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It’s somewhat difficult to find a picture of Brian and Jane Spencer. (That is, until this article.)

The husband and wife electro-pop duo, known artistically as FINKEL and stylistically as F I N K E L, have made a conscious choice to separate their identities and physical presence from their music; preferring, instead, to create an alternate reality where their work can live independently.

This past year, they’ve worked to create the world of their music by releasing singles accompanied by animated music videos. The most recent, “l e x i c o n”, premieres exclusively on LADYGUNN today.

“We have been fortunate enough to work with animators that we love and that work in really different styles,” Jane tells me. “And for this music video, the idea behind the song is the duality of people…we’re all trying to succeed, but some people go about it in a way that’s less favorable, in our opinion.”

The video, animated by Olly Frostie (who has worked with Alt-J, Cigarettes After Sex, and Run the Jewels) emulates the gritty, pop-art style of 90s cartoons that Brian and Jane grew up watching. Not only is it a refreshing departure from the ultra-sleek Pixar animations we see today, but it will take you right back to those blissful Saturday mornings spent on the living room floor in front of the TV.

photo / Leigh Ann Cobb

Brian and Jane’s journey to becoming FINKEL (which is Jane’s maiden name) wasn’t exactly linear. Their first project together was as folk duo Less Is More; which, over time, they realized wasn’t authentically them.

“It was a learning process for us,” Brian says. “We were in a period where we were figuring out what kind of music we enjoyed playing. When we got to the end of Less Is More, we kind of realized that we weren’t playing the music that we actually listen to, which was a huge step in our transition.”

“Our producer actually pointed that out to us,” Jane adds. “He was like, ‘You guys don’t really listen to the kind of music that you’re writing’. And we were like, ‘Oh, shoot.’”

The duo, sensing a natural shift in their sound, decided to put Less Is More to rest and focus on discovering something that felt more authentic.

“We didn’t want to sound like bands that we like,” Jane explains. “We wanted to really take the time to nurture our artistic growth…take the importance out of all of the songs and just write a ton of music. And through that, we really found something that became, in our opinion, uniquely ours and felt really true to us, that we would listen to. And that was the biggest success.”

“We’re having a lot more fun now because of it,” Brian adds.

But were fans of Less Is More willing to follow Jane and Brian into their new project? Yes and no, they say.

“It’s a double-edged sword because there were a lot of fans who were passionate about Less Is More and couldn’t quite grasp the reasoning behind why we would dissolve that project because they enjoyed it and they’re not really so much into electronic or pop or alternative music,” says Brian. “And so, you know, you lose some, but you also gain others. Really, at the end of the day, we’ve always created music for other people to digest but this is the first time that we’ve really focused on what we want to get out of the bargain. You know, personal happiness is our foundation.”

As a couple that also works creatively together, I can’t help but be curious as to how they prioritize this personal happiness within their marriage as well.

“It’s definitely been a learning curve,” Brian says. “We’re constantly talking about creating, whether it’s visual art or music.”

“There are so many elements in creating a world and we have so much fun doing it together,” Jane adds. “But there are times when we have to say, ‘We can’t talk about this now’, and focus on the relationship. But there’s not a lot of separation, because we are authentically what we’re putting out, it’s just kind of part of our lives.”

Brian and Jane work tirelessly to create and build upon the world of their music, but unlike a lot of other artists, don’t worry so much about their personal image, particularly on social media. Instead, they see Instagram as an artistic tool that aids in their creation.

“When we realized it was something we have to do for the band, Brian brought it to me and said, ‘This is just an art project.’” Jane says. “ And as soon as I thought about it like that I was like ‘Oh my god, this is so fun.’ This is just creating a little gallery.’ So that’s what we’re doing on our page. Just continually creating this world and getting more deeply involved in creating this alternate reality that is a complete blast.”

“And you know, I guess with everything, with moderation you find success, Brian adds. “So as long as you don’t get sucked in – you know, it’s totally addictive. We get sucked into it every single day. I’m totally guilty of it. Jane’s totally guilty of it. But I think to find that sweet spot, and being able to keep one another accountable and let the other know when maybe it’s a good idea to take a break from it.”

“Also, it’s kind of odd,” Jane jumps back in.

“It isn’t pretty,” Brian agrees with a laugh. “It’s definitely more avant-garde and art-centric.”

So, what’s in store for FINKEL? A lot, according to the Spencers.

“[2019 will] be a big year for the whole FINKEL camp. We’re aiming for about 70 dates across the country…and I think we’re going to try and release an EP at the end of the year. And just kind of play it that way. Until we have a fan base that is very interested and waiting for us to drop an LP.”

“We’re still just little babies,” Jane laughs.

“And I think that can grow,” says Brian. “But right now, we’re happy with where we are and with our art. We just need to see if other people like it too.”



story / Catherine Santino
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