Jason Pierce picks and chooses his moments very carefully: on Spiritualized songs, the introduction of an instrument is as deliberate as ever, appropriately designed to rush its way into your psyche all at once and a little at a time.
Take the lead single for Spiritualized’s new album, Everything Was Beautiful, “Always Together With You” — as the song builds to a cascading crescendo, it finds a natural ending point around four minutes in. But then, very quickly, the song bursts back open again, with his vocals, dramatic guitars, and harmonies colliding into each other repeatedly, creating a hypnotic energy that borders on maniacal.
It’s one thing to experience “Always Together With You” sonically, but pair it with its intense, environmental collapse-focused music video, and the steadfast love that Pierce sings about ends up seeming terrifying. This dichotomy is exactly what characterizes the best parts of Everything Was Beautiful (out April 22nd). For his ninth studio album, Pierce (aka J. Spaceman) mixes the enchanting with hidden notes of pain and anguish, love with a sense of fleeting vulnerability.
Pierce has always been a powerful agent of widescreen emotions channeled through incredibly specific musicianship; his perfectionist ideals have certainly shifted since the legendary Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, but there’s still a sense of melding the organic and natural with a truly maximalist atmosphere.
In our conversation, Pierce confesses to being “obsessive” about creating music, but when making Everything Was Beautiful during the pandemic, he felt relieved to have the space and time to be obsessive: “I didn’t have to worry about not being invited to the party. I didn’t have to worry about what else was going on because there was only this to do.”
Now in the 32nd year of Spiritualized, you’d think it’d start to get easier for Pierce to be vulnerable when making these massive songs, but according to Pierce, it’s as challenging as ever to stay open. “I find it really hard to do this,” says Pierce, “But I find that I have to keep raising the bar as I get older.” Having dabbled heavily in country, blues, and gospel sounds throughout his career with Spiritualized, it’s clear that Pierce is still fascinated with a free, uninhibited sound, a simple expression lifted and beautifully blown out of proportion.
Ahead of the release of Everything Was Beautiful, Consequence chatted with Pierce about the journey of the album, being vulnerable, and the art he gravitates towards. Check out the full Q&A below.