FINKEL with Mikeyy Austin
Saturday, Aug. 11
Doors, 7 p.m.
$8 Advance, $10, Doors
2700 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing
FINKEL, or by the band’s own stylization F I N K E L, played its first gig at Mac’s Bar. In those days, the group was called Less Is More, and its big accomplishment was a mashup track with the Queen and King, which earned over 22 million plays on Spotify.
Since then, the husband and wife duo of Brian Spencer and Jane Finkel have moved the project to Los Angeles, where they are making a name for themselves as a burgeoning electro pop rock outfit; taking modern elements of alternative rock and electronic dance music and rooting them in pop sensibility.
FINKEL is back on the road, and the pair is returning home to Michigan for another gig at Lansing’s most fabled dive bar.
Talk about life on the road. You’ve already traveled from Michigan to set up permanent base in Los Angeles — what’s that been like?
Brian: Honestly we haven't done a tour like this in a couple of years. This is the first large one that we've done since 2014 — that was three and a half months long. But we're excited; being on the road is something I think we both really love to do. We love to meet all these different types of people and musicians and venues — it's a great experience.
Jane: We've been spending most of our time writing in preparation for the release of music and music for the tour, but I love being on the road, so I'm really happy that we're that we're back at it.
How's the reception? What are some of your favorite spots you've been through so far?
Brian: I've got a special place in my heart for the Pacific Northwest. Something about being up there it reminds me of being in Michigan where we grew up. There's this home's familiarity, but it's a new place. I think that is kind of exciting.
Jane: I love the New Mexico area. It's a gorgeous drive, and that definitely is helpful when we are on those really long runs. Just to look outside and you see wild horses running, and all of the beautiful rock formations. Also, the food is really good. We really follow our stomachs.
Is there a surreal aspect to return to your home state Michigan as a touring pop band?
Jane: We really haven't been away for that long. It is going to be the first time we're performing in this format — myself on an Akai APC40 MIDI controller. It’s the most electronic that our setup has ever been, and our performance is different in a really fun way. For all of our fans and friends that we have in Michigan, it's going to be a really different show for them. I'm excited for that experience — to show all of the growth that we've been able to attain.
When it comes to composition, there’s a sort of balance between accessibility and deeper artistic influences. What is writing pop music like for the two of you?
Jane: Wanted it to be something that captured who we are through music. Kind of obviously so, but that's not always an easy thing to attain. We were kind of going really avant-garde with our sound for a while, and we realized it's fun to sing a chorus that you like. It's fun to sing and hear a bass line that makes your heart soar. Once we got over the idea that everything had to be different from anything anyone’s ever done before, we were able to approach a structure that made sense, but do it in our own way.
Brian: Pop music is not what it used to be. As we continue to write, we haven't really been writing for the purpose of it being explicitly pop, we’ve just been writing music that we would explicitly enjoy listening to ourselves. That was the biggest change, as much as we need to make music that other people enjoy to survive in this industry, we better enjoy it too. If you're not really digging what you're doing, then why are you doing it?