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bello spark Brings Light to Their Music

This duo creates music despite the distance.

bellospark.com

bellospark.com

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            A raspy voice casts a spell over plenty of folks, and I am no exception. So when I heard bello spark (styled in all lower case, how hip), it was no wonder that I was captivated. The raspy voice, the steady drums, the thoughtful guitar – it fit perfectly.

            This duo is comprised of vocalists and guitarists Rob Jordan and Tory Peterson, who describe their genre as “whatever genre Coldplay and Snow Patrol are in.” Jordan and Peterson met about seven years ago, but they were both working on separate projects at the time, which later became “buddy bands.” Even when they were in different groups, they “both had a lot of respect for each other’s talent.” Jordan said, “We also have the same level of drive to make music a priority in our lives. That’s key for a band trying to take things to another level.” Peterson added, “I think I was always intrigued by the idea of our playing styles being combined. Rob is a really tight, precise player, and I’m more loose and ‘feely.’ It makes an interesting dichotomy when they are put together.”

            Eventually, Jordan and Peterson formed bello spark, “bello meaning beautiful or handsome, the spark is the flash of memory.” Peterson elaborated and said that the name “refers to the flash or memory you might get when you smell or witness something familiar; the reaction may be at a subconscious level, but sometimes the feeling can be like time travel.”

            Here’s the kicker, though: Jordan lives in Chicago and Peterson lives in Grand Rapids. Jordan admits that he first turned Peterson down to start a band because he thought the expanse between two states would be too much. They were able to overcome this challenge through file sharing. Jordan said, “We can share song ideas over the Internet and practice on our own to be prepared for when we are together.”

            Despite the distance, songwriting, ultimately, is a collaborative effort. “Almost everything is bounced off each other and changed in one way or another,” Peterson said. “I think it’s really fun to feed a song idea to Rob and see what he spits back at me. Especially because our vocal ranges are so different.”

            Lyrically, bello spark derives inspiration for their lyrics from their own experiences. “I don’t really like telling an exact story. Rob’s lyrics aren’t really that way either. Kind ot un-folk of us,” Peterson said. “I try to create a tinge of emotion or imagery with my words rather than naming a character and defining actions. This gives the listener more room to interpret.”

            Both Jordan and Peterson have similar musical influences, mostly 90’s rock. They are inspired by bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Dave Matthews, but they also enjoy folk and ambient rock.

            bello spark released their self-titled debut album in February, and the band is pleased with the finished product. Jordan said, “It’s an amazing feeling to put out a full-length album. We, or rather Tory, recorded (minus the drums) and mixed everything on his own. Not too shabby for a first record, too.” An important goal with this record is to also “get [them] started and on the map…it’s a slow moving process but well worth it.”

            The single off the album, “Parade,” is a catchy ballad with a heavy meaning. “I initially wrote this tune while watching my good friend just get the life sucked out of him by a girl. I was going to name it ‘Women are Evil,’ but I thought that might be taken the wrong way,” Jordan said. “So many of us have been lost in a relationship and have become fearful of leaving because we don’t want to be alone. In the end, we are always thankful for the change.”

            Currently, bello spark is unsigned, which carries some pros and cons. While being a part of a label brings “exposure, clout, proper distribution and representation, and opportunities to play with people [they] admire,” it could bring the “possible loss of creative control and possibly being put on the back burner while hands are being legally tied.”

            If we lived in an alternate universe where musicians never died and were always playing music, Jordan would “faint like a little girl,” but he would love to sing and play any song with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco because “the guy completely changed [Jordan’s] life within music in so many ways.”

            Download bello spark’s debut album on iTunes or at http://bellospark.bandcamp.com/.

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