After yet another unfortunate bout of illness in which he battled liver disease, Jason Pierce got himself back on track with a new album Sweet Heart Sweet Light in a classic Spiritualized vein released earlier this year. Having already technically died twice and now in a good place, the album revels in a serene and soulful gospel rock ‘n’ roll songs. Ahead of the band’s Body & Soul appearance next weekend (win tickets), here’s an interview I did with Pierce earlier in the year about his new album…

When did you start writing Sweet Heart Sweet Light ?

Jason Pierce: Two years ago, in London. It was a collection of ideas that I wanted to write in the studio, I wanted to make a rich man’s record. But I didn’t have the money so I figured that I would do it without the big cost of a studio. That would allow me the time. In a studio you have to use every hour, you have to come up with ideas every time you come in, . If you’ve got a studio booked for two weeks, you’re asking yourself to come up with all your ideas during that tim. Ideas don’t work like that. Only in music are you asked to do that. If you’re writing a novel, you write your words down and when you’re finished, that’s it.

When you approach a new album, is there something specific you have in mind for the writing ?

I wanted to make a record that was essentially a pop album, that had a clarity in it, that it wasn’t hiding behind some stylistic fuzz, very clear. I had a handful records like that with me Revolver by the Beatles, Clear Spot by Captain Beefheart, Kill City by Iggy Pop, 69 by CAN, Link Wray albums from the ’70s. These are pop records. I always try to drag back my songs into a more leftfield world and this time I wanted to make it sound like I wasn’t embarassed by them. I realised there’s great pop music that fits into rock’n’roll like ‘Be My Baby’ and ‘Walk On The Wild Side’. I wanted to do an album like these rich bands like The Beatles and Brian Wilson to allow myself time to have that method of working.