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Tuesday, 14 February 2012

SnapCacklePop Interview - Sam Sparro

On the verge of his Australian Tour, we caught up with Mr Sam Sparro to talk to him about his new single The Shallow End, his sophomore album Return To Paradise, his new look, Mardi Gras and who he would turn straight for..!

Check out the interview below.

Hi Sam, Welcome to SnapCacklePop

What have you been up to since we last heard from you?
I’ve done a bit of traveling, a lot of writing and recording, lots of living, got myself a house and a couple of dogs and started exercising rigorously.

Can you tell us about your new album Return To Paradise and what should we expect?
Buddhist’s say expectation is the root of all human suffering so to avoid suffering you should expect very little. But I can tell you that Return to Paradise is the result of an existential crisis (yes another one) and a lots of digging through the crates of old soul, funk and disco records of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Also It’s about healing a broken heart and searching for happiness. I’m so proud of this record. I have taken a fair amount of time to do it but - hey - I’m an artist and I have to really live my work - otherwise I have nothing real to say.

Your new track The Shallow End reminds us a bit of Bassment Jaxx, who you worked with back in 2009 on their track Feelings Gone, care to explain the track?
The Shallow End was the first track I recorded for this album. I had come back to LA after a lot of travelling and promoting the first record and it’s a love song for LA. People have strange perceptions about what Los Angeles is really like - but it’s such an amazing and amusing place. Jesse Rogg and Greg Kurstin and I got in the studio and it erupted out of our mutual love of funk, disco and California.

Are the boys (Bassment Jaxx) good mates of yours and have they influenced this new record?
I haven’t seen them for quite a while - since we shot the video for Feelings Gone. I would say artists that influenced some of their work also influenced mine.

The album is very 80’s influenced, who else have you worked on this record with to create that sound?
Jesse Rogg aka Golden Touch and I did most of it at his studio here in LA. We both love collecting vintage equipment and synths which we used a lot of on the record. I worked with Isabella Summers of Florence and the Machine on the heart break anthem Shades Of Grey. Jono Sloan from Australia who’s producing Empire of the Sun worked with us on some stuff. Tim Anderson (Ima Robot), Lester Mendez (Oh Land, Nelly Furtado) worked on a bit. Lots of brilliant musicians from LA, New York and London. But the sound of the record really comes from Jesse and I being really nerdy about classic music.

You have moved back to LA, do you miss London?
I miss my friends there a lot. I miss the excitement and the chaos. I don’t miss the weather, the cab fares or the whinging.

Do you believe there is a north / south divide in London?
It feels like more of an East/West divide. Mind you I have lived south (Brixton) and north (Islington) but when you hang out on the East side a lot you can’t be bothered to head West unless you have a really good reason. The same is true in LA.

So lets settle it once and for all, in your opinion, do you think London fireworks were better than the Sydney ones this year?
To be honest... I wasn’t huddled around a television on New Years Eve so I have no idea. But I’m guessing Sydney owned it?

Where could we find you hanging out in London come a weekend? Soho? Camden?
Brick Lane Market, London Fields, the South Bank or inside a friends place that is dry and warm cooking food.

Who are your musical influences?
Michael Jackson, Prince, The Neptunes, Chaka Kahn, Grace Jones, The Clash, Frankie Knuckles, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Erykah Badu, D’angelo, Dâm-Funk, Bjork, Kate Bush, George Michael, Dolly Parton, George Benson, Sylvester, Nile Rodgers, D-Train, Miles Davis, Janet Jackson, Patrice Rushen, Sade ... I mean we could be here for ages.

What are other tracks/artists are you loving right now? Who’s on your ipod?
I listen to Beats in Space podcast while I exercise. I have tons of classic music from the 60s-90s mostly. There are some new things that I enjoy: Gotye, Jessica 6, Little Dragon, Adele, Robyn, James Blake, Tensnake, Tiger & Woods, Erykah. As far as pop music goes I always love a good Beyonce or Rihanna track and I have a newly discovered, very shameful and totally secret crush on LMFAO which I’m still coming to terms with. I’m boggled but I just can’t help it. It’s more physical than musical I think. Don’t print this. Ok fine. Print it.

We are lovin your new Gatsby look/style you have going on Mr Sparro, why the change?
Change is the only constant that I’ve ever relied on. And as a scorpio I am powerless of the chameleon that live’s inside of me. I’m enjoying being a gentleman for now.

What’s happening with Chauffeur? Any plans for new music?
Not at the moment. Perhaps when Destiny’s Child reunite - Chauffeur will get back together and open for them.

(Chauffeur we Mark Ronson, Sam Sparro & Theophilus London making sweet music together)

What do you miss about back home in Australia?
I miss how disarmingly honest everyone is. They will tell you like it is - no matter how fancy you think you are. I miss the food - they have delicious food there. My family and friends, the beaches. I love going back.

You are due to tour in Oz in March and commence a “Mini” tour in the US. What should we expect from the tour?
A classy, grown up but balls-out trip through all the feelings you binge eat over disguised as a disco party.

When you say “mini” tour do you mean everything on stage is small or your drive around in a BMW Mini all the time?
Yes, no. The first thing - everything on stage - including myself and the band of course - will be scaled down to miniature size. It’s cheaper that way. Less food and beverage expenses.

Mardi Gras is fast approaching – are you a special guest?  If not would you love to perform at Mardi Gras?
It was just announced that I’m closing Sydney Mardi Gras - which will be fun and hilarious I’m sure. I played the Mardi Gras Harbor Party a couple of years back and had a great time.

If yes can we be your plus one?
Something about can “WE” be the plus “One” doesn’t seem to add up.

Before turning to music you used to work in Public Relations, what’s the weirdest thing you had to promote?
I once worked on a campaign for Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns’ side project “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Rock” which modeled it’s logo on “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”.

What else is planned for you in 2012?
I’m going to make some video’s for these songs I’ve written and play some shows. And then I’m going to tweet about it.

Finally we like to end on our SnapCacklePop Big 5 silly questions this week…

1) Who is your favorite Minogue – Kylie or Dannii? 
I hate these questions where you are tricked into being negative towards Danni Minogue.
2) What would your autobiography be called? 
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough?
3) If you had a super power, what would it be and why? 
How do you know I don’t have a super power?
4) Which of the seven dwarfs best represents you in the morning? 
5) Who would you turn straight for? 
Er... Nomi Ruiz from Jessica 6?

Thank you Mr Sparro, we love your work and good luck with the album in 2012. See you at Mardi Gras
Thank You very much! big kisses XX

Sam Sparro's is due to release his new album Return To Paradise in May 2012

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