An Alumni Musical Duo Reborn as FINKEL

Now based in Los Angeles, their journey from the indie/folk Less Is More to an electronic soul/pop sound yields three new singles, with a 2019 full-length album to follow

July 23, 2018

By Bobby Lee

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The four-year wait for new music from Jane, ’14, and Brian Spencer, ’13, is over.

Jane (Finkel) Spencer, ’14, and Brian Spencer, ’13.

The married couple, who met at Albion as members of the College’s a capella group, Euphonics, began as the indie/folk duo Less Is More and acquired more than 54 million streams with their mashup hit “Cool Kids/Riptide” with The Queen and King.

“We had this air when we were trying to figure out our purpose as a couple and as musicians,” says Brian, originally from East Lansing, Mich., who also achieved all-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association first-team status as a wide receiver for the Britons football team. “The question always is what’s next. Are we making an impact through our music?”

The search for impact took Jane and Brian to Los Angeles, where they deeply analyzed themselves through continuous writing workshops. The journey led them to become F I N K E L, and they are launching their electronic soul/pop sound with the release of three singles—“w / o,” “n e e d” and “l e x i c o n”—each accompanied by an animated music video.

“The first step [in the analyzing process] was to stop thinking about the songs as ours,” says Jane, who majored in music and minored in art and French at Albion. The Mackinac Island native’s maiden name inspired the duo’s current musical identity. “We began to think subjectively and we came up with something organically ours and larger than us.”

Through the move to the West Coast and the writing process, F I N K E L have developed a maturity that is uncommon for mid-20s adults.

“Preparing for the move to L.A. called us to question what we were doing and how we were doing it,” Jane says. “We have learned community is everything. Because technology makes it easier to keep in touch, the community only grows larger. People here [in L.A.] introduced us to their friends and we have learned from these people.”

Brian adds, “There are challenges that will present themselves when you start over in any industry. Our goal is to learn from the mistakes we made as Less Is More and to know how to present ourselves as F I N K E L. We want to be specific as how our art comes out. Longevity is the name of the game.”

Among the lessons learned were presenting topics in a way that is easier to understand. For the new work, F I N K E L tackles relationships and finding self-worth.

“‘N e e d’ has changed its meaning so many times,” Jane says about the newly released track. “It is speaking to people who have supported us, asking, ‘Does anyone need us to do this?’

“We like to talk a lot—it’s an important part of our relationship,” she adds. “We have come up in a community that encourages having these conversations. We are telling stories that are near to us.”

By comparison, “l e x i c o n” is in response to the superficial, short-term associations the couple navigated in the past when “schmoozers” would reach out.

“It was the opposite of community,” Brian says.

F I N K E L will tour the Midwest in August, including shows in Albion, Lansing and Kalamazoo, and anticipate releasing their first full-length record in 2019.