On his third album, John Alan Sperry or Sperry Alan focused more on the concept of writing songs that anything else. The result is the very uplifting album Before Our Time, which features nine-tracks that tell a very personal story. Three albums in and Sperry Alan seems to have come into his own as a songwriter and musician. We recently talked with him about his latest release:
Me: What kind of acts influenced your sound and made you want to begin making music?
John Alan Sperry: When I began playing guitar and at the point where I was beginning to compose songs, I was listening to Van Halen, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and I Mother Earth. I have had lots of influences since but those bands were at the core for me when I was really getting started.
Me: What was the mindset for creating an Autobiographical concept album in your latest release, Before Our Time?
JAS: I had a complete story of personal transition that I wanted to convey to listeners who are willing to look deeper into an artist’s music. I think that naturally leads itself to a concept album. Every song on the album was linked to one story and I could visualize how each song could sonically blend into each other so I just went for it. I’ve always loved the idea of concept albums and their credibility when done well, I thought this was a great time to try and do one myself.
Me: Are there any other concept albums that are favorites of yours that might have influenced this record?
JAS: Definitely “Dark Side of the Moon” with its abrupt changes. “Lights of Endangered Species” by Matthew Good. Genesis’ “Nursery Cryme.”
Me: With this being your third album, what did the previous two albums accomplish to prepare you to write and record this release?
JAS: The first album showed me I could write commercial songs, the second album was an outlet for unusual songs and probably started me thinking about doing a concept album initially. There were songs on the second album that seamlessly ran into each other much like I did on Before Our Time, it was a practice run kind of. So I would say Before Our Time is a happy blend of the first two, an album that has commercial appeal but is very interesting in its transitions.
Me: Your lyrics are very personal and uplifting, is that something that is important for you to get across in your songwriting?
JAS: I think personal stories that everyone can relate to are the ones I can create best. So, whether they are happy or sad stories as long as they are brave enough to be the truth, that’s the most important thing to me. Those are the types of songs I can relate to the most from other artists. It’s natural I write that way.
Me: What’s next for Sperry Alan now that Before Our Time has been released?
JAS: I’m currently recording an album I plan to release this summer, 2016. It’s my most ambitious work yet. It’s coming together fast and I’m very excited to play it for people. Once that’s dropped I hope to get a band rehearsed and play the whole Sperry Alan catalogue of songs live regularly and tour with them the best I can.