Spiritualized’s Jason Pierce Is Done Throwing Stones
Psych-rock icon learns how to handle the devil in the details
“I’ve realized I can do interviews from the comfort of my bed,” says Jason Pierce, Spiritualized’s very relaxed-sounding mastermind, speaking on the phone from his Manhattan hotel room. “It all gets easier as I get older.”
Hardly. The stalwart English psych-rock band’s Sweet Heart, Sweet Light, due April 17 on Fat Possum, was originally scheduled for release a month prior, but the album got pushed when Pierce, 46, had to do some last-minute mixing. With the lushly detailed, uncharacteristically (and wonderfully) relaxed-sounding album ready to go — and sounding exactly as he intended — Pierce, who will be touring behind the album in May, spoke with SPIN about where this album fits in the Spiritualized spectrum, the problem of mixing, and fake rock’n’roll.
For the casual music fan who doesn’t understand why something would need to be remixed at a late stage in the process, can you explain why it’s such a painstaking undertaking?
Mixing is making all the little sonic moves, you know? It’s balancing. Is the bass or treble too loud or too quiet? It doesn’t take much adjustment to change things radically. I think you know a mix is complete when it feels like the song resists any further change — when it feels like you can throw the different parts of the song up in the air and they keep landing in the same space. That’s how you know a song has found its proper shape. Also, I wasn’t mixing the album as individual tracks. I was trying to make my decisions on how the tracks would fit across the whole album. So where the choir comes in on a song — my mixing isn’t not necessarily just to do with where it enters in that song as a singularity, it’s to do with where it enters in relation to the rest of the album. It’s not easy.