Fresh from seeing them play with local heroes Cast of the Capital at Snafu, JustBoy57 caught up with Make Sparks Craig Parker to find out what else is on the cards for ’10.
How are things in the Make Sparks camp?
Everything is great. Hunky dory in fact. I’m watching Scrubs waiting on the Cleveland Show and the other two are sat at my feet – Adam has a bowl of crisps on his head and Bobby has a plate of pizza on his. Everything is as it should be.
You have just come off tour with Aberdeen’s Cast of the Capital. How did it go?
It was great. We hadn’t met in person until the night of the first show and we all got on really well and had a great time and played some great shows!
What is your favourite venue in Aberdeen? …and in the rest of Scotland?
We played Snafu last month and had a really good experience there. Also Tuts and Captains Rest in Glasgow are great. Sneaky Pete’s and Cab Vol in Edinburgh, Dexters in Dundee, Transmission at Stirling Uni. They’re all great. Ah now Cleveland doesn’t seem as exciting! I wanna get back on the road!
Favourite night? I heard the Captain’s Rest gig was a bit of a belter!
It was a good crowd and a good night aye! We went to Box for an aftershow and did our first ever DJ set and had a few too many! Cast of the Capital had to miss out because they had recording the next morning unfortunately but the crowd came along afterwards and we partied late into the night. We’ve been enjoying the reaction to the gigs these past few months so it was nice to get a wee party with some of them.
What’s more important, your live show or your recorded sound?
Thats hard to say. I guess it depends on the listener/gig goer eh? We try to do our best at both. I suppose each gig has something unique wether it be a mistake or some work of spontaneous genius but on record you have to do it until its perfect because once its done its done and it will be that way forever.
I suppose it really does depend where a fan prefers to get their music – either in their headphones or right in their faces.
We see them as two seperate parts of being in a band so both have to be as important as each other to us. The same goes for writing and rehearsing and all the other website upkeep and promo and booking that go hand in hand with being in a band. You have to treat each one as importantly as the other. I think anyway. We don’t really know any different, we’ve been doing this everyday for the past **insert embarassing number** years so its all just habit and we love it.
Plans for the Summer? Potential festival dates? Further tours? Another E.P?
We have a few festivals and some still in the process of being confirmed. Unfortunately we can’t announce them until nearer the time. You’ll just have to wait and see!
We’re touring Scotland again in May and are deciding right now wether to do a double A-side or get back in the studio quickly and get a whole EP. We’ll see what we can afford when the time comes. Definately more tours and more releases this year though. We’ll be doing it that way from now until one of us loses a finger or and arm.
Headline T in the Park or Glasto given the choice?
T. No question.
You are known for your relentless touring and gigging. Does it ever get a bit tedious or is it something you love to do all the time?
We love it. We get tired sometimes but thats not from the gigging its just from bad planning. This is what we love to do and we are lucky we get to do it most nights in one way or another. When we do get tired usually one day off every other week is enough. It’s not that stressfull a job – 11am starts and as many breaks as you want…we’re not complaining!
What are your all time favourite gigs to date? Both playing and attending?
We’ve had a few special shows. Electric Bay was fantastic. King Tuts with Sucio at the end of last year. Our first ever Make Sparks gig at Dexters in Dundee was nerve-wracking.
Most of the shows we’ve seen have been ones we are on the bill. Thats the only downside to this job, you miss out on all the other gigs going on!
A few years ago at T in the Park I saw Audioslave playing Rage songs and thought to myself ”thats the closest I’ll ever get to seeing Rage against the Machine playing so I’m happy”. I didn’t know they’d reform and play so many shows after that. It was a special feeling at the time cos it felt like a second chance. SixStarHotel and Sucioperro have both blown me away on seperate occasions too!
For those who don’t know, tell us a bit about the Make Sparks Club. Any wild stories to share with the Flares n Seagulls readers?
I dunno how much I can say. We’re not the wildest guys in general but most nights we have the bowls on top of the midgets heads filled with class A’s and tigers chained to the walls. Its all on our rider list. One night they left the brown m+m’s in with the other colours so we just flat out refused to play the show. Its the same for all unsigned bands I’m sure. With this level of power comes no responsibility!
How is the Scottish music scene doing just now? Anyone particularly making you excited?
We are constantly (but secretly) competing with all the great bands out there right now. Every night we play with fantastic unsigned Scottish bands and every night we are blown away. There are too many to list here but if you check our myspace out and see our top friends there is plenty for you to get your listening gear around!
How important are things like Go North and T-break in getting your name out there and your sound heard? Have you ever done any of these before?
These sorts of events are great for young emerging bands. Just to have your name on the bill is almost enough to generate other gigs and work and opportunities. It can also be a great springboard for a band on the up.
Any advice for up and coming bands out there?
We still need advice, we’re not out of the ‘up and coming’ group by a long shot. All I know is that good things happen around us when we work our hardest and focus on what we want. We noticed that a couple of years ago so decided that we would just pack everything in and be musicians 100%. It was liberating and has been the best thing we ever did.
Has anyone in particular or one thing even, helped you get where you are now (still a long way to go obviously, but credit where its due and all that?
Aye we’ve got a helluva long way to go! I want a bloody boat and a helicopter! We constantly get support from our families and wives and girlfriends. Lots of people have been great to us these past 18months. I’ll include them all on the album ‘thank you’s’ so you can read them when that comes out 😉
What do you hope to achieve in the next couple of years?
We want it all! Really we do.
What keeps Make Sparks ticking? What keeps you motivated through the constant months of gigging and recording?
Just doing it is enough. We live and beathe this stuff so its motivating enough just to know if we do that one more gig or one more recording session we’ll get to do the next one soon. That and the mountains of women we have to usher out of the dressing room each night. Sigh….I long for the day we get a dressing room, never mind the women!
CD sales are down, gloom, doom, despondency and all that… is the music scene really on its knees?
I don’t know. I think that folk want music just as much now as they ever have but they want it in smaller doses than they used to and in larger varieties. I think the days of great albums may be resting if not over for now. I think its all about singles and tours and merch. We’ll see. I hope I’m wrong.
Your five desert island discs?
Rocky Theme Tune
Santa Esmarelda – Esmarelda Suite
System of a Down – Violent Pornography
Death Cab For Cutie – Marching Bands of Manhattan
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
Your favourite chatacter from The Wire?
We don’t watch The Wire! Adam wants to see Renee from 24 with her globes out. Does that count? (NO! – ed)
And finally, your favourite flavour of crisps?
Walkers Sensations Sweet Thai Chilli. Its not exactly a posh crisp but its definately on the verge!
Many thanks for your time Craig and we’ll see you soon. JustBoy57
Make Sparks play Hinterland Festival on Saturday the 3rd of April.