In the woodsy parts of Charlotte, North Carolina, a band by the name of Sparkman emerges.
Their sound feels a lot like lying on cool blades of grass, and picturing the breeze you feel, almost like the one you might feel on an overcast day at the beach. Listening to their album felt like one of those days, when you really get time to appreciate the nature around you.
I sat down with Chris Vercauteren, lead singer and founding member of Sparkman. We had a great chat about their new record, entitled "Searching For The Dawn".
Check out the interview here:
CTM: Hi guys! I've just finished listening to your latest release, and I'd love to hear about the process for this album. How was it and how long was it start to finish?
CV: I’ve had these these songs for a very long time, but we didn’t start recording them until October 2017. I’ve actually had “Fireworks,” the oldest song on the record, since I was 16. I wrote the newest song, “Plan," in the spring of 2018. The recording process took about 5 months, and we had the final mastered product in April 2018. The next few months were dedicated to visuals, merch, marketing etc, and we officially release the album on September 18th, 2018. In total, the whole process took a little under a year.
CTM: What's the most personal song on the record and what's the story there?
CV: I’d say “White” is the most personal song on the record because it highlights some of the darkest periods of my life. In sum, it’s a story about someone helping a friend who is struggling with multiple demons (drug abuse, depression, addiction etc..). Sometimes we do everything we can for them, but it’s just not enough. The song is really a rite of passage for me - it forces me to face these dark times and reassure myself that I did everything I could for these people. “White” is definitely a personal one, but its also probably my favorite song on the album.
CTM: I'm hearing hints of Kings Of Leon, The Black Keys and a touch of Jack Johnson. If I'm way off base, let me know. Who are some artists that I'm not hearing, that influenced this record?
CV: These are pretty spot on - all of those artists have had a tremendous impact on the record. Singer/songwriters like Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson, and John Mayer were some of my early influences on the acoustic guitar. This album is a blend of my acoustic guitar and alternative rock (Black Keys, Kings of Leon, Portgugal. The Man, Milky Chance etc..) influences.
CTM: I thought 'White' was my favorite... until I heard 'Dawn'. It may be my favorite song on the album. What's the story behind it?
CV: “Dawn” definitely stands out as the most acoustic, singer/songwriter type song on the album (think Vance Joy, Hozier etc..) It’s lighter-hearted than the others, and it was written during a very positive time in my life. It’s really just about living in the moment - it’s about not getting caught up in the everyday stresses of life and focusing on the important things right in front of you. It marks a period in my life where I stopped constantly caring as about my future and my pursuit of “success". My girlfriend, family, and friends are far more important - “Dawn” helps remind me of that. It’s definitely a simpler one but, I like it.
CTM:Where did you all record the album?
CV: Sioux Sioux Studio in Charlotte, NC.
CTM: Where did you guys form the band and where are you based now? And with that, how does the city you're in now, influence you and your sound?
CV: We formed the band in Charlotte, NC and we are based here as well. Charlotte kind of lacks a music identity but, the scene is rapidly growing. It’s exciting to be part of a budding music scene - it gives us a lot of flexibility with our sound. And, there aren’t as many bands/concerts as some of the other music meccas, so I feel like its not as hard to get people to come out to shows. It’s almost like being a big fish in a small pond, where the pond is always expanding. It’s cool to be at the forefront of a music scene that is ever-growing.
CTM: Finally, I have to say. I honestly hear a lot of variety in your music. Not so much that there's no cohesiveness, but enough that it really peaked my interest and impressed me. That's very rare. Where would you say that comes from?
CV: We obviously have a wide range of musical influences but, we learned to be comfortable with things that sounded unorthodox. I think that’s where the variety comes from. If a certain synth or electric guitar part “shocked’ me, I just kept it in the album. We have a lot of heavily distorted guitar/synth sounds on the record, which was a bit odd at first considering that the backbone of each song is the acoustic guitar. I personally love the blend of acoustic and heavy distortion - it was an experiment that I’d say worked out for this album. We’ll definitely use that as a framework for future records.
To check out their brand new album and follow the band, check out these links:
https://www.facebook.com/sparkmanchris/ http://www.twitter.com/sparkman_music http://www.instagram.com/sparkman_music https://open.spotify.com/artist/3muLAeC5eoaIsP9ef6gu3o sparkmanmusic.com
Peace and Love,