Burn The Louvre has been releasing one song per month since January from their first LP Silhouettes, and “Honolulu” is the somber ukulele-driven album’s closing single.
Honolulu is a song Lead singer/guitarist Jordan Speare wrote for his first girlfriend Gillian for her birthday.
So, I had these 11 songs that had kind of been sitting on the sidelines for a little while; I had written them from age 24-27 and they all just so happened to be about ex-girlfriends and women that I used to know [laughs], total coincidence. Says Jordan Speare
This was shared during an interview with Mister Styx of Musicarenagh
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Is there a story behind your stage name?
The name Burn The Louvre actually came from a Fight Club quote! It’s not in the movie, but it’s a line in the book. I just loved how many different ways a name like that can be interpreted, which is fitting as to how many different ways our music can be interpreted (lots of genre mashing in there).
But just to clarify, we are definitely just an indie rock band and not a terrorist group [laughs]. I have nothing but respect for art museums and obviously The Louvre is arguably the most famous one; I just loved that quote too much not to use it. Fight Club is definitely my favourite movie and I really loved the book as well. It just made sense to me, right?
The thing that I love the most about our band name is that there are a couple different connotations surrounding it depending on how you interpret it. The 2 extremes I see are either:
A) “Down with the upper echelon! Let’s burn The Louvre!”
(which is pretty self-explanatory: rise up and revolt, right?)
Or as I like to interpret our band name:
B) “People don’t care about art anymore. If art is so undervalued, then let’s just burn The Louvre down. Mankind doesn’t deserve The Louvre anyways. Let’s see if anyone misses it.”
How did you learn to sing/write/to play?
Well, I started out playing the drums as a kid and into my teens and played in a bunch of really mediocre high school & college bands [laughs]. I didn’t even take up guitar until I was 20 years old and sick of playing the drums. So, I kind of taught myself and then took some lessons here and there from my buddy Dave Lindsay and the great Matt King afterwards to work on my technique and bless them, they even tried to teach me theory [laughs]. I learned a lot from Matt especially, he taught me sound technique.
I’ve taken some online courses as well through the National Guitar Academy to try to brush up on some theory. Mike Kennedy is the fucking man. I even signed up for some online courses for a little while and took that Tom Morello guitar course. I mean, we live in a world where you can get video lessons from Tom Morello! Moral of the story here, in my opinion, it’s a good idea to learn from different people in different ways. I try to stay very open-minded in that regard.
What was the first concert that you ever went to and who did you see perform?So my first real concert I ever went to was Paul McCartney when I was 15 years old. He was playing in Toronto, so my Mom & Dad took my brother and I. My Dad figured by the time we’d be old enough to afford tickets ourselves, he might not even be touring anymore (which is hilarious to think of now, isn’t it?), so he wanted to make sure we got to see Paul McCartney at least once in our lives. I really appreciate that.
It was incredible to get to hear all of those classic songs performed live by one of the most famous men in the world. He played for about 3 hours and he probably could’ve played for another hour at least, I mean, his catalog is just enormous, right?
It was extra special for me as he played “I Will” during that concert, which he said he rarely plays live anymore. “I Will” was the song my Mom sang to me to put me to sleep while I was a baby, so it was really nice to get to experience that with her.
How could you describe your music?
It seems that this answer changes quite a bit depending on who you ask. Over the past year alone, I’ve gotten comparisons that have varied from The Kooks to Phoenix to The Violent Femmes to Elvis Costello (which was extremely humbling).
I did quite a bit of genre-mashing on this new LP SIlhouettes. There are obvious singer/songwriter influences on a number of tracks, obvious indie rock influences on a number of other tracks, there’s a bit of folk in there, a couple of the songs are heavily punk influenced, one of them has a cowbell in there [laughs]…so it’s an extremely mixed bag to say the least, right?
My favourite way to describe our sound is that: “we’re an indie rock band with folk tendencies.”
Describe your creative process. What is your main inspiration?
That’s a really great question and unfortunately I don’t have a good answer for it [laughs]. It really does vary from song to song. I’ve had some songs where I’ve had the music and the chord progressions written and ready to go, but struggled with the lyrics until something happened and inspiration hit.
Then there’d be some cases where I’d get lyrics written very quickly and already have the melody in my head and I’d just have to try to transcribe that on the guitar afterwards. Every song is a little different for sure. Sometimes I’ll finish a song in under an hour and sometimes I’ll leave it for months and then come back to it and finish it off later. Sometimes it’s literally just one line I’ll get stuck on.
Inspiration can be tricky for sure, but the one thing I will never do is rush a song or force something that isn’t there. I’ve always operated as more of a lone wolf in regards to collaboration. Even when my brother was in the band, we would each have our own songs written and we would basically just edit each other’s work. If he were stuck on a line here or there or he’d tell me what he’d want me to play on the guitar etc. – Sean and I operate much the same way. He has his songs, I have mine and we try to edit each other’s work and compliment it as best we can. It’s a system that’s worked great for me my whole life and Sean seems to enjoy working that way as well, so we’ve definitely found our formula.
How has your style evolved since the beginning of your career?
Evolution and Burn The Louvre have gone hand in hand over the past 5+ years or so [laughs]. I started Burn The Louvre as an indie rock band with my brother Dylan. He had his songs, I had mine so we decided to combine our ideas, edit each other’s work and do this properly.
We went through a few different bandmates during the 5 years we were active and released 2 EPs together: Post-Romance EP in 2014 and We’ll Be Just Fine in 2017. However, shortly after we released that 2nd EP We’ll Be Just Fine, my brother decided that he didn’t want to do this anymore. So that was difficult for sure. I basically had to start all over again from scratch.
I went through another line-up change, it didn’t go well, so I found myself all alone at 28 years old for the first time in my life. I really didn’t know how to be a “solo artist”, but I had these 11 songs all finished and ready to go that would end up becoming Silhouettes, I knew I had to record them. I enlisted help from my friend Andrew Billone of indie rock band Silvertone Hills to play lead guitar and bass for me on all 11 songs on the album and asked my friend & fellow singer/songwriter Stephanie Deshane if she would sing with me on “Alison”. My friend Mickey Ellsworth recorded, mixed, mastered & produced the entire record himself and was instrumental in the sound and the finished product. I learned so much from Mickey. So I just went after it. I knew these songs needed to be recorded anyways, I figured I might as well do it myself (with some help from some very good people, of course).
We finished wrapping up the recording of Silhouettes late 2018, shortly afterwards I received an email from my current guitarist Sean Cooper. He was answering a “Musicians Wanted” ad I had put up on Kijiji, I had forgotten to take it down. So we ended up getting together for a beer, we hit it off, we got together to jam the following week and we’ve been getting together an average of once a week ever since.
I was extremely impressed with the way Sean stepped in immediately and took these songs that were already finished and completely made them his own. These new songs definitely sound different when we play them live compared to how they were recorded, which makes sense as we had 2 different guitarists’ interpretations of these.
I absolutely love what Andrew did with these songs on the recordings, but again, I was just extremely impressed with the way Sean changed up the lead guitar parts on all 11 of them, exploring different nuances but still maintaining the vibe of each song. He’s given this undeniable stability and a bit of swagger, which is 100% him. I’m extremely hopeful for the future of Burn The Louvre and very excited to start recording our new music Sean & I have been working on together.
If you could change one thing in the music industry, what would it be?
Nepotism. It seems that far too many “indie” artists out there had somebody buy their career for them somewhere along the line. I find it extremely unjust how certain artists are handed golden opportunities just because they came from rich families with connections. I’m sick of seeing real independent artists, who work much harder and often have next to no resources at their disposal, go overlooked and unnoticed just because they don’t have the right last name.
Why did you choose Silhouettes as the title of your latest project?
So, I had these 11 songs that had kind of been sitting on the sidelines for a little while; I had written them from age 24-27 and they all just so happened to be about ex-girlfriends and women that I used to know [laughs], total coincidence.
So after spending time on these 11 songs, I realized that they actually fit really well together and kind of told a bit of a story about a young man’s growth from moving on from a short-term relationship where maybe he wasn’t as good as he should have been to re-discovering life as a single man, to finding new love, to then losing that love as well and by the end of the album he’s stuck reminiscing about what went wrong and he’s left longing for the girl he lost in the first place.
So I decided to put these 11 songs together on an LP called Silhouettes, named after the title track. Silhouettes is a bit of a nod to the fact that the women who inspired these songs are silhouettes of my past. I think there’s a certain beauty in the idea that people who were once a big part of your life become nothing more than shadows after the relationship ends. This LP is my way of paying tribute to these women who impacted my life in some way.
What are your plans for the coming months?
Well, I need to finish up pitching & promoting the new album Silhouettes, first and foremost. I have already put a massive amount of work into that throughout the entirety of 2022, so the good news is that because of all of my consistent hard work, radio is basically the only thing I have left to pitch to. So I am hoping this record continues to get picked up by a number of these radio stations and I can generate a lot more airplay for us in 2023.
And after my radio pitching is all finished, I am taking a long break from my laptop and social media. Pitching and promoting 11 songs all by myself this past year has just completely drained me. I need a break from the internet in 2023 [laughs].
As far as future projects go, I am sitting on at least 10-15 songs that I think are more than good enough to record and produce. Sean has at least 5 more songs of his own which we want to get in and record sometime soon as well. I mean, right there we already have another couple EP’s worth of material, basically. So as of right now, the goal is to push this as far as it will go and make sure I get all of the songs we are currently sitting on released within the next 3 years or so. So 2023 will be a lot of demoing, practicing and trying to bring these new songs to life. And gigs, we’ll definitely be playing a bunch more gigs next year.
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