Pushing boundaries, music mad and possessing a heavily artistic flair. Reece Spencer, who is a guitarist for an alternative rock band, graphic designer, and professional at a fresh and intimate bar, discusses all things post-punk and turning a passion into a profession.
Glam rock energy, funkadelic fun, post-punk aesthetics. ZEROX bar; Reece Spencer’s new and exciting project. Whilst being a Guitarist for A Festival, A Parade and a Graphic Designer, Reece is now delving into hospitality, but with a creative edge. Reece discusses making his mark in the music industry, having a voice as a new, niche business and how he incorporates his creative flair for graphic design into his numerous professions.
“The bar is an intermix of post-punk aesthetics, boundary-breaking music, weird b movies and 80s art,” explains Reece. ZEROX bar, which is built on the first ever ticket office for the central station in Newcastle, opened five months ago. It is something completely intimate and new, “We want to be a bar in the city centre that has become known to run after parties for shows. Newcastle has never been a place where people can go and potentially see the band after the show. The most recent event we hosted was for Young Fathers, where the band came down afterwards. People can mingle and discuss a topic or genre they are really passionate about.”
Reece hopes that ZEROX can become a horn for the weird and wonderful, but the bar incorporates so much more than NYC’s thriving punk-disco scene. Its heavy links to Newcastle in itself, make it all the more personal and valuable to the city. The owner, Kristian Atkinson, has been a part of Newcastle’s nightlife for decades promoting and DJing at Dragnet and Jukebox which was one of the many inspirations for the kind of music being played at the new bar.
With Reece already being a guitarist for A Festival, A Parade, an alternative rock band, there was no doubt he would thrive in being part of the ZEROX team, “If I had to choose one icon it would be Kurt Cobain from Nirvana in the 90s because it was when I was born so that was the freshest, real punk genre that there was.” Reece is also heavily influenced by the New York / Indie movement so bands like The National and Interpol inspired him to step it up a notch and make music for a living. The bar has allowed him to take his passion a step further.
Although ZEROX is fairly new, it has created quite a presence already, especially through its creative and aesthetically pleasing Instagram. Reece describes the platform as one of the most important methods of marketing on the internet right now for business, “Everything moves in circles with social media. When I grew up it was MySpace, then Facebook became popular and now Instagram is thriving. It is a constant surge of people wanting to feel the most connection when they are on their phone.” ZEROX incorporates that immaculately. They want to connect with people in a personal way.
Reece and his team portray the identity of the bar perfectly through everything from the heavily pink colour scheme, to the graphics design work and the collective of albums including Talk Talk and Sleaford Mods. Reece continues, “It is just about being honest and talking to people. If we are running a party we know can bring a lot of people down to ZEROX, we can use Instagram as a successful tool to really get it out there by using tags. You can connect with anybody. You couldn’t do that on MySpace or Facebook, it is totally human.” Their social media is simply about representing the brand and staying connected, “If we meet an artist and speak to them, we want to integrate their creativity into our creativity by using graphics, imagery and promoting the artist as well as ourselves as a business. If a new record comes out from a local band, we will post it.”
Not only is Reece helping to bring something unique to Newcastle, but he is also a graphic designer and in a nutshell, a man of many talents. Reece uses his skills to shape the identity of both his band, A Festival, A Parade and ZEROX bar. “A Festival, A Parade has a 10-12 month plan, therefore every time we know something is coming up, we make a board of graphics and physical content for people to see.” And it is similar with the bar too, “In terms of fonts and typography it is a ZEROX machine. It is messy. We want to always keep elements of the theme, such as the logo and pink theme so we can be identified by people. In terms of the graphics I have used, it is very much just what we think will suit the event or a new post on social media.” The team know exactly what they are doing and it is working as people are coming in and embracing the bar.
Post-punk is about going against the norm by saying and doing what you want, as long as it is honest to you. It is experimental, pushes boundaries and is exactly what ZEROX encompasses making it a highly anticipated, fresh and thriving bar for Newcastle.
For other new and aspiring musicians, Reece ends with some insightful advice about turning your passion for music or a genre into a living, “Make sure you’re enjoying it, be kind to yourself and don’t undersell yourself. As long as people are taking it lightly, you are making music as a form of art, so treat it as a form of art. If it means something to you, it will mean something to other people.”