Originally from Sweden, Tommy Sparks promises organic and up beat music for us all. His music is a fusion of all the past decades with elements of the 70’s and 80’s compressing to make his sound exceedingly current. Presently signed to Island Records he’s definitely one to keep your eyes on.
Not only is he a class musician, but after doing this interview I found out he’s so funny and an ace guy! I found myself laughing at literally everything he said like an uncontrollable little school girl. Thanks Tommy for an entertaining interview! =]
How did you get into Music?
Well I tried to get a normal job but I couldn’t get one so I thought I’m just gonna be like a musician cus any loser in the world could be a musician. I work hard not to work you know.
Your sound is quite different from other artists, how would you describe it?
I think it’s a pop sound you know, but it’s influenced quite a lot from like 70’s bands and stuff like that.
Where do your inspirations come from?
Well you know, this is a hard question to answer, I mean I’m a big hip hop fan but obviously you know my record isn’t hip hop at all but I like all kinds of music like Talking Heads and The Arrhythmics, I like everything you know from house music to heavy metal.
What artists would you like to collaborate with?
Erm… probably try collaborating with like the biggest artist in the world so that might be Michael Jackson? But apparently his nose is gonna fall off so I don’t know if he’ll be able to you know, it’d be a pretty bizarre recording session with a guy with no nose.
I think he’d possibly die?
Yeah! Ahh!! Maybe not Michael Jackson. Who else is really big, Whitney Houston, maybe?
Yeah… although she’s got the drugs issue… so maybe someone without problems?
Ahh someone without problems, who’s that then? Someone who’s happy and nice, The Jonas Brothers?
So you were in a band called Vatican DC, how does your solo image and sound differ from when you were with them?
Well Vatican DC was more like the Punk kind of band you know. I’m more of a pop act, The Vatican DC was a lot more angry and I was just a bit bored of playing angry music so I thought I’m just gonna play like happy music and here I am.
So… maybe a bit more commercial?
Yeah, yeah… I don’t even know what commercial is so?
I guess it’s just whatever the majority enjoy listening too?
Yeah, like ice-cream, everyone loves ice-cream.
I’m sure there’s someone out there that doesn’t? Anyone that doesn’t like ice-cream let me know!! =]
What do you like and dislike about being a solo artist compared to being in a band?
I like it, like anything. It’s good fun to be a solo artist and I’ve got a great band working with me, so it feels like I am in a band. They’re all like awesome great people, we have fun on tour.
What’s been the highest and lowest moment of your career?
The highest one I think is now, I like being where I am and doing what I do. The lowest one that’s probably when The Vatican DC broke up, being in a band is like being in a relationship so it’s always quite heartbreaking. I was crying every night.
Bless you!! But look at where you are now! It was worth it!
Yeah, I’m in Reading now in a back yard, that’s where I am.
HAHAHA!! Well I’m at home doing nothing, so you beat me!
Yeah, I beat ya!
What is the concept behind your song ‘She’s Got Me Dancing’?
That’s just a song for the lady to get out of their seat and you know not be so angry with me all the time hahaha, I dunno? What is the concept? I just wanted to make a song that was direct and uplifting and fun you know. I’m not really a deep person; I’m a very shallow guy so I just want everyone around me to be as equally shallow and happy.
Haha! So who’s the girl that got you dancing?
Ahhh oh nah, that’s too ah I can’t even bring it up, it’s heartbreaking. I don’t wanna talk about that anymore, I just got over it, now you’ve just brought it back up.
SORRY =[ I’ll buy you a pony and make it up to you?
Yeah, preferably pink.
What are your best dance moves?
The hand to the side kind of thing in the video, that’s mine. I taught everyone… it took like ages. No one could do it and I was like that’s the easiest dance move in the world. I mean you can see how they dance in the video. I also like the guitar leg, play a bit of guitar on the leg, that’s a hot move.
The video for the song is quite comedic and old school, why did you choose to go for that kind of image?
Well… cus I look at videos, and all artists urgh they try and look good and be interesting, deep and cool. I just thought you know what, I don’t wanna try and look cool, I just want to make something that’s fun and different you know. I went to this guy called Eric Wareheim, he’s an American comedian and he’s an amazing guy, really talented.
I asked him, ”Would you make a video?”
And he was like, ”Yehp!”
And I was like, ”For realllll?… Aite cool, what is this video gonna be?”
He was like, ”It’s gonna be like a freak party in outer space.”
And I was like, ”That’s DOPE! Let’s do it.”
That was it you know, I’m really proud of it!
The video was shot in LA, what was that experience like for you?
I’ve been to LA before; it wasn’t like a holiday, unfortunately. We literally flew out, shot the video and flew straight back. I got to meet all the people in the video, which was amazing. I love the muscle woman, there’s a video on YouTube where she squashes my head between her thighs I think yeah, that was kind of arousing erm and really scary at the same time.
The song was used on Britain’s Got Talent, if you weren’t signed, is that a show that you could see yourself entering?
Well….erm no actually. I don’t think so, I actually never ever watched it, cus I don’t really ever watch TV. But someone text me saying, ”Your songs on Britain’s Got Talent!” and I was like, ”Britain’s got what?” I didn’t even really know what it was until they told me so that’s cool you know, people can use my song for whatever… weddings, bar mitzvah’s and funerals.
Hahaha, Funerals? =S
Yeah, maybe not appropriate.
I heard somewhere that someone played ‘The Crazy Frog’ at a funeral… so at least your song would be more appropriate then that, it’d have words in and be done by a human.
Ahhhhhh my godddd, crazy frog, maybe ahhhhh god, that is terrible!! Actually, if someone said, ”What’s the worst song you could play at a funeral?” That is yeah… that is pretty good.
You play all the instruments yourself, are you self taught or did you take lessons growing up?
I’m self taught, I’ve never had lessons. I kind of wish I did cus then maybe I would know more like the science of music but I don’t really know anything about you know, chords and I can’t read music. Sometimes, I feel like that’s something I’m lacking but at the same time you know, fuck it. On the record, I played most of it besides the drums; I have a really amazing drummer called Tal Amiran, so that’s cool.
You worked with Mike Crossey, who’s produced for Arctic Monkeys and The Kooks… that must’ve been an honour?
Erm well… I think the honour was for him to work with me, really, to be honest. No but, he’s a really nice guy. He’s from up North you know, so it’s none of the London bullshit with him, he’s really down to earth and just sound. In London you get a lot of people that think they’re like the don of the dons, it’s a great place but has its ups and downs. The people there walk in the room like they’re the coolest shit ever you know, I didn’t get any of that from him. I’d make another record with him just to hang out with him; he’s also really good at what he does.
What other passions do you have besides music?
Erm… I like ponies? And small animals?
So do I, I worked at an equestrian centre for my work experience. They had cute little ponies =]
I don’t really like little ponies! Haha, actually I hate horses. My passion and my everything is music. I like tattoos as well and I’m a really big fan of Japan. I strongly recommend it. If you want to save up and go anywhere, you should go to Tokyo, it’s totally amazing.
You travelled a lot of places before actually coming to London, what made you settle down in England?
Erm… I was kind of the outsider in school and my sister lived in England and I thought I’m gonna go over there and then it was great, you know I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the people, loved the language and loved mushy peas, fish and chips, chips curry sauce! Cheesy chips!
Haha so the food made you stay?
Yeah the culinary experience, I was just like, ”Ahh I gotta stay here.” I’ve been here for almost 14 years now, it’s coming up too even longer than I was in Sweden, and it’s all good.
You’re officially a Londoner.
I’M A LONDONER!!
Your managers also your best friend, what’s that like? Do you guys ever get side-tracked?
No, we don’t really. His names Chris Gentry, he used to be in a band called ‘Menswear’ he used to be like the cutest boy in there. So, it’s really good to have a cute manager you know, cus I don’t like hanging out with people that are not cute, so that’s really good for me. No, it’s good to work with friends I believe in that, you have better communication and you can have arguments without falling out. We do get side-tracked occasionally; we’ll be like, ”Let’s do a meeting” and end up four days later in different country saying, ”What happened?”
Do you have any phobias?
Erm… I do actually, I don’t like birds. Not the female human being but I don’t like the animal. They kind of freak me out a little bit.
They fly at your face.
Yeah…… the pigeons they’re like in my face, like flapping their wings and I’m like get out my face.
You’re playing at Glastonbury this year and have already supported Ladyhawke and The Prodigy, presuming they’re quite big crowds to play too. Do you ever get nervous, if so how do you deal with it?
Erm… with half a bottle of vodka normally to just calm me down. That normally works, no well I get a little bit nervous sometimes but our show and our band you know we just kind of want to create almost like a club atmosphere for everyone to just get lost in the music. I’m kind of bored watching bands just standing on stage, just expecting for people to think they’re amazing, that to me is just boring. That’s like an open rehearsal to me.
When’s the album out? What can we expect from it?
Urm… You can expect one of the best records ever made and it’s probably gonna change your life for the better. I actually don’t really know when it’s out; it should be out in a couple months.
For those of you who haven’t seen the video for Tommy Sparks’ ‘She’s Got Me Dancing,’ check it out >
I’m ADDICTED to it, hope you all love it too!
For more info on Tommy check out: http://www.myspace.com/tommysparksmusic
Neelam Atique – May ’09