Spence is a Leeds-based singer/songwriter, and has released music with numerous bands and under various guises since 1999.
Last Night's TV was formed by Spence and Owen Marriott in late 1999, experimental early recordings becoming acoustic indie-folk with the addition two years later of Sarah Jones on violin and Natalie Long on vocals. The band were selected as one of Leeds Council's 'Bright Young Things' in 2002, leading to "From The Top Of The Watchtower" being recorded for the annual compilation. The same year, LNTV won the BBC's Re:Covered contest with their straight-faced interpretation of The Offspring's "Why Don't You Get A Job". Regulars on the city's live scene throughout the 00s, the frequently changing line-up has self-released six albums to date. Their festive single from 2010, "No Tinsel On The Town Hall", picked up airplay on BBC Radio 2, as did "12th June", the lead single from the most recent album, The End Of The Measured Mile.
Albums: Too Much In Doubt (2002), Daylight Between The Blades (2003), Letters Without Envelopes (2005), Local Knowledge (2007), Everyone Here Was A Stranger (2010), The End Of The Measured Mile (2013). The most recent two can be heard in full on the listen page. A selection of key singles and songs from the earlier albums can be heard on this compilation.
Click to enlarge: Last Night's TV (2002), Nikoli (2004), The Housekeeping Society (2011)
Alongside LNTV, Spence played guitar and bass in indie-rock quartet Nikoli between 2003-2005, during which time the band released a handful of EPs and singles, including "Take It And Go", which Spence co-wrote with frontman Tim Hann.
In 2005, Spence started playing bass with songwriter Ric Neale, leading to the recording of Ric's Someone Else's Home EP in 2009. After a brief detour recording and releasing a handful of Spence's songs as The March Greens, Ric, Spence and percussionist / electronic wizard Ivan Mack shortly afterwards relaunched themselves as folk-pop trio The Housekeeping Society. First album This Way To Power was a song-cycle about people living in a northern town in the time of the industrial revolution, and featured songs using found sounds of period machinery turned into loops. 2012's follow-up Postcards was another concept record, this time looking at the rise and fall of the British seaside as a holiday destination. Again, sounds recorded at Whitby and Scarborough were manipulated to form beds for songs about the residents and visitors of a typical seaside town. The album's "Seaside Mystery Man" was selected by The Word magazine to feature on their cover-mount CD in the summer of 2012. The band followed this up by writing the soundtrack to 154 Collective's theatre production 'The Orange Dog'. They toured the north of England with the production during February 2013, performing the album Songs From The Orange Dog in full as part of the show.
Albums: This Way To Power (2011), Postcards (2012), Songs From The Orange Dog (2013), Let Bygones Be (2013)
Click to enlarge: Low Moor Rising (2015), Navigation Day (2016), Last Night's TV (2017)
In 2014, Spence formed a new folk trio, Low Moor Rising, with former LNTV bandmate Sarah Jones and vocalist Emma Gatherer. Setting traditional folk lyrics to new melodies and arrangements, their debut double-A-side single "Over The Hills And Far Away / She Draws Her Cloak Around Her" in the summer of 2015 was followed a year later by "Just As The Tide Was Flowing / Cushions". He also carried out production work on Emma Gatherer's solo EP release Wing And Water in the spring of 2016.
May 2016 saw the release of the Mid-Decade Blue EP by Navigation Day, a duo comprising Spence and occasional collaborator Tim Hann (ex-Nikoli, I Concur). The EP's release was accompanied by a video for lead track "Town", the song's lyrical snapshots about the constantly changing face of the modern metropolis reflected in a visual snapshot of their adopted home town of Leeds. Filmed on a Sunday afternoon in February 2016, the video attempts to capture the sense of a bustling and beautiful city tinged with the knowledge that if the same film were to be reshot even just a couple of months later, developments and progress will have caused the skyline to evolve again. Later in the year, the video was selected for screening at the 30th Leeds International Film Festival as part of the International Music Video Competition.
"Town" (dir: Spencer Bayles & Sarah Bayles)
Other projects along the way have included a brief sideline with Natalie from LNTV under the name Luxe In, whose one and only single, the lo-fi alt-rock "Come Forward" ended up on BBC 6 Music when released in 2011. In 2014, Spence produced the recordings of songs and stories for Matthew Bellwood's art project '365 Leeds Stories - A Leeds Labyrinth', which was staged at the city's Central Library.
The latter part of 2016 saw a couple of brand new releases. "Good Sport / Rescue Yourself", released in October, was the first single Spence has released under his own name, and this was followed by the inclusion of another new song - "A Man To Save" - on the 60 Second Recordings compilation Volume 1: I Found Myself Mirrored In Autumn, a ten-minute album comprising ten songs by ten different Yorkshire acts.