Spirit Animal - Making Their Way to the Bay

NYC-based funk/psych/pop band Spirit Animal, who released their infectious EP This Is A Test last year, are known for their phenomenal, in-your-face performances. With a unique mix and comparison to Red Hot Chili Peppers and Beastie Boys, this band gives an outrageous performance and will have you simply bouncing off the walls! They will be bringing their spectacular live show to San Francisco - making a stop at Bottom of the Hill on March 29th.  

The band’s frontman, Steve Cooper, let Splash Magazines in on what ‘Spirit Animal’ means as well as how awesome it is to play in the Bay!

The following has been edited for continuity purposes.


Spirit Animal! Courtesy Photo

How did you know you wanted to be a singer?

I think your parents find out early if you're a performer -- and if not your parents, then your elementary school teachers do.  I was a very vocal and social kid and loved making myself heard.  There are old VHS tapes of me and a friend lip syncing to La Bamba and playing air guitar with a broom around the age of 6 or 7 years old.  I joined the "chorus" in middle school, "won" the Loudest Mouth superlative in high school and, you know, now I'm in Spirit Animal.

What was it like getting the band together, and what did it feel like when the final member joined?

The road to our current lineup was a rocky one.  Original members got scooped up by big bands -- people were in lots of projects -- but now we are all thrilled to have this sense that everyone is equally committed, sharing in the process and the great feelings that result from our work. Relief is probably the best way to describe locking down the final member, immediately followed by awe at how well and quickly he (Ronen, our drummer) adapted to what was going on and how fast he is able to write parts and work with the rest of us. 

What does 'Spirit Animal' mean?

Spirit Animal is about inclusivity, about finding big ideas that touch a lot of people and translating them so it can feel personal, so that everyone can have a good time together.  The traditional understanding of a Spirit Animal revolves around the relationship between a human and nature but our take is more about the relationship between humans and other humans.  Yes, there is a very natural aspect to it -- the physicality and energy we put into the live shows, for instance, are very carnal, animalistic instincts --  but it's really about making other people feel like they're a part of something and that they can unleash that side of themselves when we're all getting down under one roof.

What is some of the music that has a timeless appeal to you guys?

The classics are things we all love and take to heart: Zeppelin, Floyd, Petty, classic soul and funk (Bill Withers, Ohio Players), etc.  But a lot of more modern music has stuck with some of us as well, like forward thinking electronic (Aphex Twin, Amon Tobin) and alternative rock and pop: STP or Weezer, for instance.  And a ton of new music seems like it will become timeless.  Other Lives is a good example of that.  The list is really endless.   

What does your family think about your career choice?

Our families have been bludgeoned into submission.  They're all in.

What is your vision for the band?

Starting parties across the globe. We want to show people what you can accomplish when you're having a good time and busting your ass every day.

Describe your sound:

Equal parts rock, pop, funk and psychedelia. Salt to taste.

Who would you love to work with in the future and collaborate with?

Rick Rubin, right?

You've been compared to the Black Keys and RHCP -- would you agree?

I definitely think there are elements of those groups in what we do, especially with regard to live performance.  Anytime people are using popular acts that are incredibly well-respected to describe you it's an amazing feeling.

Any ritual before going on stage?

Yes.  Pretend to use the bathroom so we can push our set time back 5 minutes.

Best advice for someone wanting to pursue a career in this industry:

Manage your expectations and assume you'll have to do everything yourself.  People want to be a part of what you have going on, not responsible for getting it going.


When playing music I feel like…

I'm going to crash into Paul.

Last thing we googled…


Favorite thing to do when we are off…

Cook for people.

Why are you guys excited to play in San Francisco? 

We have a good bit of personal history there.  I use to crash at Different Fur Studios during the early days of its rebuilding.  We have a bunch of musician buds and friends of friends and it is just exciting to bring the Spirit Animal show here for the first time.

Favorite thing about San Francisco…

10 a.m. beers during football season -- it's already 1 p.m. back in New York!


You be the judge! Be sure to snag your tickets to check them out!


Bottom of The Hill:

1233 17th St.

San Francisco, CA 94107


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