A passion for music and a need to play have led to the beginning of quite the journey for Jane Finkel, Mackinac Island senior, and Brian Spencer, ’13 alumnus. Less is More, the name of their alternative/folk band, is set to record its first album next week, as the two travel to Franklin, Tenn. over Albion’s spring break.
“After graduating from Albion, I headed down to Franklin to complete an accelerated audio engineering and sound production program at The Dark Horse Institute,” Spencer said. “My connection with that program has allowed us to head down there and record at a discounted rate, with some of the best equipment and resources that the industry currently has to offer.”
The upcoming album has been in the works for the past two years, and according to Spencer, the album will spell out where the group sits mentally as they look to dive into the giant music industry.
“Music isn’t something that either of us want to do,” Spencer said. “It’s something that we need to do. We love it that much. I think that distinction is very important. We are entering into an industry where examples of failure are all around us, yet here we are, unafraid and more driven then we were the day before.”
Finkel and Spencer began working together during Finkel’s sophomore year and Spencer’s junior year, but it wasn’t until two years later they started to write their own original songs.
“One of our earliest ventures was our ‘Hey Ya’ cover,” Spencer said. “It was just an Outkast cover, but it was the first time our creative minds started swimming in the same pool. It was a very neat feeling to be on such a similarly creative and open playing field, right from the very beginning.”
While their music and flow seemed to come naturally, one thing did not. Coming up with a name for the band. After the two struggled to come up with a name for a while, they finally came to a definitive decision.
“One morning my papa walked down with a shirt that said ‘Less is More,’ and it was at that breakfast table that we decided on our name,” said Finkel. “It wasn’t until we went to make our Facebook page that we realized it was also a toilet paper ad, but so far no one has walked into one of our shows thinking it was a toilet paper convention.”
Since then, the two became a favorite at Cascarelli’s on Monday nights while Spencer still attended Albion, and they recently performed at Crunchy’s in East Lansing on Feb. 28. Their Facebook page keeps their fans up to date with new songs, gigs and more.
Dennis O’Dowd, ’13 alumnus, had the opportunity to play with Less is More many times during his time at Albion.
“When they learned I had started playing the violin, they asked me to sit in on a few songs during one senior bar night,” O’Dowd said. “I remember that at the end of the two songs I was in on, they all looked at me and Brian said, ‘dude, could you do this like all the time?’”
Despite the group’s willingness to incorporate guest artists when they perform, Spencer said he doesn’t see any additions to the group being made any time soon, although it’s not something him and Jane have talked about.
“I really love how Brian and I work together, and I’m not sure how another person would change the dynamics,” Finkel said. “But never say never.”
For now, Less is More is simply excited for their future, what it holds and they can’t wait to begin living out their dream.
“Our dream is to touch somebody through our music,” Spencer said. “Our dream is to sustain a living through playing our own creations for people that want to hear them. Ultimately, though, our dream is to help people as well as ourselves, through our music.”
Their album is set to be released in mid-August at a release party on Mackinac Island, and they plan to go on tour shortly after in the fall with two of their good friends.
“Brittany Holt is a writer and will be documenting the tour through poetry and updating the Less is More blog,” Finkel said. “Alex Essex-Carmona is a videographer, and he will be documenting the trip with short videos for our blog, and creating a documentary of our experiences. What could be more fun than working hard for what you love with people that you love?”
Photos courtesy of Less is More