Each time we set out to do a new album, we proceed with the unspoken understanding that this recording may be the first time the listener has ever heard Sparks’ music and thus must be approached with the intensity and ambition of the very first recording that we’ve ever done. Unfortunately, we aren’t in the position to sit back and relax. For us it means that more thought and time has to be spent on the recording. Hopefully that translates into fresh and inspired music.
Constant re-invention, constant re-invention, constant re-invention.
We too scratch our heads in bewilderment. For us the most interesting pop music has always been provocative in some way or another. We’re not hearing much of that provocation in the current climate. There is an incestuousness to lots of popular music that makes the scene less inspired. Yes, by all means, the public should be more demanding. As long as the public is complacent with the status quo, nothing will change.
Ever the optimists, yes we have high hopes for ‘Dick Around.’ In a perfect world, we feel it’s the type of song that should be Number 1. A song like ‘This Town’ was not an immediate and obvious choice for a single. History has often been re-written when it concerns that song’s commercial path. It took a lot of pounding the pavement to get it heard, but once it did, there proved to be a large audience wanting to embrace a song with a difference. We are naïve enough and optimistic enough to believe that that can happen yet again in 2006.
Yes, we very much wanted to create a visual equivalent to the boldness of the music on ‘Hello Young Lovers’ and feel that our projections achieve that goal. As a by-product of approaching the live show in this way, we’ve found that where the music on its own often provides a challenge to the faint of heart, in the context of a live concert, the music gains in accessibility.
Since this will be our second major tour of the UK with Hello Young Lovers, we did want to keep things as fresh as possible for the 2nd half of the show’s older songs. With that in mind, yes there will be some new old songs in the set. Not to be a party-pooper, but I’d rather not spoil the surprise factor of which songs those will be.
Though I’d like to say that there is some cosmic rationale beyond the choice of cats as the audience in the ‘Dick Around’ video, the truth is, we just like how they look! A lot of cats going wild at a stylized Sparks concert intrigued us. There will be a half-price ticket coupon for all cats coming to the upcoming Sparks’ concerts.
The reception was phenomenal at all of those concerts. In particular, it was heart-warming to be so well-received in Russia where we had only done one previous concert in Moscow earlier in the year. The St. Petersburg audience knew all of the songs just as in any other city that we would come to perform. It was a fantastic experience. Likewise, these were Sparks’ first festival performances in Madrid and Barcelona and we couldn’t have asked for more. For those who were newcomers to Sparks, we know came away with a lot of new fans.
Despite the national differences in the audiences, we find that Sparks’ concerts tend to be a similar experience wherever they are. Sparks’ world seems to transcend the real world….at least for the 2-hour shows in those cities!
Our roles don’t overlap, and perhaps that is why we have a rather amenable working relationship. Ron does more of the initial musical input, while I initially work at the engineering and singing side of things. For the last two albums, we’ve consciously not come into the studio with pre-written songs. We are happy with the outcome of that decision.
Well, I think that anyone who knows Sparks well can decipher our political leanings by the very nature of the music and lyrics. But yes, this is one of the rare instances where we’ve actually been less oblique in stating a political preference. But is it love or is it politics, well yes it’s two songs in one.
From all we read in the newspapers, press, and scientific findings, yes, girls really do dig metaphors!
Yes, we find it totally ironic that very few critics had a vision of what this album represented or would represent in the future. Later on, history was rewritten and reassessed and it was deemed to be a ground-breaking album and very influential for a lot of new bands. Funny what time can do.
It does seem to us too that most places in the world have now caught up with the whole Sparks oeuvre. There are less regional differences than in the past.
Yes, it does because we very much like the output that we did in the 80s. Those albums had a very strong impact especially in LA during that time. It’s a pity that Europe didn’t attend! Good times.
Is it a one more nail on the coffin for pop music, since MTV is hardly a music channel anymore? Yes, it’s a sad, sad day that TOTP is no more. Despite the decline in its popularity, the show represented the spirit of pop music in a more naïve time. In the 70s when we did many appearances, TOTP made no distinction between pop bands, soul bands, rock bands. Every genre of pop was treated equally and that was part of its appeal. How did the system go so wrong?
We have our thinking caps on.
Always cover your synthesizers at night or the dust can wreak havoc with the keys.
INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY EMMI JOUTSI
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