Premiering Spritzer’s New Existential Song ‘Jean & Helene’

Based off the characters Jean Blomart and Hélène from Simone de Beauvoir’s The Blood of Others Spritzer’s new track is as thought-provoking as it is catchy.

Premiering below, “Jean & Helene” uses intricate horns and keys, breathy and echoing vocals to express the emotions of two lovers in Nazi-occupied France trying to fight for what’s right, one lover reminiscing, the other dying beside him.

It’s a perfect support for the story the lyrics tell. Surprisingly, the music was written before the allusion to Beauvoir’s work was added.

“I had a very hard time writing lyrics for this song—it was so bad I almost left it as an instrumental,” frontman Matthew Meade tells BTRtoday.

Meade fronts the indie band Friend Roulette, but knew “Jean & Helene” was a bad fit for that project.

“The song didn’t really fit the angular and dissonant style of Friend Roulette,” he says—adding that Spritzer takes on a completely different life than FR.

“There’s a different set of tools at hand and different personalities involved,” he says. “On this new album I got to really dig into writing horn parts and experimenting with a number of fancy synthesizers.”

Though he writes songs as desperate and heartbreaking as “Jean & Helene,” Meade describes himself as an optimist. Even with tragic stories being dispelled in the lyrics, the beats are kept danceable and bubbly. “I’m more interested in absurdism, phenomenology, tropicália and melted cheese,” he says.

Catch Spritzer’s record release show April 25 at Elsewhere and listen to their newest track “Jean & Helene” below. Prepare to get philosophical and emotional.

BTRtoday (BTR): What made you want to start a separate project from Friend Roulette?

Matthew Meade (MM): I wrote this song called “Melt”—it’s on our first 7” vinyl, which we still have a few copies of for sale—I played it for Julia from Friend Roulette and she actually laughed out loud saying, “hell no, I’m not going to sing that.” The thing is, she was right; the song didn’t really fit the angular and dissonant style of FR.

I had a few more songs like it so I didn’t bother showing her them and decided to start a new project for fun. Sam Owens (Sam Evian) offered some free recording time at Figure 8 Studios, which had just opened. I think we were the first band to record there. Then the kind people at Paper Garden Records were nice enough to put it out on 7” vinyl.

As for calling it Spritzer, I explored a few name options from “Jazz Brunch” to “Matthew Flory” to “Matt Meade” and ended up landing on the name of my favorite, watered down cocktail.

BTR: Do you experiment with anything completely different in sound with this project?

MM: Definitely. Besides the more traditional rock ‘n’ roll vibe of the band, there’s a different set of tools at hand and different personalities involved. Ryan Weiner just happens to be the greatest rock guitarist of all time, yet also has access to the craziest abstract sounds I’ve ever heard come out of a guitar. That alone is huge and allows me to focus on strumming and singing. On this new album I got to really dig into writing horn parts and experimenting with a number of fancy synthesizers.

BTR: On your Facebook you describe yourself as “pop – sunshine nihilism,” which I love the sound of—could you expand on that thought, what is “sunshine nihilism?”

MM: I actually need to update that. That’s a term my friend Josh coined when we released our first 7” vinyl called “Don’t Die, Kill Me,” which consisted of a surf rock song “Mel” and a rhumba song “Don’t Die.” I’m not a nihilist and actually just the other day had a conversation about nihilism only existing through privilege of the bourgeoisie. If anything, I’m more interested in absurdism, phenomenology, tropicália and melted cheese.

BTR: What first got you into writing music?

MM:Curiosity. Being sad—it’s a good way to deal with sadness.

BTR: Is there a certain something you want your listeners to get from your music?

MM: No not really… Mainly I just want people to listen to it. I guess I would like people to listen to it at their cocktail parties.

BTR: Tell me about this song “Jean & Helene”—is there a real life story/inspiration that goes along with it? Are they real people?

MM: I had a very hard time writing lyrics for this song. It was so bad I almost left it as an instrumental. The characters in the song came from the book The Blood of Others by Simone De Beauvoir.

BTR: Tell me a little bout this debut album coming out April 27, Love. Lies. Decay.

MM: It seems like a natural progression of life and relationships, no? The album starts happy with a few love songs, and then the middle of the album goes into more songs about deception and craving solitude. The end is… Well, the last song is called “Mortician (Over)” and it’s about a mortician questioning a dead body.

BTR: What’s was the most exciting part in the process of creating this album for you?

MM:What was exciting about this album was that we went in with just skeletons of songs. I was taking breaks constantly in the studio to go out and listen to almost two years of voice memos containing little musical ideas, melodies, chord progressions, etc. Then it took me damn near a year and a half to finish writing the lyrics and recording vocals, which I do at home.

BTR: What should we keep our eyes out for in the future of Spritzer?

MM:Well, we already recorded another full-length album that’s just been mixed. I think it’s called Not Allowed, comparing last summer to the plague. Also, while I was bored a few months ago, I started recording a six-track Jim Croce cover album and just last week I started a lo-fi “tropical” Madonna cover album that I’m making entirely on an iPad. We’re going to be playing more regularly this summer and with tropical versions of Madonna songs in our back pocket, the shows are sure to be fun.

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