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One man can make a difference
by Natalie Kaye

Spectrals aka Louis Jones
Louis Jones realises it's difficult to get into an argument in a one-man band

Louis Jones had a pretty remarkable 2009. Springing up from nowhere, his bittersweet, noise-tinged pop has generated a lot of interest.

His one-man outfit, Spectrals, has brought praise from websites like Drowned In Sound and Pitchfork.

February 2010 sees Spectrals filling the support slot on San Francisco pop outfit Girls' UK tour.

A debut album is on the way following split singles and limited edition cassette releases.

Despite playing everything on his recordings, the live Spectrals are actually a full band featuring Jones' brother Will on drums, second guitarist James Levitt and bass player Matt Benn.

You would think that all this at the age of 20 would have meant that Louis' head would get stuck in door frames but, refreshingly, it is a regular size and firmly screwed on. Here, he sheds light on his experiences so far and shares his decisive thoughts on why he won't be pigeon-holed.

How did you feel about 2009? You've made quite a lot of progress in such a short time.

"My 2009 turned out real well I think. I went from doing very little with my time, to writing songs that people seem to want to listen to. I also got to play in places I've not been before with some of my favourite groups.

"In terms of my progress, I haven't ended up with any of those 'job prospects' that people are always on about, and I've wasted lots of money. So that's nice."

So you parted ways off from Old Gold to go solo. Was it about creative control, and would you ever consider being in a band again?

"Old Gold was pretty much just a little gang. We started playing hardcore punk songs together when we were really young so that we could ruin Battle of the Bands at school and cause trouble.

"A little later, we tried to take it a bit more seriously and make some pop stuff so we would be allowed to do shows and parties in the summer.

"When everyone went away to grow up and do university, we were done. I wrote 90% of the parts for songs, so creative control (an awful way to think of it) was never really a problem. It was just that I wanted to execute my own ideas properly.

"The ones that were significant for me, in terms of the music I'm into, the ones that got usually got warped in the band, watered down somewhat."

Spectrals aka Louis Jones
Louis Jones - Heckmondwike's biggest musical export since..?

It seems you've crammed in quite a lot in, musically speaking. With that in mind, do you ever get frustrated with the press coverage of your age?

"I can't get my head around why people want to write about my songs in the context of how many years I've been on the planet or how many times other people have written about them.

"Ideally, people would just say that they are **** or that they aren't feeling them. But it is what it is, definitely not something I spend a lot of time thinking about."

I know you've got a lot of good press from some national and international sources but how do you feel about your reception closer to home?

"Here's the thing, I live in Heckmondwike - I always have. Before I go on, let me just clarify and I say this without malice or any hidden agenda because it seems to have been misinterpreted somewhat in Leeds, but, I don't consider myself a 'Leeds boy'.

"I've no desire to be regarded as part of Leeds' music scene. This is not some kind of slur on the music I've made or because I don't think it's cool, but music should never be a geographical concept.

"For example, some of my press has picked up on a California/West Coast sound - that is just hindsight and journalistic shorthand. It's basically an easy way of communicating that they've picked up on a Beach Boys vibe.

"I do not wish I was from California (or America, or London, for that matter) and not every band that came out of California in the '60s sounded like that. I'm more than aware that popular culture necessitates that people categorise, understand, and write things like that.

"I do like some bands that are from Leeds. I also can't stand a lot of bands from Leeds. I like some of the promoters and venues in Leeds and not others.

"In terms of playing gigs, the ones I've done in Leeds have never been anything but a lot of fun so, I guess this counts as a good reception, but I've had similar good ones elsewhere."

Finally, how would you like to see this play out? Is there 'a master plan' in there somewhere?

No master plan. I'm going to release a full length record in the first half of 2010 called "Bad Penny" and then see what happens from there on in.



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