Sweet Spirit fully encapsulate the vivacious, vibrant energy their name suggests. Starting out with the more country-rock leaning sound of their debut album Cokomoko back in 2015, their new material marks a new direction for the six-piece fully leaning into the infectious and exuberant dance party essence that’s always been a integral part of their music. With their third album Trinidad out later this month we caught up with frontperson Sabrina Ellis to talk Madonna, dancing and ratatouille.

Opening with a melodramatic piano refrain that channels Gloria Gaynor’s disco classic, their latest single ‘Llorando’ exudes a gritty, psychedelic glamour as Sweet Spirit sashay through a fusion of disco, funk and rock n’ roll with captivating dynamism. A track that sees the band incorporate Spanish lyrics for the first time, drawing on Sabrina Ellis’ Mexican-American heritage, ‘Llorando’ is a full cathartic, corporeal release in the form of an infectiously majestic dance groove. As Ellis expresses “‘Llorando’ is our way of transforming grief with a song, of honoring our losses with a dance.”

Ahead of releasing their third record Trinidad, get to know Sweet Spirit In Short…

Three words to describe our music…

Lustful, cynical, sassy.

Last photo on your phone…

A selfie from Andrew, to show me his beard. It’s his first time growing one.

Favourite instagram account…

Honestly… Madonna. She is beautiful, funny, and brilliant. It’s the instagram we all wish we could have. A mix between professional photographs, and at-home, candid, tipsy, family filmed footage. Bathtub moments. Parodies of her own songs, which means parodies of our pop-upbringing. She is just the best.

The best venue I’ve played…

We love The Empty Bottle in Chicago. It’s the perfect size, the sound is good, and they treat us real good. We named a song after it.

Earliest song you remember…

There’s a Jimmy Buffet song in the style of “tropical,” that goes, “I don’t know where I’m-a-gonna-go when the volcano blows…” I wanted to hear it all the time as a kid, to sing and dance to it. I related to the feeling of uncertainty. Haven’t listened to it as an adult, but I bet it holds up.

The worst job I’ve ever had…

A friend’s mother started a boutique for children, in the mall, when I was 16. Little Diva, it was called. I worked there, selling makeup and nail polish to little girls. They could rent the store for birthday parties. I would tease up their hair and dress them in sparkle pants and halter tops and choreograph routines to Spice Girls or Mandy Moore. Morally, the worst job I’ve ever had. Before that, I was Catherine Howard in the Texas Renaissance Festival, but I wasn’t asked about my BEST job ever…

The thing I most love to cook is

Lately, ratatouilles. Not because I’ve been visited by an inspiring rat. Ratatouilles is a good dish for clearing out the produce drawer in my fridge at the two-week mark.

My Favourite word…

Absolutely.

My favourite book…

I can’t choose a favorite! The most recent book I read was Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road. I enjoyed it and learned a lot about Steinem and the ERA movement. I was jarred to learn that the biggest holdup to constitutional equality for women in the US was a female, housewife-led opposition movement. It’s a great memoir, I highly recommend it. Hulu has made a miniseries heavily based on this book, and it’s awesome, too- Mrs. America.

Things that cheer me up

Full on physical exertion (dancing).

If I could play a gig anywhere it would be…

A small living room, to an audience of 20.

I think you should listen to… 

Ezra Furman.

If I could see anyone play live it would be…

Randy Newman.

‘Trinidad’ is out May 29th via Merge Records. Pre-order here.

Photo credit: Roger Ho