R13: Hey guys, how are you doing? Would you like to introduce yourselves, and tell us what your band is about?

SP: Hello, we are a band called Engineers and we are about making majestic, slow blossoming music that we love and you'll love too. Unedited and non-interpreted.

R13: Why should people listen to your band?

SP: Why should people listen to us? If I was a PR type of person I'm sure I would be doing something else for a crust, but if you insist... put us on your headphones and every now and then we'll slow your world down so you can have a proper look at it.

R13: Do you like playing in small venues where there is a more intimate feeling, or is the lure of headlining to a mammoth crowd more appealing?

SP: This is a trick question. I know it is! People hate 'stadium' pretensions don't them? Well I've been told after a gig that our sound is too big for smaller venues. And nothing beats a crowd cheering when you come on stage. I experienced that when supporting some well established bands but you don't really need that many people to make the sort of noise that gets me excited. Thing is though, I don't like being too far away from the rest of the band which can happen on large stages. It's harder to buzz off each other. When you watch Radiohead the bass player is always standing right next to the drummer watching him. So the best compromise would be big audiences with a small gig ethic.

R13: I hear you're going on a headlining tour soon - how does it feel to be to the stage where your own fans are out there singing along with you every night?

SP: Well if I saw someone singing the words to a song I'd be delighted. When you get caught up in all this you can sometimes forget that there are people out there listening to your stuff on the way back from work or making a pasta salad (or rice if you're gluten intolerant). That's when music got hold of me and that's why I wanted to do it myself so if someone sings along then that's a big box ticked.

R13: How have you gone about selecting the support bands that will be playing with you?

SP: We asked them all to submit a speed dating style video giving five reasons why they were 'right for us'. The bands that are playing with us (not supporting, it's not the nineties) are all earth sign bands - Virgo, Capricorn or Taurus. We're a water sign band so when you combine the two you get.... mud?

R13: Who has been your favourite band to play with - and who would you most like to play with?

SP: My favourite band to play with has probably been the Charlatans (A Man Needs to Be Told), The Music (Welcome to the North), Keane (Everybody's Changing), Embrace (Good People), Tom Vek (You Put the Fire in Me CC). Y'know the list goes on and I've had some brilliant times. Who would I most like to play with? Roxy Music. Or The Smiths. Or Fleetwood Mac. Most bands try to have some aim when they play live, be it "the best live show in the world" or "a night you'll never forget"- what do you try and do? I just don't want it to be "a night you'll never forget" because I fall off the stage. I have a recurring nightmare about falling off a very high stage. Will there be a sea of hands to catch me? That's my aim- to create a sea of hands.

R13: What are your favourite songs to play live?

SP: 'Said and Done'. I've made up a bit at the end where I sort of, y’know... let go. It's not band approved nor was it recorded. It's something I made up all on my own and that's why I think it's so great. 'A Given Right' is also a favourite. I've bought a little selection of MXR which are about the size of a fag packet and come in bright confectionery colours. It's like opening a box of sweets when I set my gear up. Anyway my new one is a distortion pedal... which I deploy on 'A Given Right' with what the US Army would describe as 'extreme prejudice'.

R13: If you could cover any song or collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?

SP: I'd like to collaborate with Lou Reed. We could do 'Satellite of Love'. And then we could drink some Sangria in Central Park. And Lou if you are reading this can I just ask you to re-consider your approval of the house remix of said Satellite of Love?

R13: You're on the label Echo, home to Feeder, The Stands and Moloko, what made you chose to sign with them rather than anyone else?

SP: They like our music. They are fans and they support us. We try not to over-analyse decisions as we've got our timetable filled up with over-analysing how much reverb we're going to put on our bass drum. Our A 'n' R man's aura was what really swung it.

R13: If you could form your dream band line up whom would you include, other than the members you already have?

SP: I'd bin those monkeys in a flash! On drums we'd have Phil Collins. Guitar would be Lindsey Buckingham. Rhythm guitar would be the lead guitarist that played on Let it Bleed. Andy Whatshisname. Y'know. Midnight Mile. Tumbling Dice. Challenge people within their roles, make them do the unexpected and look what you get! Bass would be Noel Reading just to wind him up that he was still playing bass. Keyboards would be the chap out of Pink Floyd. Vocals? It's tough. Don't forget they're harmonising with Lindsey. The others would want me to say Liz Fraser but she's had her defining moment with 'Teardrop'.... erm... the guy out of Supertramp.

R13: Indie rock and the NME "scene" is pretty big right now, what do you think is the next genre of music to sweep the nation?

SP: I'm not alone in thinking music is more exciting now than it has been in a long time. Let's hope it's not 'electroclash slight return' or anything too Londony. It's such an affluent, blinkered community. Satellite Towns of Love is what I'm after. Bring me your Leighton Buzzards and your West Leighs.

R13: What do you think of the direction British bands seem to be going in today?

SP: Well, I think they're drawing on a rich stream of creativity. People are obviously into that high energy, sense of urgency stuff. Joy Division, 17 Seconds (what about Head on the Door, you snobs). There are a few copies of Marquee Moon floating around. But it's a genuine phenomenon. These are some fast, danceable goodies to be gobbled up. You can be a guitar kid (do you call it that anymore?) and go out and have a proper dance. 'Take Me Out', all that. Punk was rebelling against a status quo. Cream and Ministry of Sound was the status quo and I'm glad guitar bands have swept those multi-nationals back under a rock.

R13: Are there any Engineers-approved bands you'd like to tell our readers to check out?

SP: Soundtrack of Our Lives. Talk Talk. Get Spirit of Eden. An album that pays no attention to the perceived way a song should work and sounds all the better for it. Get Selected Ambient Works 85-92 by the Aphex twin.

R13: What is your ultimate goal you'd like to achieve with The Engineers?

SP: Playing festivals in the sunshine for the rest of my life

R13: Everyone says you guys are on your way up, how do you feel about all these wonderful compliments flying your way?

SP: It has to be a lot of pressure pinned on you.. I seem to be playing the guitar whenever I sit down. I'm driving everyone nuts with my experiments in riffing. You have to have an outlet. Someone promised to take me motocrossing so maybe that'll ease the pressure a little.

R13: Any parting words of wisdom?

SP: If you're going to buy vitamin C get the ones with zinc included. Especially if you're a boy. And don't be afraid to take evening primrose oil.

R13: And finally... write a short-story about a girl called Rachel and her dog in 100 words or under.

SP: Rachel and Her Dog Rachel woke up. She didn't open her eyes but she acknowledged that she was awake. It was sudden. She sat up slowly and reached over to turn on the bedside lamp. It was still dark outside and the light under her door alerted the dog lying at the top of the stairs. It scratched at her door so she got up, let it in and got back into bed as quickly as she could. The heating wasn't due to come on for about half an hour. The dog jumped up and got comfortable at her feet and she had a sip of water.