“I’ve always have been into female artist mostly throughout my life and I’ve related with their music most,” Isley Reust of the band Spectacular Spectacular said to PlanetTransgender in an interview, “Shirley Manson from Garbage was my number one influence growing up.”
In part one of this interview, we took a look at Isley, her struggles prior to transitioning and her re-emergence into what the Huffington Post referred to her as one of the ten trans names you should know, but now it’s time to talk about the music.
Spectacular Spectacular released a digital album on Soundcloud this last summer and I had the opportunity to talk with Isley Reust about the album Blur and break down some of the tracks and influences on a release that was three years in the making. The result is a dream pop masterpiece that flows evenly from the first track to the last, seemingly telling a story of love, loss and loneliness.
Both ethereal and beautiful, Dream Pop was made popular by the label 4AD in the late 80s, but came into its own through the sounds of the Cocteau Twins, Lush, Pale Saints and Swallow. The use of guitar effects, over lapping instrumentation and blurry lyrical imagery are often cited as characteristics of dream pop, but to get a pure understanding of the sound, Spectacular Spectacular’s album Blur is dead on.
We were going for a story and a journey in the flow of the songs.
“Our entire album is really diverse, but we tried to make it flow with that diversity,” Isley said, “We wrote and recorded it over the course of 3 years. Some songs we went through multiple reconstructions. Our opening track “Wake me up” is 4 songs in one but it flows and works. It’s an introduction to the diversity people are about to hear.”
“We have everything from live orchestral pieces to synth and classical guitar and eerie vocals,” Isley explained, “We weren’t going for any specific sound while writing this album we were just creating something honest and that came out naturally and nothing was forced,” which is by far the best part of this group of tracks. Blur feels like a natural extension of the bands past individual and collective experiences giving it a natural free flow sound.
Dissecting the album track by track is always a music journalists favorite activity and having spent so many years on the business end of the music industry, I’ve had the privilege of picking the brains of many artists and talking to Isley Reust of Spectacular Spectacular about her bands new release was both fun and intriguing.
PlanetTransgender [PT]: We talked about Shirley Manson being one of your early influences and this seems very evident in the track Orange Juice [again, musically and lyrically] “show me the monsters inside of you.” Are you referring to anyone specific…or even yourself?
Isley Reust [IR]: Those lyrics mean show me the worst person you possibly can be, I want to see the other side of you that you’re not showing or letting the world see. The true colors and side of you
[PT]: Saturday Night is rather manic, can you explain that? “Feels so good I got in a fight.”
[IR]: Ha-ha Saturday Night that good old song. So that song was not meant to have that explosion part into the punk riff. The original version was an acoustic guitar and horn section, something really mellow and pretty. While we were tracking in the studio we for some reason changed it and it came out to what it was. I really have no explanation for that song. It’s one of the things were we question it, if you know what I mean and just leave it to the listener to take what they want from it
[PT]: Don’t You Dare is by far the longest track on the album clocking in at just over 5 minutes. Tell me a little bit about this track.
[IR]: I had the intro part I was dabbling with for a month or so then we fly down to la to a rehearsal space and I started playing it on guitar then 20 minutes later the song was complete. It was by far the fastest song we wrote for the album
It all just came out so fluid and naturally
[PT]: 50: this song is extremely dark and complicated. WTF?
[IR]: yeah so Jessica had written this weird organ part that was dark and we just built it up from that. We had our good friend Dannon Rampton collaborate and we wrote the orchestral parts for the song and got a quartet together to track it
Jessica and I wrote the rest of the song in a cemetery in northern California the cemetery was very hilly and it was covered in fog and it was extremely haunting and eerie feeling
[PT]: So you are doing a lot of press and media…is there something you always wanted someone to ask you, but they haven’t?
[IR]: I guess what I have planned for the future. I feel a lot of people want to know about your past. I’m that type of woman I don’t mind discussing the past a little bit but I want to move and focus the future because that’s where we are headed and what counts
[PT]: OK, so what’s in your future?
[IR]: For my future I just want to make music that impacts people and tour the world. I’d love to start doing more acting and hopefully land a regular on a T.V. series or do another film. I just love creating and music and the T.V. world is where my heart is.
“I’m a weird artistic girl”
Maybe…or maybe just Spectacular Spectacular?