Zane Lowe could have kicked off Beats 1 with an exclusive Pharrell track, St. Vincent’s mixtape or a hit off Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, which had been un-streamable until now. But the star DJ and new host of Beats 1, Apple Music’s 24/7 radio station, started the broadcast with a song called “City” from a little-known four-piece band from Manchester, UK, Spring King.
“We had no idea whatsoever he would do that,” Tarek Musa, Spring King’s frontman, producer and songwriter, tells EW. “I record in a bedroom and I got a text from a guy who writes for a blog like, ‘Hey congrats.’ I really didn’t have any clue what was going on.” Musa says he got the news while recording drums for new music the band is working on. “I could see my screen from my drum set, and I just started seeing the emails going higher and higher. I just stopped recording and went to my computer and was like, ‘This is pretty crazy.'”
Even though Lowe didn’t give them a heads up about his plans, he’s a documented fan and had premiered “City” on BBC Radio 1 when he was still a DJ there. “He spun it twice in a row,” Musa says of the premiere. “We’re an unsigned band so we didn’t ever think that would happen. I just missed it and it’s crazy. He’s heard us in the past and really likes the music, but I never really thought he’d spin us again, really.”
Lowe first introduced the song on Beats 1 by calling it “the one song we keep coming back to.” He said, “I’ve referred to it lyrically when I needed a boost because it’s been stressful and exciting and challenging.” He then compared Spring King to Beats 1. “This band put this EP out a few months ago with little or no fanfare outside of core fans. But they’re building. That’s exactly the kind of story, the kind of record we need to kick this whole thing off with.”
Spring King, who say their influences include the Beach Boys and At The Drive-In, will hit the European festival circuit this summer and open for Spector in the fall. If you’re lucky, you caught them stateside at this year’s SXSW and last fall’s CMJ.
“If you come to a show it’s all about having fun and jumping around,” Musa says. “We really give it our all.”
Hear Lowe’s intro and “City” on Beats 1: