In May, I took the bus from Philadelphia to DC so I could check out my friend Miranda Mulholland perform at the Rock and Roll Hotel with her band, The Great Lake Swimmers. After a few beers and some pie over at Dangerously Delicious Pies, my pal encouraged my friends and I to get to the show early and check out the band’s opening act, Cold Specks.
Cold Specks is the stage name of Canadian singer-songwriter Al Spx. As soon as she opened her mouth, I knew I had to feature her and introduce this girl to the Philadelphia area. If you didn’t get a chance to see her at Johnny Brenda’s with GLS in May, you’ll have to buy her album. She’s about to embark on a Canadian and European tour, not returning until October.
Keep your eyes on Cold Specks. I promise you will fall for her the second she opens her mouth. She’s living in London now and her sound is a mixture of the music she grew up with along with American deep south gospel, and a dark flare. If you’re currently in Canada, she’ll be at two festivals this weekend- the Calgary Folk Fest in Calgary and The Hillside Festival in Guelph with The Great Lake Swimmers.
BH: You’ve referred to your music as “doom soul.” Why that wording? Are you trying to create a new genre of music, a way to refer to not only your music but hopefully others who are inspired by you?
CS: It was a silly joke. It is obviously ridiculous. I do understand why it’s stuck. The music has dark and soulful elements. I guess that’s why people have held on to it.
BH: What genres and musicians inspired you? You’re based in London now…are there any under the radar musicians/bands there who you love to listen to or draw inspiration from?
CS: Grass House and Hatcham Social!
BH: I love your stage name, but why did you feel the need for a pseudonym when everyone knows your real name?
CS: I’m just a very private person. I wanted to separate myself from the music I was creating. I’m not sure why.
BH: You’re Canadian and based in London now. But, southern gospel music is an inspiration to you. Did you grow up listening to it or were you able to experience the music live? Have you been able to go down south and check it out?
CS: I just toured all of America with Great Lake Swimmers. I got to see loads of places. In New Orleans, I went to Preservation Hall and heard some of the best music I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing live. I’ve been listening to a lot of Merle Haggard recently. I’m not sure why I’m so attracted to music from that region.
BH: Why did you choose I Predict A Graceful Expulsion as your album title? What does it mean to you?
CS: It’s a lyric in a song called ‘Elephant Head’. It’s always stood out to me. ‘Graceful’ and ‘expulsion’ are two very contrasting things. I liked the idea of pairing them together and creating a new meaning.
BH: How’s living in London like for someone who isn’t from there originally? Was it easy to adapt to their culture? What are your favorite things about London that you can’t get/do in North America?
CS: I can’t tell. I’ve been touring a great deal recently. I’m never in London anymore. My favourite part about London is the fact that there are cities within a city.