Monday, May 04, 2009

Get Spiritualized: an Introduction to Jason Pierce
Interview by Rex Ritter, story by Kathleen C. Fennessy

Click here for part one

"Feel So Sad" is another Spiritualized single, an original this time, that doesn't show up on Lazer Guided Melodies. The first
version debuted on Recurring, the final Spacemen platter. Their extension of that Simon and Garfunkel-on-downers-as-recorded-in-a-gothic-cathedral epic clocks in at over 13 minutes. I can un-
derstand why he didn't include it, however, as Pierce has opted
to emphasize fairly concise pop structures over the free-floating,
sometimes-drummerless jams for which the 3 were best known.

From 1990-91, Spiritualized released several other seven-in-
ches in the UK: "I Want You," "Smiles," and "Sway," all of which
found a place on the new disc. Not exactly drone-fests, they're
still more abstract and less instantly accessible than the rest.

According to Pierce, it was

"more constructed" than the
other tracks. "It was made out
of five or six different riffs and
very minimal stuff that creat-
es something that sounds
more complicated than it
actually is. That was one on
the album that was very de-
finitely orchestrated in the
same way as "Feel So Sad."

[I'm assuming the "it" refers to "Sway," but a few words appear to
have disappeared from the original text, so it's hard to say for sure.]

Pierce notes that many songs date back to his Spacemen days,
but that he approached them differently from the ones he wrote
for that band. "I didn't try to chase a finished sound; I didn't ev-
en want to know how they were going to turn out. In the Space-
men, it was more like I knew what it should sound like, and tried
to get that down onto tape, which ended—not disappointingly—
but they never matched the sound in my head. With the stuff now,
I didn't want to chase any finished thing, so everybody basically
had free reign to do whatever they wanted. Now, we're not even
starting with a song basis. We're just doing what we want, and
everybody's in tune with what sounds cool anyway. The new
stuff usually starts as a more freeform thing, like the live
set. We're continuing to write that way at the moment."

Regarding the live show, he explains that, "The album is more
like the spine of what we're doing. I don't think we'll reach a stage
where the album will become old material or we're gonna prog-
ress on from that, because it's been made to be the backbone of
what we work on now. So when we play live we don't try to rep-
licate the album, we use it as a springboard to work on other
stuff. We plan to start touring around September, and we'll
probably come to the States around that time. Five members
[will come], and I think we'll be able to bring a horn section."

Spiritualized - "Sway"

Another important distinction between Spiritualized and

Spacemen 3: horns (trumpets and saxophone), woodwinds
(flute), and strings (cello and violin) all play a bigger part in
the new project than they did in the parent band, which is
to say: hardly at all. Incidentally, Spiritualized's tour is-
n't likely to include Seattle, according to the folks at RCA.

As far as additional future plans, Jason says, "We've recorded

another single called 'Medication,' which will be released in En-
gland in about a month's time with a Peel Session we did." Also,
"Dean's band, Luna*, are going to do some stuff with Spiritua-
lized, and rather than me just guesting on his album, we're
gonna get the two bands to play on one song. We may do it like
we'd do one and send it to [them to] complete and vice versa."

* Dean Wareham, ex-Galaxie 500, current Dean & Britta

Aside from the Troggs, VU, J.J. Cale, the Beach Boys, and Sui-
cide, Pierce likes to relax in Rugby to the sounds of the Remains
and the Silver Apples, "a pretty cool band who pre-date Suicide.
They were doing the same kind of stuff as a lot of the experimen-
tal electronic bands, but they were doing it in the '60s. One guy
playing keyboards and one guy who drums and sings." And aside
from MBV and Galaxie 500/Luna, more contemporary favorit-
es include Yo La Tengo, whom he describes as "something else,"
adding, "their last record is great," and Mercury Rev, who've
"just done some shows in England that are probably the best
shows I've seen for years. Really, really something else."

Ritter interviewed Pierce by phone while he was in New York
doing press and publicity for Lazer Guided Melodies in ear-
ly June. Pierce and Sonic Boom recently joined Luna on stage
during a jaunt to the UK, so maybe those two are at least on
speaking terms again. For Spacemen 3 completists, Sonic's new
Spectrum release, Soul Kiss, has just been released by Britain's
Silvertone in a limited edition translucent "jelly pack," much like
the infamous Slayer "blood pack." RCA will be issuing it Stateside
in September without the special packaging. Having already heard
the import, I can safely that it's not too hard to figure out who was
the spaciest of the Spacemen 3. Hint: It wasn't Jason Pierce.

Endnote: Images from Pitchfork and TheTones360.

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