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Depending on what style of genre the singer-songwriter is covering, SPENCER JOYCE wears many hats. Following the less than spectacular release of his debut album Overnight Rockstar, which failed to live up to its title, this new artist gained some perspective on life, music, and even gave him an audience that he has been steadily building. Based in Purcellville, Va., Joyce has recovered from his first record’s flop and given new life to his songwriting by taking the process at a more steady pace with his second studio album August is the Sunday of the Year, which he is currently working on with producer John Brooks at For the Record Productions in Harrisonburg, Va. We discussed with Joyce his latest song “Elephant in a Jar,” which will be featured on his new album, along with how his diverse tastes in music and personal style represent who he is as an artist.

You recently released your latest single, “Elephant in a Jar.” Can you tell me what this song is about and what inspired the title?

I went to a local coffee shop called Market Street Coffee in Purcellville, Va. pretty regularly for a while, and I knew a girl there that was very happy and very honest and straight forward, overall fun to be around. Then I discovered her Tumblr account in which she was talking about bad things that went on with her family or her own body image. It occurred to me that we as human beings really don’t reveal 100 percent of ourselves to everyone that we meet, even our closest friends. We kind of hold things back, even just little things. So I’ve wrote a love song, which is also a kind of comfort song, from a distance. I try to keep it a bit vague so she doesn’t know that it was about her, even though the title was inspired by her Tumblr URL, which is thankfully not available anymore.

The music video you released with the song, which was directed and produced by Taylor Wyscarver, was very well done. How did you go about selecting him to work with you on this project?

He posted in the Facebook group NOVA Local Bands/Musicians saying that he was booking for a couple of months in advance, and I contacted him via Facebook. We just kind of went back and forth and set up the filming in Georgetown in D.C.

How well do you think the concept for the video translated visually with what you are singing in the song?

I feel it was conveyed pretty well. It’s basically about this one girl, who is played by a good friend of mine named Eliza O’Neil, who is a third wheel to all her situations. As I sing in the song, she is love deprived, and she sees everybody as either in love, or they are happy. There are a few shots in there where I am singing to comfort her from a distance, which was the concept of the song. I’m glad that we were able to put it together like that and convey that.

SJ 2In your band biography, you talk about how you aim to “produce at least one song for every taste in music.” Is that something you think is achievable without alienating different parts of your fan base?

Yes and no. I personally have a really broad taste in music; it’s based on my upbringing. I’m from North Carolina, so country music was [popular] in the place where I grew up, mainly from my mom. My dad was into classic rock bands like LED ZEPPELIN, THE WHO, things like that. [When I moved] up to Northern Virginia, I got into punk rock, and a few other friends of mine are into hip hop. I really hate doing the same thing twice, so I really like to mix things up. I am making this upcoming record very eclectic. I’ve got a tune that is kind of punk rock; “Elephant in a Jar” is acoustic pop; and I’ve got a song that is more funk.

But to your point about would it alienate certain people, I would say yes it would since people like what they like; you are not going to please everybody. And no because if they like you as a person and as a musician, fans will follow you [no matter what genre you play].

How much progress has been made on your upcoming album August is theSJ 3 Sunday of the Year thus far?

I’ve got three of the planned 10 tracks done so far. I have some dates lined up with producer John Brooks at For the Record Productions in Harrisonburg, Va. We are just going to take it one song at a time. I really don’t have a timeline for when I want it to be out because I feel like I rushed my first album Overnight Rockstar quite a bit and wanted to really get it out there. At the time, I had just signed with Alchemical Records, and [I got too excited]. I really don’t want to do that with August is the Sunday of the Year. I really want to take my time, make it right, and do everything right the second time around.

What do you mean by August is the Sunday of the Year? Is there a double meaning there?

I was in Richmond, Va. at the time just chilling by the [James] River down there with Jake Lawrence of DECIDE BY FRIDAY. He was sitting in on bass with me for a show we were doing at Jake’s Barbecue. It was late August when this was happening, and we just got to talking a little bit. I kind of came to this epiphany that the months in the year are kind of like days in the week. September is like Monday because everyone is going back to school then, and everybody is all “back to reality.” The summertime is like the weekend. May is like Friday because everyone is getting off of school, and June/July is like Saturday. And August is Sunday. So it just kind of rolled off the tongue, August is the Sunday of the Year.

Can you tell me about your plans to tour in support of the new album when it is eventually released?

I plan on taking an entire month off and getting a big tour together, going from city to city up and down the east coast. I kind of tested the waters with that in January where I booked an entire week where I went to The Milestone Club in Charlotte, N.C., The Camel in Richmond, Va., Wonderland Ballroom in D.C., Pianos in New York City, Memories Bar in Waldorf, Md. So the plan is to book a tour after the album is done and work to get the songs licensed for commercials, TV shows, and all that type of stuff. [I also want to] get a good radio promotion campaign for it.

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Have you considered cutting your long hair for a more clean-cut look?

Not really. I tried the short hair for a while. It just didn’t really work out, and it just doesn’t go with the look I am going for. I describe my music as the best of 60’s and 90’s rock and roll, and I feel like that is the look I am going for — a mixture of John Lennon, Liam Gallagher, Keith Richards, and Robert Plant.

For more updates on SPENCER JOYCE, be sure to visit his website, “like” his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter and Instagram, subscribe to his YouTube channel, and check out his music on Bandcamp.

Joe Fitzpatrick

Joe Fitzpatrick

As editor-in-chief, Joe is very passionate about promoting music and culture in Virginia and DC. A resident of Falls Church, Joe enjoys going to shows, checking out local breweries, and trying new foods with friends.

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