- Posted on Mar 16th 2012 1:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
Tell All Your Friends
"It seems to me that people are interested now, but who knows how long they're going to be interested?" Jones tells Spinner, explaining his desire to hit the studio once he gets to Los Angeles. "I'd rather get it out by the end of the summer and see what goes on there."
Such honesty and lack of bravado are hallmarks of Jones' songwriting. With last year's 'Bad Penny,' his debut album under the Spectrals banner, Jones professed his love for classic pop and the notion of love itself. Every song is about the same person -- a girl he's ended up with after years of teenage drama -- and it's for that reason, he says, that he had to write all the music and play everything but the drums.
"It's worrying, sometimes, because [I think], "Will my music get written off because there's so much of that around?" Jones says, well aware that he's not the only bedroom-pop auteur hawking his wares. "But on the flip-side, the songs are quite personal to me. Obviously, any song you write is personal, but some of the phrases and things I use -- it's reenacting a moment that no one else would really know about."
"You crashed into me when I was 17/Nobody told me girls could be so mean," he sings on the angsty, surfy standout 'Big Baby,' one of many songs probably best sung by one dude.
"Doing this is really only interesting if the songs are 100 percent about me," Jones says. "I don't feel like I know enough about anything else to be able to write about it. I like love songs. That's the only thing I care enough about to write."
And the lady? Is she cool with indie kids across the pond singing along to songs about her love life?
"Although she's glad that I'm doing OK with the music, she's not too fixated on it, really," Jones says. "She's really chilled out when it comes to stuff like that. She doesn't let it affect her."
Jones won't name the producer he's looking to work with, lest he jinx things, but he's happy to reveal his game plan. While album No. 2 will once again be a lone-wolf affair, save for his brother on drums, he'd like to move away from the Phil Spector-style production techniques he used the first time out.
"I'm feeling like I need to leave the wall of sound behind a little bit," he says. "The reverb -- I really like that sound, but I need to have a go doing something a little bit different ... I don't want to be a one-trick pony."
That would be a disservice to his record collection. Jones digs '50s crooners and '60s girl groups, but as a teenager, he did his requisite time in local hardcore bands. He still likes punk, but at this point in his career, he's taking his cues from Elvis Costello. With his upcoming sophomore effort, Jones would like to pull off something akin to what Costello did in 1978, when he followed 'My Aim is True' with the bigger and brasher 'This Year's Model.'
"Instead of confusing people, it reinforced his character, because even though he did something totally different with the production and the people that played on it ... it didn't dilute what he was about," Jones says.
Asked whether his Spectrals persona, like Costello's '70s-era "angry young man," in some way constitutes a character, Jones insists it doesn't, even if 'Bad Penny' has its contrived moments.
"On certain songs, I'm trying to do a Motown song and different types of songs," he says. "What I'd really like the next one to be like is Spectrals songs. People listen and think, 'Oh yeah, that sounds like him' more than me doing a certain type of song."