Death of An Art Monster
Hello. We are The Spruce Campbells from Columbus, Ohio. We are unlike anything else you will find in our fair state, or maybe even the midwest. We play lush psychedelic pop filled with hooks that will get stuck in your head and beats you can tap your feet to. Here's what someone said about us. ************ Some artists become nerve-wracked in the recording studio, frozen by the red lights. Yet Spruce Campbells' frontman and mastermind Jason Kusowski feels right at home. "I love it," he said enthusiastically. "I'd be there every day if I could." A cursory listen to any of the band's space-pop nuggets - on any one of their three self-released EPs from the past year - and it's easy to see that the studio atmosphere favors Kusowski, as well. The Campbells specialize in lush, layered guitar anthems sprinkled with psychedelic pixie dust: the sparkly rock popularized by The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre a decade and a half ago. As a style, it's never really gone out of vogue, and Kusowski is devoted to the art of making his own music both ethereal and catchy. "I am a huge 'wall of sound' fan," he admits, citing such studio-obsessed visionaries as Phil Spector and Brian Wilson as inspiration. "I listen to most of my music through headphones, because I think it gives you a real intimate experience. Your whole mind's enveloped." Listening to Spruce Campbells tracks, both new and old, through noise-cancelling headphones, one gets the impression that Kusowski has not built a wall of sound so much as a skyscraper to the stratosphere. He seems to have gone for broke on every song, piling reverb-heavy guitars on top of dreamy synthesizers to create a listening experience as far-out as the science fiction imagery he tends toward. The Spruce Campbells came to fruition in early 2010 after Kusowski dissolved his former garage-rock outfit The Nuclear Children. The new project was to follow in a similar vein, only with a fuller, more polished sound and the added bonus of a female counterpart to his vocals. "Spruce Campbells was kind of stuff I was always working on my own, on my 8-track," Kusowski said, adding that when a friend set up a new recording studio, the two would tinker with equipment by working on those demos. "A lot of the songs were formed on the spot." Kusowski soon fleshed the band out to a six-piece and dropped the Spruce Campbells' first EP, Mosques, Museums, and Mausoleums, shortly after they began playing live shows. Two Minstrumentals and The Lessons We Learned From Ghosts followed, and three more EPs are on the way. Each contains four tracks, with the first and last two intended to function as conceptual pairs. Kusowski aims to eventually release the EPs as one combined 26-song album, complete with B-sides, as The Bipolar Coordinates. The project is nearly as ambitious as the music itself. "It's definitely going to be the most expensive record released in Columbus this year," Kusowski joked. For all the hard work he's put in, Kusowski remains cavalier about the prospect of label recognition, preferring to concentrate his energy on a finished product that will have those interested coming to him. So far, word of mouth has served him well in leaving his vision uninterrupted. "You just gotta work on music that you and your friends like, because that's really all that matters," he said. "The best thing you can do is create a song that makes somebody say, 'I associate this moment, this feeling, this experience with your piece of music.'"