Picture by Leigh Ann Cobb
By Ariana Hwang
Married couple Jane and Brian Spencer are drawn together by what they love to create: music. Jane plays keyboards, Brian plays guitar, and both of them sing. In fact, they’ve been playing gigs for years and releasing enchanting indie folk songs under the name Less Is More. But it was over the course of these last four years they had to take a hiatus to find themselves and hit restart as musicians. This year, the stars have aligned. Coming out stronger than ever, they have transformed their music into a spectacular constellation of sound and the pair have unearthed something new, an electronic/soul pop project they call FINKEL.
What is your musical background?
As a sports guy, Brian grew up listening to hip hop and jock jams, mixed with an Earth Wind and Fire influence from his mom. Music was beat driven and smooth. I grew up on an Island in Northern Michigan, called Mackinac Island. To say my youth was sheltered would be an understatement, and also completely inaccurate. I had a lot of free time, which consisted of writing ditties on the ukulele, taking part in bands, and running around in the woods. My parents have a pretty wacky and cool taste in music, for which I could not be more grateful. Thanks Gorillaz, reggae and Com Truise.
Do you have any other side hustles or day jobs besides music, and do they enhance or influence your music in any way?
When not working on music, we try to keep within the arts industry. Every experience compounds on the last, and we are finding ourselves with a pretty stacked list of skills. Our eventual goal is to open up an artist services company, record label, whatever they are calling it when that time arrives.
Brian has agency clients such as Blossom Records and Allive, and is independently contracted for bands Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, Mike Mains and the Branches, The Crane Wives, and a few more. Across the spectrum, his roles include tour marketing, publicity, talent buying, management, merch fulfillment, and graphic design.
I am a music industry based graphic designer, who has also fallen into the role of tattoo design… it’s incredibly fun! In addition to design, I teach art and music, I do a bit of tour marketing, assist Brian wherever help is needed, and a ton of FINKEL jobs that do not pay me… haha. Our work experiences enhance our music because we try to let everything in our lives influence the art we create. If we keep our eyes open, it all comes back that.
Favorite spots to hang out in LA?
We LOVE CRAWFORDS CHICKEN. The mood is chilled out, fun, relaxed, has the coldest and cheapest beer in town, and the spicy chicken is damn good.
How does living in LA affect you musically?
There is such a high level of talent here, and there is always something going on. We try to go to shows regularly, and EVERY show provides a new kind of inspiration. We started a writing workshop as soon as we got to LA, and all of our music is being heavily influenced by the colors of LA.
How did you arrive at the name FINKEL?
FINKEL is my (Jane’s) maiden name. When we married, we decided to share his last name on legal documents, and my maiden name as a band. Family is very important to us.
How did you and Brian form as a musical pair?
We met in an a cappella group, then started a college band for beer and pizza, and the projects just kept getting more involved and more “serious”. We started dating, and that also really sped things along.
There seems to be a strong influence of graphic design in your promotion and social media. Does that stem from anywhere?
Brian and I both love to create graphic designs, and wanted FINKEL to be the mega culmination of all of our interests. We create a lot of the art, as well as contract work from artists we admire, such as Maggie Chambers (creates our animations), Pam Finkel, Sanni Lahtinen, Robbie Shilstone, and Olly Frostie. Design has the power to affect a mood more and we love utilizing the affects of beauty, absurdity, and the unknown.
What inspired your new video “w/o”? Did you come up with the video concept and are the animated characters supposed to represent the two of you?
We are creating an alternate reality, and the world we are capturing is difficult to portray through real life videos. Throughout the year, we are releasing two more singles, accompanied by animated videos. When creating the first video, we had criteria, but hired Sanni because we trusted her work and mind. Putting complete trust in an artist creates a relationship of growth and freedom, and produces some crazy good work. One of the criteria we keep, is a representation of ourselves in the video.
Favorite book/song to dance to?
Favorite book is hard because each great book opens the door to more great literature! We both love The Alchemist, the Harry Potter series, Brian loves Cloud Atlas and All You Need To Know About The Music Business by Donald Passman. I’m currently reading The Power Of Now, which is damn good.
You have to sing karaoke, what song do you pick?
Jane (loves karaoke) – Toxic
Brian (hates karaoke more than most things in life ) – Kiss From a Rose, when forced on my birthday.
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