. 

Critical & Billionaire were the singles but which is your favourite song?

They both have their reasons for being my favourite, but out of the two ”Billionaire” is a perfect representation of a love song for me. It’s literally about Mrs Flay and what we get up to. And apparently we’re very relatable. 

What was it like working with your producer Dasin?

The day I listened back to what Dasin did to the tracks, I was blown away. He’s a proper talented top bloke that took the LP to a different level. 

He was a great motivator and we just had a musical connection that I can only imagine twins having. 

Would you change anything now that it’s finished?

I can honestly say that I’m 100% happy with how it’s turned out. Which I’ve never said before. 

What are your plans to shout about the LP?

I’ve already had an overwhelming response from BBC radio Bristol and I had my debut with BBC introducing. 

There’s also a BBC documentary coming out in February next year which I’m involved with that I’m looking forward to. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world? 

I’m holding a charity event for a local animal sanctuary “Holly Hedge” throughout December. The campaign is called “Dogs aren’t just for Chrimbo” and it’s to raise money & awareness for dogs that are bought for Christmas without any proper thought and later become stressed or even abandoned.

I’m a massive dog fan, and you may have seen my sausage dog (Frankie) makes an appearance on the front of the cover of my LP too. The work Hollies do for dogs and cats is something that gets me everytime, so I’m raising money for them and their amazing voluntary work.