My Interview with Make Sparks

As
I am using this feature to introduce Make Sparks to my
readers, can you give me a potted history of the band and your
formation?


Its
been a long road for the three of us. We’ve been playing together for
years since high school to be more specific. Many people have come and
gone and the bands gone through many different incarnations, but myself
(Adam), Craig (my brother) and Bobby (. . .from another mother) have
been a constant. Make Sparks came about around 4 years ago. We wrote an
album worth of songs but decided to split those tracks into two eps.
That way we could hit the road for longer and make more of an impact. I
think it was a good choice because the second time out we immediately
saw an increase in the audience sizes.  

You
have just completed a run of dates with Sucioperro. Did you notice a
pleasing increase of crowd size thanks to the support you have been
getting from radio stations and channels lately? 


We
love going out to gig with Sucio, they’re such an awesome band.  We
have noticed the more we play with them the more punters we see singing
back our tunes.  Its definitely been to our advantage to get on the bill
with them. Whether or not this is due to radio play or the previous
batch of gigs we’ve done with them its hard to say, but I wouldn’t rule
it out. I have to think all this exposure we’ve been getting recently
can only be a good thing for us though.

I
sadly couldn’t make the show. So for me and others yet to witness Make
Sparks live, can you describe what you give off on stage?

Just raw sexual magnetism, when we look out at
the crowd we see an ocean of ravenous horny people soaking the floor
beneath their feet.  Well that’s how I see it anyway.

We’ve always prided ourselves on our live performances, when we’re
having one of those shows when it feels like you have the audience in
the palm of your hand there is no better feeling.

I think people really appreciate our harmonies and the amount of
noise the three of us can create.  Its always energetic and tight, our
patter is a bit pish, but we do try.  Although sometimes if I‘m making a
wise crack down the mic I do worry about how many people I may have
offended.  I’m not great at censoring myself sometimes.

Who
were the bands you would watch live, be it in person or on Live DVD’s
etc, that blew your mind? Made you want to be on stage or perhaps even
informed your 
performance?


I
think the first time we saw Biffy Clyro live it made us realise that
you can be a three piece and still make an impact and as much noise as
other bigger bands with more members.

Even when you think of
the biggest bands in the world U2, Chilli Peppers, Muse, the Killers,
they all only have bass one guitar and drums, albeit they have an extra
singer (excluding muse) but the main crux of the music is coming from
three instruments.

A DVD that I really
love is ‘Metallica S&M’ , not sure how much thats influenced the band,
(i’ll be honest i’m not sure the other two have even seen it) but the
first time I saw that I was blown away. One day I’d love to play our
music along with an orchestra, that would be amazing.


The
more tours you do, do you adapt certain things about your live show?
When watching the acts you support do you take on any things from what
they do it, be it performance or logistical/technical? 

Yeah
I think we always take influence from other bands we see live that we
like.  You cant help but be impressed by a great live band.  We just try
and keep the set slick and competent. If we only have a half hour slot
then we’re gonna go balls to the wall and try to cram in as many tunes
as we can.  I think we’re always getting better and we try to mix up the
set as much as we can to suit the mood of the crowd.

You having to display serious acting chops in your brutal new video for Floored. Does it come naturally to you? 

Not exactly. Originally we found playing up to the camera a little
uncomfortable. When you watch a music video you don’t wanna see your
favourite bands looking unconfident and awkward so we just decided to
throw ourselves into it best we could. We’re right into our movies so
we thought lets just make short films and try an add as much humour to
them as possible.

I would say the Foo
Fighters videos had a big impact on us, those guys are able to laugh at
themselves and not take the whole process of making music videos too
seriously.  Sometimes I think bands try to act too cool for school and I
think people can see right through that. We just like to have fun with
the whole process and if that means digging our own graves and running
through the forest then so be it.

How much input did you have in the concept, because it doesn’t appear to be the most pleasant of experiences!?


Stuart
Bredner, the Director, is really flexible when it comes to making videos. He’s a very creative chap, although he’s happy for the extra input. If
one of us wants to try something and there’s time he’ll film it.
Originally we wanted a prison break style video but due to the
logistics and cost we realised that was probably out of our reach for
now. So we kept a lot of the same ideas but decided to go a little more
lower budget and make an espionage style movie. All the torture
sequences we’re done under supervision from a 
professional. . . na not really.

We
just thought what would suck if it had to happen to you and low and
behold Bobby got water boarded Craig got punched in the face and I had
the claw side of a hammer against my front tooth. I’ll be honest
that part made me nervous because if Dave (the bearded sicko) had
slipped or twisted the hammer I would have lost my tooth. But he could
sense my nerves and was extra careful.

I
love the artwork for Floored and Someone Talked. Who takes the reigns
when it comes to visuals and how important is style, artwork, vidoes,
promo’s to what you do?


When
it comes to our artwork we usually seek out a photographer or an
artist, someone who has a better grasp of that kind of thing. We’ve
never been the best at doing our own artwork and it causes too much
debate within the band, so if we can find someone who’s work we like we
tend to just let them do their own thing.

As
I said you’ve had some great airplay and coverage from the likes of
Kerrang, Q, Scuzz. What scene do you see the band fitting in to best, or
are you trying to avoid being pigeon holed that way?


We’re
not too sure ourselves where we fit in. I think it’s best to let whoever
is enjoying the music and the fans that come to the shows and buy the
music and merch decide. We definitely play catchy choruses and hook
laden tunes but at the same time there’s big riffs and real aggression
behind the whole sound also. It’s always really difficult to say, I think we’re definitely main stream music but at the same time, with all
this good exposure we’ve had a few knock backs because they’ve deemed
the music either too heavy or too pop light, which unfortunately only
confuses the issue more. Maybe if we were pigeon holed it would be
easier to make sure we’re targeting the right audience. Oh well, we’ll
just have to start our own scene.
 

Your
debut was recorded at Lofi studios in Glasgow. Bruce
Rintoul has said that he likes to put a stamp on a record and take the
best bits of a song and make them better. Can you clearly hear where his
influence changed your songs or sound?

When we’re in the studio with Bruce we tend to go in with a clear
idea of what we want. We like to be rehearsed and demoed before we go
in. When time and money are short we try and get everything down as
quick and as efficiently as possible. Bruce’s input is great though and
he always like to sprinkle a little bit of his magic over the session.

 

Do
you think putting together an album away from Scotland would have a big
impact on the overall sound? Is this something you want to try?

Hopefully. We get compared to a lot of Scottish bands that are current and o
f
the minute, and sometimes we feel it’s a little lazy to suggest all
scottish bands sound the same.  Don’t get me wrong we don’t see it as an
insult, Scotland produces some amazing music, but we don’t necessarily
feel that it best describes our sound.

We’ve
been looking to go abroad to record our first album at the start of
next year.  We have something lined up that if it comes off will be very
exciting for the three of us, but I don’t wanna give too much away at
the moment. But there are definite plans to get this album recorded
outside of Scotland.


In
an interview with Bruce that I watched he pointed out the importance of
networking in the music industry. It seem particularly important to
be ‘present’ to secure tour support slots and festival spots. How do you
cope with this side of things?

Networking is definitely an important part of the process
especially when you’re a new young band trying to find your way.  We did
a lot of that at the start, going on tours with other young like minded
bands, everybody mucking in and helping each other out.  If you go
about it the right way eventually it does lead to bigger shows and
festivals.  What we did a few years back was put on our own festival, set
up on a beautiful beach near Montrose called Lunan Bay.  We called it
‘Electric Bay’ (or ebay for short).  That was a great way to network and
meet new bands just by booking them to be part of our festival. Five hundred 
folk showed up and the weekend was amazing.  After that we found getting
gigs was easy.

The
Internet is an increasingly vital tool to the success of a band. How
much do you get stuck into social media, podcasts, YouTube etc? Have you
have had to deal with the negativity that comes with it yet?

We try our best but I think this would be our weakest point.
 We’ve never been the best at the whole social network side of things,
but we do try our hardest. It’s only been good for us and truth be told its how most of our fans find out about new release shows etc.

I
see via your Facebook that you have had some van issues. Tour life is
far from glamorous so how do you cope as a unit when on the road? What are
your personal survival tips?

It
can be tough sometimes, especially when shit like when your van decides
to break, but we’ve been together so long now that we just make sure not
to deliberately piss each other off.  You can tell when someones having
a crappy day or seems irritable, so you just give that person space.
 Truth be told though, we never seem to argue or fall out.  The balance
is pretty good and our tolerance levels for one another are extremely
high.  A good tip would be to share the driving and van responsibilities.
It’s not one person’s job to be the driver, we all like a drink so we try
and make sure we all take a turn.


I
read in another interview that long term you want to be able to make
this your job. What other jobs have you got alongside the band? How
are managing to juggle things?

Well this would be another reason we’re so close and had to
learn to get along. We all work together in a wedding band. We play most
weekends, so juggling the two can be tricky. but it’s so much easier to
money manage and get time to practice, write etc.  When we had nine to
five jobs we just couldn’t manage, we realised it was getting in the way
so we decided to learn a bunch of covers and establish ourselves as a
function band.  It’s definitely not the way we imagined ourselves playing
music, but it’s helping us fund what we do and keeping the end goal
in sight.


As a band is it integral to have that full belief and confidence that you are going to succeed? 

We have a lot of belief in our songs, and it may sound arrogant
but when we go in the studio and get the end result back, nine times
outta ten we’re creaming ourselves with excitement. “oh my god, everyone
has to hear this its so good” Bobby might say.”I know we’re so good,”
Craig might reply, then I’ll just add “I concur!”

We love the music we make and I think that’s the first
challenge for a band.  If you don’t love your own tunes how can you
expect anyone else to.  We’ve had great reactions to our music so far,
and even tho we’re not selling out arenas we fully believe that if we can get
100 folk to love our tunes then why not 100,000.

If we didn’t think we were good enough I think we would
have packed it in a long time ago. We’re always looking forward and
trying to better ourselves.


You have done a split single before. Are there any other interesting/innovative/unusual plans up your sleeves? 

At the minute we’re fully focused on getting our first LP
recorded so as of right now its just a case of writing rehearsing and
practicing.  When the albums done I’m sure we’ll come up with a plan to
get it out there best we can.  We don’t wanna give everything away right
now though, we still wanna surprise people when the time comes.

Tweet you’d most like to send out if knew the outcome would be what you’d wanted it to be..?

Knee deep in poon surrounded by gold records, Yaldi!

Recently played on your ipod?

Since being on the road with Sucio all I seem to listen to right now is their new album ‘Fused’ – it’s bloody good.


Stage you’d most like to play?

One day to be on the main stage at T in the park. Surely that would feel fantastic.


Guilty pleasure (apart from Bruno Mars?)

First
off Bruno Mars tricked us into believing that we were listening to an
old Police song, that manipulative twit.  Apart from that everything we
listen to is uber cool and trendy and down with all the kids.  So no, no
guilty pleasures wink wink nudge nudge 

 
Dream collaboration?

I hear Chad Kroeger and Avril Lavigne are in the studio together at the minute. How do we get involved with that?


What is on your xmas list?

Hit Man Absolution for PS3, Next!


Hopes and plans for 2013?


New album and a European tour, fingers crossed eh?

www.makesparks.co.uk

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