This year's South By Southwest Music + Media Conference will be an odd experience for the members of Spoon, who have usually been at home in Austin as either participants or attendees.
"We play the first day of South By Southwest (Wednesday), and then we leave on tour," says drummer Jim Eno, who co-produced the group's new album, "Transference," with frontman Britt Daniel. "It's the first time since probably 1993 that I will not be here for South By Southwest. It's too bad because I actually like it; we meet so many people on the road and they all come to Austin over South By Southwest and then we can hang out with them -- and I sleep in my own bed."
The road will be Spoon's home for the foreseeable future, however. The group wraps its North American tour on April 18 at Coachella, then heads to Australia for a series of shows. More North American and European festival dates are slated for the summer. "We're just going to play as many shows as we can," Eno says. "We're going to stay out of the studio a little bit and concentrate on live shows for now."
Spoon has every reason to anticipate larger audiences this time out. "Transference" debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 after its January release, the group's best showing yet -- which Eno feels is the result of more than 15 years of putting out music and heavy touring. "For us it's been a slow and gradual climb," he explains. "It's been really great because it hasn't happened where there's been a radio hit or anything like that. It's been a lot of word of mouth. We notice every time we got back to a city (that) we're in a little bigger venue, so that's cool."
Eno says that on "Transference" he and Daniel enjoyed producing Spoon for the first time without longtime collaborator Mike McCarthy, though he adds that "it wasn't a big stretch 'cause we've both been very involved with the recording and production of every Spoon record since (2001's) 'Girls Can Tell.' " And he adds that he and Daniel don't necessarily plan to helm future recordings themselves.
"I think we'll definitely try working with other people again," the drummer notes. "Once we start getting some songs together we'll definitely try different people and see how it works. This definitely doesn't mean we're doing it alone from now on."