Welcome to their parlor

By Sophia Coleman

The deep vibrations of bass and rhythmic riffs of M.I.A and all things vulgar brought Chicago-based band Spider to the Fly together.

Two Columbia students—Jack Collier, junior interdisciplinary major with a focus on music and fashion, and Sid Blastfemmy, music business major, magnetically connected in the summer of 2011 to spread messages of rebellion and awaken primal instincts in their fans.

Over the past year, the eclectic duo has collaborated with local artists like RomΔnce and Impolite Society, performed at venues and house parties and are now in the midst of producing music videos for two of their most popular tracks: “Boys Cry” and “Spit.”

The Chronicle caught up with Collier and Blastfemmy to see where they draw inspiration from, what they love about fashion and what advice they have for newcomers to Columbia.

The Chronicle: What’s with the name?

JC: It’s from a Victorian poem called “Spider and the Fly” by Mary J. Howitt. It’s about seduction and flattery and about a spider luring a fly into its web by telling her how beautiful she is. We want to seduce and activate people’s sex drives, but also make commentary on how people can be gullible and there are consequences [to] believing certain things.

The Chronicle: What do you each bring to the band?

SB: I am this little girl from Baltimore. I am so cheesy and tacky, but also very urban. Even when it comes to music, I love that cheesy, tacky stuff. I love House music—not to say it’s tacky—but I love that scene.

JC: I think that I am the counterpart to what Sid is. I pull a lot from history, from what I’ve read and learned. She pulls very strongly from the street look, while I pull from an aesthetic origin.

The Chronicle: Tell us how fashion plays into your creative process, what your style is and why it is so important?

JC: My whole thing about fashion is that it’s totally relative to time and place, and if your look has an uncomfortable relationship with those elements, it causes an interesting phenomenon.

SB: It’s really grungy and dirty. A lot of the times I am grabbing things off the floor of a thrift store. That plays into our music, too, because when we are creating a track, we grab from all kinds of places and take the s–t other people didn’t want and make it into something worthwhile.

The Chronicle: What do you tend to write about?

SB: A big thing about [our writing] is androgyny. Jack and I are very sexual people, so it naturally comes out in our music.

JC: Our main goal is reactivating people’s primal emotions—like anger, sex, fear and sadness. I think those are kind of lost in the glitz and glamour of going to the club, which we love all that kind of music, but we want to bring that animal instinct into [our music.]

The Chronicle: What about Columbia inspires your work?

SB: I think Columbia has opened our eyes up. The classes that we take don’t necessarily give us specific ideas, but they do give us the inclination to explore. The school gives us that extra push that you need. They show you the tools that you need to seek inspiration.

JC: Sid and I are very instinctual people, and where we’re coming from could happen without Columbia, but the school does give you so many tools and networking opportunities. I am a huge advocate of education. Any education, especially how Columbia gives it so liberally, is important. They allowed me to self-design my own degree, and I don’t think any other school could give me that.

The Chronicle: What advice would you give to newcomers of Columbia?

JC: Never stop learning. Be inspired by everything around you. Don’t let anyone tell you what you cannot do. Those are all clichés, but that’s what I’ve found to work.

SB: It was predetermined before we came to Columbia that we would be in a band. So go with your instincts. If you’re gravitating to a certain group of people or aesthetic, go with it. Follow your dream, but be smart about it. Write down your goals and be proactive. Sitting on a couch, watching TV, won’t get you anywhere. Get your ideas out there.

Check out Spider to the Fly’s tracks on SoundCloud.com/SpidertotheFly