Founded in 2001, Spray is comprised of Ricardo Autobahn (synthesizers) and Jenny McLaren (vocals, guitars), both formerly of the Cuban Boys, who took their chaotic technopunk to number 1 on the Festive 50 (twice), recorded one of the best Peel Sessions ever and went head-to-head with Sir Cliff Richard in a Christmas Chart Battle. Their hit single ‘Cognoscenti Vs Intelligentsia’ (a.k.a. ‘The Hamster Dance Song’) sold a million copies, reached number 4 in the UK single charts, landed them on Top of the Pops and, in the words of John Peel, was “the most requested song I’ve had since ‘God Save The Queen’.
In a mathematically constructed list presented by RockListMusic.co.uk, the Cuban Boys registered as the 30th most popular band in the history of the John Peel Show, ranking ahead of the Inspiral Carpets, The Cure, Nirvana and The Stone Roses. BBC producer Mike Engles selected the Cuban Boys’ first Peel Session as one of his top 10 all-time favourites, alongside Nirvana, The Damned and Ivor Cutler.
Following their transition to a more electro sound as Spray, the duo released their debut album ‘Living In Neon’ in 2002 on U.S. indie label Ninthwave Media. This was followed by ‘Children Of A Laser God’ in 2006, which included their smash cover of Lisa Lougheed’s ‘Run With Us’ (also ‘The Raccoons’ theme song). After a hiatus Spray’s fourth album ‘Enforced Fun’ was released in 2016 on cult dance label Banoffeesound.
Behind the scenes Spray were the secret weapon behind the UK’s 2006 Eurovision hit ‘Teenage Life’, having written and produced it with their friend Daz Sampson, as well as singing the treated vocals for the track. Ricardo Autobahn and Sampson would also collaborate on a dance version of ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ under the name Rikki and Daz, recording it with the legendary Glen Campbell himself and filming its expensive video in the Arizona desert. This track also went top 10. More recently Spray recorded music with anarchic BBC star Hacker T. Dog, and Ricardo also plays keyboards with Welsh punk pop legends Helen Love.
Photo by Phil Fletcher