By Nicholas Jason Lopez
If Beck, Vampire Weekend and Paul Simon all became one entity, you’d get Belgian-American alt-pop extraordinaire Speelburg, who recently dropped his debut studio album ‘Porsche’ via Sophomore Slump in partnership with Kartel Music Group.
Supported by the playful single “Gwyneth (Get Up!)” (with quite the flashy, sweaty music video accompaniment directed by Maris Jones), ‘Porsche’ exemplifies more of the confident swagger only he can muster. The album was mixed by Grammy Award-winning producer Ben H. Allen (Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective, Kaiser Chiefs) and written/produced by Speelburg.
Even if he didn’t get Gwyneth Paltrow’s attention via social media, he gained something else – happiness. Being a process that took over two and a half years to put together, Speelburg expressed that ‘Porsche’ is exactly how he wanted to be, a personal nostalgic trip into everything he loves.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with Speelburg about ‘Porsche’ and more.
Music Bugle – What inspired your artist name and its stylization?
Speelburg – A long and lengthy legal battle with many twists and turns. We settled and I learned a hard lesson – don’t hire Rudy Giuliani. He’s a terrible lawyer.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about alt-pop?
Speelburg – As much as I hope that my music can and truly does move past the four walls genre-labels – especially on this album – there’s for sure an alt-pop light shining on it. I like making pop music and I like making things sound weird. It seems the alt-pop nation has more than given me refuge. They have embraced their native son and given him a warm meal, a shower and some new socks.
Music Bugle – What are some challenges that come with being a solo artist?
Speelburg – Being in a band, you have a constant family around you and you take the good and the bad together. It helps to cushion the blows. When you’re a solo artist, if something goes wrong, it’s just your fault and you have no one else to blame really – and you have to do all the driving.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Speelburg – I spent the summer listening to a lot of Glen Campbell, but my Fall playlist has expanded to include Will DiMaggio, Brijean, Jim-E-Stack, Jockstrap and Laurel. Those are all people worth wrapping your ears around.
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your debut album ‘Porsche’?
Speelburg – It was two-and-a-half years of ups and downs. My hard drive is full of half-written song ideas. The ones on the record are the ones that were good enough to finish. Honestly, it was so fun making this album. I think I got better as a writer and a producer in that time too and I think that helps contribute to the eclectic nature of the record. There’s so, so much going. It’s a good representation of what’s going on in my brain.
Music Bugle – What are some memories that stand out from making the video for “Gwyneth”?
Speelburg – There’s too many great ones. The team was amazing. It was surreal making a music video with the director and producer in New York beaming in on the iPad. Like any video shoot, you’re up against the clock trying to get every single great shot in, but that helps make it this amazingly fun challenge, like a puzzle we’re all trying to solve together. I really liked learning all the dance moves with Paul. I sweated for two straight weeks learning his wonderful choreography. I also consider myself very lucky that I got to make a video with Maris Jones, a director whose work I’ve been obsessed with for the past year.
Music Bugle – Does social media make it easier or harder for a musician to stand out these days?
Speelburg – Harder. It’s all so very distracting.
Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from?
Speelburg – My friends, the language, the food, the weather… there’s so much to love about the South of France. It’s also got great beaches, but yeah, the food is really great. The tomatoes are the best you’ll have.
Music Bugle – How would you describe your current mindset with the world?
Speelburg – Right now, I keep refreshing Google to see where we’re at with this election. It’s looking good for Biden in Georgia, but who knows. The world feels so divided. You really see it in this American election, as well as governments around the world. My father’s really into astrology. He says the end of this year/early next year have been looking like the uptick we’ve so desperately needed. Here’s hoping my father and those ancient gaseous giants are right.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Speelburg – It’s not a quote, but my old college professors told us on the first day of class that we were entering the absolute worst time in history to pursue a career in music. To be fair, we were on the precipice of the 2007 global financial crisis, so they weren’t entirely wrong.