"Everyone in the universe is confused why we are connected except for us." - Spiritual Friendship
The annals of music history are filled with plenty of unusual pairings, but there's no denying that Spiritual Friendship, the joint project of Gareth Jones and Nick Hook, is the work of a particularly odd couple. The roots of their relationship trace all the way back to 2005, when Jones—a celebrated British producer and engineer who's spent more than 35 years working with acts like Depeche Mode, Einstürzende Neubauten, Wire, Mogwai, Erasure, Grizzly Bear, Liars, Clinic, and others too numerous to list—was hired to mix an album by Men Women & Children, a group that Hook was playing keyboards in at the time. Connecting over a shared love of synths and the simple fact that they were the only two non-musicians in the room, Jones and Hook struck up a friendship, one that ultimately lasted well beyond the latter's band, which dissolved just a few years later.
Hook, a St. Louis native brought up on a musical diet that was equal parts hip-hop, punk rock and electronic music, spent the next several years carving out his own lane in New York, becoming a loveable jack-of-all trades who was just as comfortable dropping bombs in the DJ booth as he was recording Young Thug in the studio or performing live on stage with El-P. As his various endeavors frequently took him around the globe, he'd always make time to link up with Jones in London, usually over dosas near Hampstead Heath.
Nearly a decade after their first meeting, the two finally decided to get in the studio together, scheduling three days in Jones' East London lair, theartlab, in late 2014. Guided by a simple premise—no judgement—and a whole lot of psychedelic adventuring, the pair went to work, letting their unconscious lead the way as they pieced together a complex suite of field recordings and modular synth transmissions. Invigorated by the process and committed to only working on the music when both men could be in the room, additional recording sessions were scheduled, both in London and in Hook's Brooklyn studio, thespacepit.
Completed in 20 days over the course of more than a year, the duo's debut album is a constantly evolving listen best understood as a walk through an urban space. At its core are Jones and Hook and their wholly unique bond, a spiritual friendship—hence the name—based on honesty, joy, love, art, healthy food, long walks, mutual empowerment, mutual respect, and the wisdom that comes from a combined 100 years of life experience.