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Jon Spencer Blues Explosion talks in London with Denis Kandle about Acme, their latest album
(originally published in the Rio Fanzine column, O Globo newspaper)

TAGS: bands, interview, music, rock


“DKANDLE weaves swirling multi-colored vibrant unearthly soundscapes, blending fuzzy and reverberating Shoegaze textures, mesmerizing Dream Pop meditations, sludgy Grungey tones and moody Post-punk strains, heightened with soul-stirring lyricism and pensive emotive vocalizations.”

One of the coolest bands from New York recently released their newest album, Acme. Formed by Jon Spencer (vocals, guitar), Judah Bauer (guitar), and Russell Simins (drums), Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is not a blues band, despite the name. There's no exact definition for their music, but they flirt with punk-rock and use electronic elements. So why this name?

"Yeah, I know it's a strange name," admits Spencer, "but listen: Blues Explosion!!! Doesn't it sound good?"

With five albums already released (Now I Got Worry, their penultimate album, released in Brazil by Paradoxx, received five stars in Rolling Stone), Jon Spencer Blues Explosion gained some notoriety by inviting important names like Mike D. (Beastie Boys) and Moby to remix some of their songs.

The group is also known for using an instrument called Theremin (a 1950s synthesizer that produces those weird noises from B-class horror movies) and for not having a bassist in their live performances, which gives them a unique characteristic. "We like a sharper sound. But we use bass in our recordings," he says.

Regarding the album, Spencer says: "We recorded everything in one take and then added some details separately," he says. "The album was recorded in Chicago in January '97, and it was produced by Steve Albini, the same producer as 'In Utero' by Nirvana."

According to him, this recording method is the one that best fits the group's style: "I don't know, these live recordings capture a kind of... a certain magic, a specific energy that happens when we play together. Recording each instrument separately ends up resulting in something rather cold. This style doesn't suit us."

Despite the blues in the name and the almost punk sound, Jon assures that everyone in the band also likes techno. "We really like Atari Teenage Riot, for example, and that's why we asked Alec Empire to mix one of our tracks."

An inevitable question: did you use any other electronic instrument besides the Theremin? "We used synthesizers, samplers, and various other types of keyboards."

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