Presenting to you today an interview with Brian Spencer and Jane Finkel, who both comprise the Michigan folk duo known as Less Is More. I mentioned them here on the site a couple of weeks ago, and they have really proven their talent with exquisite folk based rhythms and harmonic instrumentation that has shown the deep musical bond they have forged together over the time that they've been together. Brian and Jane were nice enough to carve some time out of their schedules to sit down and do an interview as we talk about the early beginnings of the duo and how their romantic relationship has influenced the sound within the duo. Here is the transcript from our chat:
Give us your names and what instruments you regularly play?
Our names are Jane Finkel and Brian Spencer. Jane is a vocalist and plays the ukulele, piano, and percussion. Brian is a vocalist and plays the guitar, harmonica, ukulele, and percussion.
How did you both come together to form Less Is More?
We went to Albion College together and met in an a cappella group early in both of our college careers. We quickly found that we loved the way our voices melded together. When we started writing music together it easily flowed out, and eventually we had enough music to start a band!
What styles of music and/or artists make up your sound and is it based upon your individual influences?
We collectively love many different music styles, and try to add as many musical influences to our songs as possible. Bands like Lord Huron, Lowland Hum, Civil Wars, and the Staves are just a few groups we look up to, but we really try to create our own sound.
How has your romantic relationship grown since you first started and how has it manifested itself within your music?
Well, this is a question. It started as a friendship, and we didn't date until two years after we met. I think our sound changed because we were able to more vulnerable. Writing music with someone else can be a scary endeavor! We hope to have a very free and intimate feel in our music, because that is how we feel with one another.
Describe the music scene in michigan where you both originated, what styles and/or genres are most popular?
Brian: Growing up in East Lansing, the music scene was very diverse. From a young age I was taking from pop, hip hop, country, and indie music. However, many more genres were very present in my day to day as well. Also, my mother listened to groups like Doobie Brothers, The Mamas and the Papas, and Earth Wind and Fire. So it's tough to be able to pin point one specific genre. I guess I'm a music mutt.
Jane: I grew up on Mackinac Island in Michigan, where the country music and classical rock runs on an endless loop. My parents have a pretty funky taste in music, and I think that rubbed off on me as well. It has also been fun to watch the Michigan music scene grow and evolve. Michigan is really producing some cool new music, and its fun to try and be a part of that.
What are some of your favorite songs that you've recorded that best encapsulate your sound?
That's a really tough question, because all of them are important to us in different ways. Each song was written for a specific reason, and our hope is that they all work together as one piece, as well as individually. Not to cop out on the answer, because we already did that part, but all of them. We really try not to be one specific sound, and we hope others will think so as well!
If you could trade places with any musician, who would it be?
Probably Hillary Duff.
What sorts of things do you like to do in your spare time for leisure when not making music?
We love hanging out outside, and eating. Lots of eating and cooking. We are also athletic types, so anything active.
What can we look forward to from you two musically this year, any upcoming shows or material you'd like to promote?
Less is More will be releasing our first album, Amid the Flowers, our Kickstarter account will be up and running soon, and we will be going on tour with two of our best friends! Our website, beautifully and graciously created by Alex Essex, has all of our updates, both musical and other. You can find that, and sign up for the newsletter with updates at Lessismoreband.com.
Lastly, how has music changed each of you individually to this point?
Brian: Incredibly. I grew up playing sports and in fact was going to choose a career where I would be on track to be an athletic director. After I finished my fourth year of football at Albion College my focus completely changed. Due to the fact that music is so physically and emotionally powerful, I couldn't stay out of it. That's when I decided to pursue it full throttle and haven't stopped since.
Jane: I have been playing music for my entire life, but I have only been doing it publicly for the last four years. Ever since I first took the performances from my room to an audience, I haven't wanted to do anything else. I think we all have ways in which we best express and understand ourselves, and I feel incredibly lucky to have found mine. Music changes me in a different way after each experience, and I just find more ways to love the adventure.
Thanks once again to Brian and Jane of Less Is More for being so awesome in doing this interview. It's a beautiful thing to see two people who are deeply in love create such honest and thought provoking music together that really signifies the emotional bond that develops from either playing or listening to music with someone else. For more info on Less Is More, 'Like' them on Facebook here and give them a follow on Twitter over here.