18 January 2023
BURN THE LOUVRE is the musical moniker of Canadian
singer-songwriter-guitarist Jordan Speare and his sidekick
After releasing 11 songs – one per month – last year, they assembled them into their
debut album, baptized Silhouettes (stream/buy below). A collection of electrifying pop sparks, catching tunes, and self-reflective musings. Spicy stuff to feed your hungry ears.
Turn Up The Volume advices you strongly to discover these inspiring musicians. We’ll
help you with this chat with mastermind Jordan Speare who does everything himself,
who doesn’t really want to burn down the world-famous French Louvre Museum,
about Twitter billionaire Elon Musk, about a girl and about 2023.
When and how did BURN THE LOUVRE start its musical journey?
“Okay, I will try to make this long story as short as possible [laughs]. I started
Burn The Louvre as an indie rock band with my brother Dylan about 10 years ago.
He had his songs, and 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, 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. Fast forward through a couple more line-up changes that didn’t work out and I found myself without a band for the first time at 28 years old.
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. 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.
So now we’re an indie rock duo, if you will. I’m sorry, I know that wasn’t exactly a short answer [laughs].”
Who came up with the band’s name and is there a story behind it?
“So I came up with the name when my brother & I first started the band about 10 years ago or so? 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]. 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 two 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 and see if anyone misses it. Mankind doesn’t deserve The Louvre anyways.”
You’re an indie DIY duo. What does that really mean in reality?
“Well, when you’re an independent musician, DIY really means DEY as in “Do Everything Yourself”. It’s an enormous amount of work, especially when you’re working a full-time job on top of trying to carve out a music career.
So releasing 11 songs in 11 months this past year when I was handling every aspect of the release by myself, song registration + tracking, social media, promotion, marketing, PR, bookings etc.
Let’s just say I did not have a whole lot of fun in 2022 [laughs].”
Which of your songs would you pick to introduce yourself as an artist to people who never heard of BTL?
“I would probably pick “Lost With You”. It’s our most popular song according to Spotify with over 15,000 plays since it was released on 05/31/2022. It’s a fun, upbeat indie pop song and clocking in at only 2:35, I feel like it’s the perfect introduction to our music for the modern music fan’s attention span [laughs].”
You released your debut album SILHOUETTES last month. It features all 11 tracks you released this year, one per month. What/who triggered the idea to do it this way?
“Well I had these 11 songs ready to go and I knew they belonged on an album together before I went into record with our producer extraordinaire Mickey Ellsworth. I also knew that it makes very little sense in 2022 for an independent artist to release a full-length album all at once without any kind of label support. Streaming services like Spotify are set up to reward artists for releasing material consistently. They recommend a new single every 4-6 weeks or so to fully benefit from the algorithmic bonuses you’d receive, so in order to appease these Spotify algorithm gods [rolls eyes], I was kind of forced to treat each song as its own individual release in an attempt to capitalize on the potential for more playlist adds.
The fact that you can only pitch one song per release to the Spotify Editorial Playlists
also influenced my decision. So what that means is, say I released Silhouettes all at once as one album, I would only be able to pick ONE song off of the record to pitch for Editorial Playlist consideration…whereas by releasing the songs individually as singles first, I was able to pitch each of them for consideration instead. That’s its own slippery slope and it is extremely difficult to get placed on one of those Spotify Editorial Playlists, but the potential pay-off was too great for me not to at least try my luck and give each song a fair opportunity to make the cut.
So the decision was kind of made for me as to how I was going to be releasing this album and because there were 11 songs to release, the only way I could release them all in the same year, so that it would qualify as an album, was to release the first single in January, which would mean that the last single “Honolulu”, would be released in November.
At which point I re-released everything as one full album. The waterfall strategy of releasing the singles individually before the album is out, if you will. The timeline
worked out perfectly, as I know that it’s typically not very effective releasing anything
new in December, as people are so preoccupied with Christmas and the holiday season, nobody’s really paying attention to anything else, so this gave me ample time to release everything before Christmas.”
Is the album’s title in any way related to the whole of the record?
“So, after my brother left the band back in late 2017, I had these 11 songs that had kind
of been sitting on the sidelines for a little while; I had written them all 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.
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.”
Who created the LP’s artwork and what did you want to visualize with it?
“Isn’t it beautiful?? My friend Billy Pozeg created the album artwork for this record and I could not be happier with how it turned out. Billy is a graphic designer and he used to run one of the biggest independent live music venues in Hamilton called Club Absinthe; we would play there all the time.
He actually created the artwork for Silhouettes as a show poster for our first EP Release show back in November 2014. I loved the poster so much I asked him if I could use it for
an album cover one day. He was gracious enough to just give me the design, we altered it very slightly and what we are left with is one of the most beautiful album covers I’ve ever seen.
The fact that the design of The Louvre on fire is inside of a silhouette of a woman, whereas all of the songs on this record are about different women in some regard, it just made too much sense. We’ve definitely gotten a ton of compliments on the album art, so if you’re reading this Billy, you are the man!”
DUMB is definitely one of my fav tracks? What’s the song about?
“I am so glad you like that one! Thanks again for including it on your 30 Best Tracks Of 2022! Honestly, that one really humbled me. So “Dumb” is one of three songs on the album that is about my on-again/off-again ex-girlfriend Maya . “Achilles’ Heel” & “Easy” are the other two. They are tracks # 6, 7 and 8 on the album and they kind of play out together like a trilogy whereas: “Achilles’ Heel” is about when we first got together when everything was wonderful.
“Easy” is about the first time we broke up (“nothing’s ever easy”) and “Dumb” is about the aftermath of said on-again/off-again relationship, where I find myself desperately missing her, but I’m too proud or in this case “too smart” to give in and go back to her. The ironic thing about that is that we’ve gotten back together again at least twice since I wrote and recorded that song, so I obviously am just “as dumb as I thought I was”.
This was a really fun song to write though. I was listening to a lot of The Dirty Nil at the time, so this one (along with a couple other tracks on this LP) is heavily punk-influenced. This song is me attempting to write a Dirty Nil song, so I was basically just doing a terrible Luke Bentham impression the entire time. The general message of “Dumb” is to stay strong, be proud and whatever you do, don’t be dumb enough to go back to the person who hurt you; and then I decided to sneak a bunch of lines in there joking about killing
I made sure to add some lines in later that cemented the fact that the whole thing is meant to be an obvious joke. She had heard this song long before I recorded it and actually really liked it, appreciated the humour in it and completely signed off on it.
Just so everybody knows.
I thought it’d be funny to write a song from the perspective of the person who was left where you’re basically fantasizing about killing your ex throughout the entirety of the song (“I’ll give your best to your new boyfriend and let him know that he won’t ever see your face again”), before reiterating (over & over again) that you’re not “dumb” enough to ever actually act on it. I really had a strong feeling that the cowbell would really work really well in this song and I am so glad it did. The cherry on top of this stupid fucking song [laughs].”
Do you have another 11 singles ready to make us happy in 2023?
“So that’s a hard no [laughs]. This LP was a long time coming. I was working on it
since my brother quit the band back in late 2017. I overcame a lot of adversity putting these 11 songs together and had to deal with countless roadblocks on the way to
Obviously, the recording/mixing/mastering process for an 11-song LP is a very long one and definitely not something I’m eager to do again, although Mickey did an INCREDIBLE job on this record. I only want to release singles and EPs from now on. Being a DIY artist means I did 100% of the PR and promotion for this album by myself.
So sending out thousands of emails every month for 11 months just absolutely drained my mental health. As soon as I’ve wrapped up promotion on this record, I’m going to spend most of 2023 taking a long break from social media & email and mainly focus the majority of my time on gigging, practicing & improving instead of promoting/marketing, which I really hate.”
“Having said that, we have a LOT of new material. I have at least 10-15 songs that I feel deserve to be recorded and Sean has at least 5 of his own as well. So we are definitely going to spend the majority of 2023 demoing these new songs and trying to perfect them before we head back into the studio to record; hopefully with the great Mickey Ellsworth again! I can’t say enough good things about him as a producer. But from now on, 4-6 songs per year is my new threshold. Releasing 11 songs in one year was far too much work for one person to do all by themselves.”
Suppose your album was a movie, which one would it be?
“I am so glad you asked this question because I actually have a GREAT answer for it [laughs]. So, as I had mentioned earlier, my decision to release Silhouettes as 11 singles was mainly to appease the Spotify & streaming service algorithm gods [rolls eyes again], but I figured that if I was going to release this album in 11 parts, why not release the songs all out of order?
That way it gives people an extra reason to go back and listen to the entire album in the correct order once it’s released, right? The inspiration for my release strategy came from the movie (500) Days Of Summer, where the movie tells the story of the relationship between Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s & Zooey Deschanel’s characters entirely out of order.
The movie keeps flipping back and forth between various moments throughout their 500 days as a couple and as it does this, the picture gradually becomes clearer and clearer. I felt that seeing as this LP dealt with similar themes of love and loss, it made sense to me to draw inspiration from this cool indie rom-com. Silhouettes essentially is an indie rom-com [laughs].”
THE event of 2022?
“Honestly, probably Elon Musk buying Twitter. That man rocks so many boats that nobody asked him to, I absolutely love it. Leaking the “Twitter Files” where there is likely nothing for him to personally gain from it, just shining some extra light on all of the political corruption we’re living through. I can’t wait to see what he does in 2023.”
Now that 2022 is over, what’s the best track and album you heard this past year?
“I love these questions! Best track is a very tough one. I don’t know if I could narrow it down to 1 song specifically. But if I had to pick my favourite album of 2022, I couldn’t do that either! [laughs] The best I could do would be to narrow it down, in which case it would be a 3-way tie between Cool It Down by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Formentera by Metric. and Blue Rev by Alvvays. Just three spectacular records by three spectacular bands that in my opinion, each deserve consideration for Album Of The Year.”
Name 3 things you really want to happen for BURN THE LOUVRE in 2023
“1. Personal growth as musicians and songwriters. I feel these new songs we’re working
on are excellent and very different from these ones, so I am very excited to get these down and just become better at what we’re doing. We’re looking into adding some new members, so I’m excited for what that does in terms of our sound.
2. Another recording session. While I know it’s unrealistic to say we’re going to release
new music next year when I know how long the entire process takes, it would be great if we could be at least ready to head into the studio by the end of 2023 to record another 6 songs.”
3. More radio play. We’ve already gotten a great response from radio for these songs so far! So that’s been extremely encouraging, but I still have a fair amount of pitching to radio still to do for the first month or two of 2023, so I am hopeful we’ll continue to get accepted and get our music out there into the world.”
Thank you, Jordan, for this interview.
May the road rise with Burn The Louvre in 2023.
Do not hesitate.
here via Bandcamp