It’s a rare treat to find a band who so easily transports listeners to another place. It’s even better when the experience is enhanced during their live sets. On multiple occasions while watching LA’s Spindrift perform, I’ve felt the transformative and utterly delightful power of their mostly instrumental and moody spaghetti western songs. The music is driven by its imagery, and surprisingly, it is done without the use of many lyrics.
“When I first started composing songs … I [always] saw it more as the instrumentals telling a story,” says Spindrift’s guitarist, Kirpatrick Thomas. “[The instrumentals] put you in a different place. For me, that was more important than what the lyrical content was.” Driven by ethereal melodies, Spindrift’s music paints a vivid picture of life in a romanticized Old West. During their show at The Garage last November, as they played through their set to a packed room and I stood on top of one of the booths to see over the sweaty masses, the performance became playful and one of the most memorable of any band I’ve seen. My friends and I staged fake gunfights, roped cattle, rode horses into the sunset, saved damsels in distress from railroad tracks and, of course, walked through imaginary saloon doors to shoot whiskey and claim a whore for the night. Sound absurd? I’m sure that’s how we looked, but as Spindrift played through their set, the film reel that clicked through my head was beyond epic.
It’s not surprising that Spindrift’s music has a cinematic quality—an interest in working in the film industry is actually what led Thomas to relocate Spindrift from Delaware to Los Angeles in 1998. “We weren’t breaking any ground as far as moving the band ahead with a following,” says Thomas. “We wanted to get involved with soundtrack composing. We decided the movie industry would be the place to get started with that.”
Their music has appeared in HBO’s East Bound and Down, Quentin Tarantino’s Hell Ride and their own film, The Legend of God’s Gun, based on their album of the same name. In 2012 alone, their music is set to appear in a new Christian Slater film called El Diablo and director Burke Roberts’ The Legend of the Widower Colby Wallace. Thomas says he believes that it is through the band’s extensive touring that they’ve landed such gigs. “I think [touring] is the only reason that people have chosen Spindrift as their act to score something or heard our music [and wanted] to place it in a film. I think those go hand in hand—playing live and refining your music, getting exposed and writing new material that’s awesome and creative,” says Thomas.