Spiritualized records have a history of being some of the most intricate, complex and laborious undertakings in modern rock music. Conceived from the mind of Jason Pierce and translated to tape, the stops on Spiritualized’s musical journey have included everything from psychedelic freakouts and overwhelming orchestral offerings to gospel soul and epic etherealism. Exploring the sonic peaks and valleys of drug use complete with religious allusions that seem to cry out for redemption, the band’s anxious buildups and triumphant crescendos are like symphonies for substance sympathizers.
Jason Pierce isn’t easy to track down, but at the last possible moment, Metro was able to talk to him about the recent release of his seventh album, “Sweet Heart Sweet Light.”
“I f—ing hate making records,” says Pierce, wryly. “I really do. And it just gets harder. Sometimes I think I just make a record to tour because I feel the need to get back on the road. There’s something exciting live when you’re pushing it and you’re within it, but you’re not trying to hold onto it.”
Pierce says when he started making “Sweet Heart,” he wanted it to sound like the Beatles.
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“Then halfway through I realized I didn’t really like the Beatles,” he says. “Not that I don’t like the Beatles’ music, but I decided I wouldn’t like to make a record like that.”
He says he was looking to produce sounds that defied genre classification.
“I wanted to make something where you didn’t have to be hip to a certain style or music, you could just sit and listen to it like a collection of songs that really worked,” he says. “When I tried to put that down, it became very hard to make. Anyone trying to make pop music has nowhere to hide. You can’t hide in an abstract idea. It doesn’t really come with a disclaimer.”
Pierce no longer ‘Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs To’
While his previous record followed his near-death experience with double pneumonia, “Sweet Heart Sweet Light” was written during another health scare, one he doesn’t like to talk about. This record doesn’t dwell on drugs like previous ones do. An EP by his former band, Spacemen 3, is legendarily titled, “Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs To.” But Pierce’s latest was recorded under the influence of different substances: Ones prescribed by a doctor.
“It got in the way,” says Pierce. “The treatment was worse than the thing I was suffering from. I had to do the treatment, otherwise I was going to get worse. Really it was made under a whole set of conditions and what being on these drugs can do. I can’t really even listen to the record now because it reminds me of that time. And I’ve never really made a record like that before. I usually make records that make sense to me after.”