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Casey Spooner talks Fischerspooner reunion and Michael Stipe’s influence on new album

For most artists, the creation of a good song is, y’know, a positive thing. So what was Casey Spooner’s reaction when “Have Fun Tonight,” the first song recorded after he and Fischerspooner bandmate Warren Fischer reunited, seemed to work?

“I was pissed,” he says. “I was like, ‘God dammit.’ No matter how bad the business is, there is still some kind of chemistry there.”

Spooner had moved on to other media — a book, a film, working with performance arts company the Wooster Group. But there was still something in the almost-20-year partnership with Fischer that was responsible for electro-pop classics like “Never Win” and “Emerge,” along with bringing theatricality to electronic music long before Lady Gaga was Mother Monster.

Here, Spooner talks about the duo’s reunion and what happens when avant-garde becomes mainstream.

So much of the art-pop fusion of Fischerspooner is now the way of the top 40.

That is a challenge and it’s really been interesting . . . I kinda laid out the pieces to make pop music more complex, and more theatrical, and graphing it onto our backgrounds in experimental theater and fine arts, and now that has basically become status quo. So, I really had to focus on like, “OK, what can I do different from that?”

Where did that lead you?

I ended up doing this photo shoot with a friend of mine, Yuki James, in my apartment, and he asked me to pose naked, which isn’t something I had done very often. And I usually wouldn’t allow anyone to shoot in my personal space. Something about this Yuki picture was like a clue . . . I was like, “This is the direction of no hair, no makeup, no costume.” This [was] sort of stripped-down, still has a formal quality to it . . . in kind of a more personal realm and basically stripped bare.

Something about that opened up a new character, and a new direction, and it’s also kind of connected ultimately to Michael Stipe who produced the record [“SIR,” due out in 2018] . . . It’s a record about contemporary homosexuality and I wanted to be very honest about my experience, about my sexuality and about gay culture at large. But to talk about sexuality in a song, it can go cliché and superficial really quickly. So, to try to make something that was erotically charged that had complexity to it, it didn’t really click in until Michael started coaching me vocally and moving toward something that was less plastic, and more stripped bare, more emotional.

Could you have imagined, 19 years on, you’d still be finding ideas in this setup?

No, absolutely not. I was supposed to be a painter, so I don’t know what the hell is going on. It’s almost like an idea that has nothing to do with me at a certain point. I keep trying to quit, I keep trying to walk away, and this whole thing is like this weird beast . . . It’s an idea that I can’t kill, and you can ask Warren, we have repeatedly pulled the plug on this thing because it can be so all-consuming . . . I think it’s a very important time politically. I’m very upset. I can’t believe that Donald Trump, this idiotic reality star, ended up being our president. So, I have to do everything I can in my power to be equal and opposite to this [man].

Fischerspooner performs at 9 p.m. on Friday at Brooklyn Steel, 319 Frost St., Williamsburg, bowerypresents.com, $30.

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