An Interview with Spectrals

I had the pleasure of chatting with Yorkshire native Spectrals aka Louis Jones just a few days before he left the UK for America.  His music is described as a mixture of pop, soul, doo-wop, and garage rock. While it is very difficult at times to pin-point exactly what any music today should be categorized as (due to the polygamous nature that represents musical inspiration these days), our mini interview attempted to do just that.  Well…sort of.

Jones and I had a brief discussion about where music comes from and what that might mean for Spectrals and the songs that fill his debut album Bad Penny.

“Everything is a rip off of something else,” replied Jones as we chatted about how all art seems to come from something else – that nothing is truly original.

“You can dress it up however you want, you see.  Everybody’s got something in mind when they are writing their songs and…instead of it being a limitation – I think it’s an interesting thing – as long as you put a little bit of yourself into it. When you punch it off, that’s the interesting bit.”

And that is exactly what I found when I was listening to Jones’ music over the few weeks after our interview.  There were definitely breadcrumbs left behind, deep inside the heart of Jones’ eleven-track album.  There is a profound sense of musical history within the new and eclectic soul of Spectrals.

As we continued to deconstruct the songwriting process and what it means to create original music Jones shifted the conversation to address why certain aspects within music don’t seem authentic.

“It becomes stale and boring when people just photocopy it,” said Jones, “the musical equivalent of photocopying that is.  It loses life. [Just like when] you copy a picture and it loses a bit of quality.  If you draw over it or something like that you might get some of that back.”

While songs like ‘Get A Grip’ has a familiar sound that you can’t quite put your finger on, there is a raw and sharp attribute to the layered guitars, Jones’ calming voice, and the many verbs that cascade over the track.

When asked about what bands he was influenced by Jones noted, “It’s kind of a hard question really.  My mum she got me into the Rolling Stones.  I’m sure everybody says that [though].”

I then asked Jones whether the songs on the album were fiction or whether they were based on true stories.

“They’re all real. It’s all about love when I write.  What I come in contact with.

Everything in the songs is something that has happened – in some sense of it.”

And just like that, this 21-year-old Louis Jones is definitely on the up and up.  Not only did he just release his debut album in early 2011 but he also told me that he has been working diligently on songs for his next full-length release.

“I try and write as much I can cause I’m scared that I’ll forget how to do it and have to get a job or something.  You might as well try to do as much as you can while people are still bothered.”

With a thirty-three city tour spanning the US and Canada, people definitely do seem to be quite ‘bothered’ about young Spectrals.  This is a must see show if you are lucky enough to be in Vancouver on April 9th @ Venue.

If you haven’t already, you must check his latest album out:


Ricardo Khayatte

Ricardo Khayatte