Albion College Class of 2014 Jane Finkel and Class of 2013 Brian Spencer have experienced a huge wave of support and success with their band “Less is More” in the past year. Finkel and Spencer met at Albion in the a cappella group Euphonics. After realizing how much they loved playing music together, they started a small band playing downtown at Cascarelli’s. Their first band, “Me and My Friends” featured Finkel, Spencer and a few of their friends playing for customers on Monday nights, known to upperclassmen as “senior bar night.” “Me and My Friends” played solely for fun and their shared love for music. Cascarelli’s would be packed full of people watching their small band and that’s when Finkel and Spencer recognized they could do a lot more with their talent. Finkel, growing up in Mackinac, Michigan, decided to play some gigs up in Mackinac with Spencer and take the music more seriously, and that’s when they became “Less is More.”
Finkel and Spencer, being a couple, try to stay away from singing love songs. Their focus isn’t being a band that’s in love, but showing their unique personality, style, and passion for what they do. Finkel commented that “one of the scariest parts about writing music is being vulnerable enough to share ideas with somebody and be nervous if they think ‘oh they’re weird’ or they don’t like them. And I think that because Spencer and I are so comfortable around each other there is no area of music we’re afraid to explore.”
Finkel, being a music major and Spencer, being in Gerstacker with a business major allowed them to manage their music profession. From a writing perspective and a music theory perspective, Finkel was able to take her education and continue to use it and also teach Spencer. Spencer’s focus in Communications helped them with their business model and advertising their music. Spencer comments that they “wouldn’t have been as proficient in doing as good if [being in Gerstacker] had not happened.” They learned a lot of really good factors that is needed to succeed in the music industry, and that lined up for them because of Albion.
Finkel continued to comment on Albion’s known sense of community. A huge part of who they are that continues with their success today is because of how supportive the students and staff were at Albion. So many people went to the Euphonics concerts, or watched them perform at Cascarelli’s. “It continues now with all of our shows that we do in Michigan with people from Albion that come out to our shows, sharing things on Facebook. The continual support from Albion and its students has been really unbelievable” Finkel said.
Because “Less is More” is growing at a more rapid rate than Finkel and Spencer had anticipated they’re looking to amplify their band. Whether it be adding more musicians, or styles they’re looking forward to building up who they are and what they stand for. Having a relationship foundation gives them something sturdier to build upon. Spencer says it’s all about “finding the balance with our relationship and a working relationship which has definitely helped [the band grow].”
Finkel and Spencer think that the response to “Less is More” has been so much better than they would have thought because people would expect a couple who are also a musicians together to write love songs. “Less is More” shows their funky, quirky, and fun style which is what is so different about them. People like this uniqueness and are able to relate to them and understand the variety of views they sing about. They don’t talk a lot about relationships and love but instead about more about social issues which are both inspiring and admirable.
“Less is More” was featured in a BuzzFeed article last week on their well-perceived rendition of “Wagon Wheel.” This dynamic duo was excited by the publicity it brought the band. The BuzzFeed article was done through a community post which means anyone can post it. While it is still on the BuzzFeed sight, it was not published by the editors. Although the article wasn’t done directly from the BuzzFeed editors, Finkel commented that “the best thing about the feature was the reaction of everyone else. Seeing everyone they’ve come into contact with in the past five years of playing was really rewarding with the support on their video.”
“Less Is More” has done quite a few covers on Spotify and put a lot of work into their cover pieces. Because they were featured for a song that wasn’t theirs, they’re still waiting for a day where they are featured for some of their original work. “The response from everybody else was by far overwhelming and heartwarming. It was great” said Spencer regarding the BuzzFeed article after regarding how the article’s reaction was more rewarding to them than the post itself.
Having so many students post the BuzzFeed article shows Albion’s support and well-known sense of community. Finkel and Spencer look forward to their upcoming show at the Bohm Theatre on September 17.
“When you dive into your later years in whatever it is that you plan to do, dive in 110 percent. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish in such a short amount of time Especially if you keep in mind the people that love and support you from the very beginning,” Spencer said. “Because the team just continues to grow and I think that’s something Albion really fosters is that small community/big family feel. You graduate from Albion, from the school that doesn’t have a whole lot of students attending it. But when you graduate, you graduate into a family that has thousands and thousands of people who went through the program and love to hear that you’re a Briton. And just want to help you in whatever it is that you do.”
Photo courtesy of lessismoreband.com