A Very Spaceface New Year’s Eve

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I caught up with Jake Ingalls of psychedelic party-rock groups Spaceface and The Flaming Lips to ask him about Spaceface’s New Year’s Eve extravaganza at the Young Avenue Deli. The singer/guitarist/sampler/songwriter took a break from vocal warm ups in the studio to tell me about the holiday concert, the band’s new album (halfway done), and their recently released Christmas single.

“We’re finishing up a new record,” Ingalls says over the phone, presumably tucked away in a corner of the studio. “We have six or seven songs pretty much done.” The group’s 2017 offering, Sun Kids, was an explosion of flower child optimism and rainbow rock — and one of this music writer’s favorite records of the year. It even features Julien Baker on the track “Timeshare.” The new record promises to be something different, even if the psychedelic bent is familiar to longtime fans.

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Forced into new territory by the departure of their drummer, Ingalls says he’s begun incorporating samples into the music. “I’m always learning from the Lips,” Ingalls says, explaining that he takes inspiration from the elder group, if not direct input. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” he adds, explaining that using samples is something he’s wanted to try for some time but felt hesitant to commit to doing. Ingalls adds that the inspiration is about “not feeling dismayed, finding a workaround.”

Besides sampled drums and meticulously layered acoustic guitar strums, Ingalls is using field recordings of particle beam dumps supplied by research scientists. The samples, Ingalls says, sound like something right out of Star Wars.


“This summer, I got to go to the Large Hadron Collider,” Ingalls recalls excitedly. He visited the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, where the singer from Spaceface met scientists who study space. Some of them, Ingalls says, also sing in a group called Piña Collider.



So the new Spaceface song “Piña Collider” is named after the only premier scientist-staffed cover band, Ingalls explains. “It’s an ode to the hardworking scientists at CERN.” Spaceface released the single “Panoramic View” in October 2019, and the audience at the New Year’s Eve concert may be among some of the first to see and hear the new songs performed live.

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Spaceface is no stranger to holiday performances. “We just put out a Christmas single,” Ingalls says. The song, titled “Christmas Party (Nice & Naughty),” is a holiday-themed party jam and has been gaining some traction on streaming services. “It’s kind of funny that the metric for success for an unsigned band these days is if you get put on a Spotify editor’s playlist,” Ingalls adds, happily noting that “Christmas Party (Nice & Naughty)” made its way onto one such playlist.


“I feel lucky that in Memphis we’ve become this holiday act,” Ingalls says, referencing the band’s yearly Halloween and New Year’s Eve concerts, which have grown to be full-blown spectacles. Spaceface, a group already well known for their over-the-top live shows, confetti, costumed dancers, and mind-bending light shows, always ups the ante for the holiday concerts. Ingalls says, in all seriousness, that fans can expect to see a “double-necked guitar with lasers on it.” The band, he says, will play dance-inducing rave songs, and Ingalls will spin a DJ set after the band plays.

“We love playing there,” Ingalls says of Young Avenue Deli, a Midtown venue that has seen more than its fair share of alternative rock acts, both local and touring. Think Dinosaur Jr., Built to Spill, Black Lips, Native Blood, HEELS, and Amy LaVere. “We’re excited to break in the new sound system.”


Spaceface performs at Young Avenue Deli, Tuesday, December 31st, at 9 p.m. $10 in advance, $15 at the door.

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