When superstar DJ, David Guetta spins a track in his set a whole swag of DJs and clubbers worldwide take note. The track he dropped was the catchy Ah Yeah from an unknown name outside of Australia – Will Sparks – all round nice bloke and key player in pushing the Melbourne Sound. He chats to RACHEL DAVISON in the spare 38 hours he has between his US and European tours.
The bouncy take on electro house that began in Melbourne many years ago has over the past 12 months been creating quite a stir worldwide and Will Sparks happened to be in the right place at the right time.
“Ah Yeah was a track that charted really highly out of nowhere and I was not expecting it at all,” Sparks says from his home in Melbourne. “I don’t know how it happened but the social networks these days are just incredibly powerful and I think, because I was making track after track and putting it up on Soundcloud, the more people that like it, the more people see it, and it just kept progressing. When all those followers see that a track’s out, they buy it (well some do) and it charts, and that’s how it got up there.
“The big guys around the world like Laidback Luke are supporting it now and Djuro… I’ve heard Calvin Harris and even A-Trak – guys you would never think would play anything like that, especially A-Trak, he’s more hip hop, isn’t he? I don’t even know, because I haven’t been around that long. It’s incredible to see their support and I couldn’t ask for anything more to be honest,” he says, genuinely.
Sparks didn’t really want to get into a discussion about the musical characteristics that define the Melbourne Sound or Bounce. “You know, I’ve tried to explain it that many times but every time I try to, I get bagged, well not bagged, but pulled up on certain things that I say about what it compares to, so what I usually say is, ‘just go listen to it and that’s what it is’. Do you know what I mean?” he laughs.
So if you’re not totally au fait with this take on electro house, you can listen to Sparks’ DJ mix on the new OneLove release, Sound Machine 2013 (which also includes a mix from Bingo Players) and on the compilation, Melbourne Bounce. But Sparks continues to elaborate, regardless.
“I’ve got a metal background, I played guitar my whole life, like hard metal or death metal and so I think it compares to it in a way because it’s really hard, head banging. My brain switched one night when I heard that sound and so there are certain attributes that compares to that, but in a totally different way. It started off to be more minimal like kick bass-y and now it’s kind of progressed to a big room style of minimal. So the big progressive chords and then the drop (and as people call it a ‘Melbourne drop’) it’s progressed a lot in the last four/five years and it’s just going to keep on progressing I think.”
Sparks talks about his first time playing shows in the US. “It was amazing. I had no idea what to expect and the reaction from the Americans with my new sound, I was pretty worried on it, because it’s something brand new to them and yeah, it was just awesome every time, they went crazy so it was great.
“It’s really similar (to Australia) but there’s the whole PLUR thing in America that stands for ‘Peace, Love Unity, Respect’ and in some states they make candy bracelets and wear out-of-this-world clothes… it’s like a religion over there and that’s one difference in the scene in America. Americans talk differently though,” he laughs “and there is a lot of bottle service and there’s hardly any in Australia and that was another big difference. It was pretty daunting at the start because I didn’t know whether to play a more lounge-y kind of style, but I still banged it out and didn’t care and they got amongst it.”
Even though we’re all over Miley Cyrus and her publicity antics a conversation ensues, given Sparks did a remix of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines (yep, the dude in the stripey suit in that VMA performance).
“I’m getting co-managed by someone from Interscope (Records – the label Thicke’s signed to) that’s how I got the remix,” he explains. “I know the people that know Robin and so yeah, it’s obviously all planned, like even for him up there with her. The public don’t realise (well, most of the public) that it’s a way to get your name out and she got 60 million views in a day because of the way she’s acting. I don’t think she’s really like that, it’s just her management and marketing team behind her that have gone ‘that’s how you do it ‘cause Britney’s done it, Gaga’s done it and look where they are’… but I’m not really into the whole celebrity thing.
“I’ve had to say no to a few other big things, like multiple,” he reveals. “It’s just because it’s not where I wanna go yet. I really don’t want to commercialise myself, I just wanna keep my style going and do my thing because it seems to be working so far and yeah, just tour around and keep working on music because I’ve got lots to come out.”
SOUND MACHINE 2013 (MIXED BY BINGO PLAYERS & WILL SPARKS) OUT THROUGH ONELOVE
SUNDAY, MARCH 2 @ FUTURE MUSIC FESTIVAL, ARENA JOONDALUP