July 8, 2010

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Aaron Matthews was last seen in Latvia, selling black market bootlegs of Phil Spector B-Sides and scheming to become mayor of Riga. 

If you know the roots of alternative rock, it’s easy to see that the current revival of 50s/60s rock n roll and girl group sounds is nothing new. Beat Happening were warping leather jacket machismo with songs about black candy and picnicking in graveyards when Nathan Williams was shitting in Pampers (no disrespect). So Wavves, Best Coast, and Dum Dum Girls are modernizing the voice of the eternal teenager for a generation weaned on videogames and irony. Spectrals, Louis Jones is a rust haired young man from Leeds who plays ramshackle, hazy rock n’ roll that keeps a Spector backbeat going even when the lyrics are indecipherable. They’re mostly about his exes anyway.

You played in hardcore bands before recording as Spectrals. Why set out on your own, and what took you from, say, Minor Threat, to the Everly Brothers?

It wasn’t a linear progression in the slightest. I’ve always had an ear for the sort of songs I’m trying to make now, I was just a lot less studied in them and I think I probably just remembered them from when I was little. I never exclusively listened to “hardcore”. I’m still dead into it, but aspects of it bore the shit out of me, just like everything else.

Describe your writing process.

Magic.

You record your material by yourself but when I last saw you play, you had a backing band. What’s the difference for you between playing alone and playing as part of a band?

I wish I didn’t have to have a band, it’s not ideal having to rely on them, not because they are morons or anything (for the most part) they’re ace, but because I understand that it’s hard for them to give up their time and completely care about my songs and it’s also hard for me to convey exactly what I want them to play them like sometimes. I’m terrified of them thinking I’m a “diva” and secretly hating my guts but sometimes they wig me out (when they don’t their amps to concerts, or dance too much) That said, when we do a concert and it passes without disaster, it resembles that thing everyone goes on about called “fun” and I think we manage to present the songs in an interesting way, which is sort of the point.

There’s a lot of bands mining roughly a similar musical style with many of the same influences – Blank Dogs, Dum Dum Girls, Wavves, etc. Why do you think pop and rock n roll from the 50s and 60s suddenly has so much cultural currency?

I think anyone dead into music, will, at some point, encounter some songs from the 50s and 60s that they really like and this will work its way out when they come to do some songs of their own. I think this has always been the case. Also, some bands try and feign interest in or appropriate the influences of their current favourite musical acts and this is probably why you’ve identified a palette of sound that roughly approximates to the 50s and 60s, but for me, whilst I get what your saying, I hear stuff all the time that bears no resemblance to the Pop music of the 50s and 60, so what does that tell you? It’s all songs, and it’s all music.

What can we expect from the album, in contrast to the EPs and singles?

Better songs, more songs, better Reverb, more Reverb.

Download:
MP3: Spectrals-“Don’t Mind”
MP3: Spectrals-“Keep Your Magic Out of My House”