When Spectrals which for all intents and purposes is one Louis Jones first appeared on the scene with his debut single Leave Me Be on Captured Tracks last year I took him for subscribing to the darker realms of pop à la Crystal Stilts. Subsequent releases have shown that was never the intent. There is still a darkness to the songs, but their bright slick pop hooks play tug of war with the dark side to create a contemporary 50’s feel. The latest Spectrals record is a six song EP that goes one step further in shedding any hint of lo-fi and fully embraces a smooth, slightly rockabilly sound and shows Mr. Jones to be quite the crooner. It reminds me of Richard Hawley‘s Late Night Final in the way with it’s chiming watery guitars and swoonfull singing.
How did this young dude get bit by his love of singers from the old days? What’s behind his label hopping for each release? What does he do on a sunny in Heckmondwike? What’s it like to work with a former spaceman? And, why does he choose to be a one man band? All these questions are answered in excruciating detail below in this exhaustive interview. Besides the interview we’ve got a copy of the latest Spectrals CD to give away. Extended Play is six songs and one bonus jam. If you want to win it send an email to finestkiss [at] gmail.com with “Spectrals Giveaway” in the subject line. I’ll pick a winner at random using a highly complex algorithm on Monday.
mp3: Spectrals – Peppermint (from the Extended Play EP, CD on Moshi Moshi, vinyl on Underwater Peoples)
I live in Seattle, Leeds is (to paraphrase the Wedding Present) technically further north than Seattle. What kind of summer did you guys have? Ours sucked, we had about 20 really nice days and the rest gray and rainy. What do you do in Leeds on a perfect sunny day?
Hello Toby, Summer wasn’t stunning here either, I’m not into hot weather though, so I was alright for me. If it’s nice where I live (Heckmondwike) I might go for a wander with my dogs, or sit and have a drink in this thing pubs have here called a “beer garden”
Captured Tracks, Slumberland, Tough Love, Moshi Moshi, Underwater Peoples. What label is the next record due to land on and is it an album?
I’m not sure. It’s an album and it’s called “Bad Penny”.
Has that been by design, kind of sprinkling your records across a bunch of labels?
It’s just turned out that way, I’ve been dead lucky in that respect.
Spectrals is you doing everything except drums. Is this by choice, or is it hard to find trustworthy collaborators?
They’re my songs and I like to think I know what’s best for them. My little brother does the drums because he’s better at playing them than I am and he’s not really into the same music as i am so he never tries to force an opinion on them which I’m really grateful for.
I didn’t notice this until the extended play ep, but you’re a crooner. Who did you grow up listening to? Walker, Hawley, Martin?
That’s what I’m going for, I’m dead into Scott Walker, Jerry Vale is my favourite singer, and I heard a lot of Sinatra when I was growing up, like I think a lot of people did.
How did you hook up with Richard Formby to record Extended Play. Did he have any crazy Sonic Boom stories?
He isn’t the sort of guy that is prone to talking about himself or bragging or anything but Richard’s definitely got some ace stories, guy is the real deal.
Each of your records seems to be more hi-fi than the last. Is lo-fi no longer cool?
Every kind of “fi” is cool with me, apart from “wi-fi” which is a nuisance.
What are the best and worst things about Leeds?
I’ve only been to Leeds to play concerts, and I usally get straight out of the limousine and onto the stage so I don’t know!
Besides yourself, what is the best band in Leeds right now and why
Ray Bean & His Scalextrics
Any plans for coming to the US for some shows?
Yeah, hopefully soon!