The Derry Journal interviewed Jason by phone before the gig....which was amazing!!!!
Amazing Space (Man) Jan 13 2004
We may be living in an era when MTV offer all the visuals you could want from bizarre computer generated animation to flying rock stars but there's still no substitute for the startlingly overwhelming experience that is a Spiritualized live show.
And that's just what Jason Pierce and his stripped back psychedelic six piece will be bringing the Derry fans this Thursday, January 15, at the Nerve Centre.
In essence a one-man show led by the softly spoken, uncompromising perfectionist Jason Pierce, Spiritualised launched their aural assault with Lazer Guided Melodies but it wasn't until they released Ladies and Gentlemen with its unique packaging and big production that the band gained the public recognition they thoroughly deserve.
Their latest offering, Amazing Grace, has been described as swampy garage rock par excellence, with its welljudged symphonics and Pierce's enduring way with a melody. We woke up the enigmatic frontman to talk demons, music and more from under the depths of the duvet.
Many critics have accused Pierce of using his songs, which deal with death, addiction and heartbreak, as means to exercise his personal demons but that's a charge he's keen to deny. "How do I answer that? I don't know - I don't think I write like that" he whispers.
"I just put stuff down. I'm very accepting as a person and I take the highs with the lows, the good with the bad. I'm not as selective as people want to make out.
"When I write I put down things that sound beautiful but you have to loose specifics to make it sound more poetic and give energy to what you're writing - it's all about impact."
As for the production angle of the music Jason adds that he has no plans to explore what he sees as the "catering industry" side of the music world.
"Producers tend to do the same thing and that's why they're in that business. What we want to do is hit on ground that's never been covered before so we're not making the same record over and over again.
"Being a producer is like being in the catering industry and that's not for me.
"Moving on to discuss the new stripped back six piece that Jason will be taking on tour this time round, the frontman says that despite the cut in numbers the fans can still expect the big sound that Spiritualized are famous for.
"Yeah, for sure," he enthuses. " hen you take people out of the equation the sound doesn't get smaller - it just gives you more space to fill. We've got three guitars so the sound's very electric and quite overwhelming.
"It's phenomenal really and it's got a real energy to it." "It's always been rooted in rock 'n' roll" he adds.
"That's the music I fell in love with - The Stooges, early blues and gospel. The language has always been there in our music and we've done everything from free jazz to classic.
Our music goes everywhere, we're into all the stuff that pushes the envelope. A lot of people sit comfortably in the bubble but I kinda like to force new boundaries --Spiritualized produce music that challenges people, we just don't do complacent."
Because the Spiritualized sound is so infamous, Pierce's songwriting talent is sometimes overlooked. However, he's been awarded the accolade of being one of the most important songwriters to come out of the UK in the past 20 years, a title that he's quite surprised, but secretly pleased, with.
I didn't think anyone noticed that I wrote songs" he replies modestly.
"It's really subjective - so often people bag stuff up but there are songs and words in there, an expression of what I feel --but I don't know about being one of the most important songwriters!"
Despite his modesty it has to be remembered that Spiritualized have had amazing success both at home, in Europe and in the USA - a notoriously difficult market to break. However Jason insists that he's "turned on" more by audience reaction to the music rather than commercial success.
"We kinda do ok as far as sales go" he says. " We do just as well in America as we do here. For us it's not about breaking the US market - that's to do with business and I'm not really into that aspect.
"What I'm interested in is people being turned on by what we do at the live shows. They're extraordinary and unlike anything else any other performers do.
"We always try to take it one step further and bring people a psychological and overwhelming experience rather than focusing on how much we make financially."
As Jason goes on to explain Thursday's gig in Derry, which marks the start of the band's Irish tour, promises to be something of an experience.
"The show will be amazing - simple as that" he says. "Playing live isn't about perfection and simply just recreating the record on stage - it's an ecstasy experience.
"You're in a room where you can experience the same feelings as the people around you and people really go for that. We've played Derry before and it's a real falling forward place.
"The audience just move towards you and I really enjoy that. That's what drives us and it works in Derry. We don't rehearse it, we just get on stage and send it out and that's the exciting bit for us and the audience."
"We'll be playing a lot of stuff from the new album" he adds. "And people will get to hear the songs like it's for the first time.
"It'll be an overwhelming experience that'll attack every sense - people can play the record at home as loud as they like anytime but the live show will just multiply that a hundred times! See you there!"
For setlists, memories and bootlegs etc...
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