When Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray began the process of writing their third Heavy Trash album, Midnight Soul Serenade, they had no intention of detailing the tragedies and triumphs of love. But after recording and finishing 30 songs within and beyond their Blues/Rockabilly style and winnowing the tracks down to the set they wanted to comprise the record, they recognized an emerging theme.
“The songs I was wanting for the album, the ones that kind of fit together and gelled, were different sounding, some of them were slower, they were different styles and they all thematically seemed to fall together in this group about love,” Spencer says. “But it’s not just love. It’s devotion, adoration, sexual obsession, infatuation — there are many different facets of love and attraction and relationships. It’s not all good, it’s not all bad. I don’t think this record is about, ‘Love is a bummer.’ Not at all.”
Midnight Soul Serenade definitely shows different facets of Heavy Trash, which started as a side project for Spencer and Verta-Ray in 2005, but quickly morphed into a full-fledged band. Heavy Trash has evolved over the past four years, from two-man stripped down Rockabilly mayhem to a more measured and mature incorporation of a variety of other styles. The twosome brought Simon Chardiet on double bass and Sam Baker, previously of Lambchop, on drums to round out the live show.
“Around the time of the second record, we found out we could make it work as a live entity,” Spencer says. “It was a challenge, which Matt and I took upon ourselves, to pick the guys and make it work. We threw out a lot of old songs and focused on the new album to make a new show. That’s ongoing and we’re still figuring it out, but it’s very enjoyable and very exciting.”
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