Sparkadia could have easily become one of those great bands that come along and then disappear off the radar, especially when members move on to other projects. But instead of letting the great music fade into CD collections to rarely resurface, Alex Burnett kept the project alive. With a new album ready to go and a new live band ready to hit the road. Alex took some time out to chat to us about the new disc, wanting a moat full of crocodiles and the liberation of being in a one man band.
Musicfeeds : Whats new in Sparkadia’s world?
Alex Burnett: New Songs, New Record, New live band, New Single and New Video recently released. Essentially everything is new. Ha.
MF: Tell us a little about the new single ‘Talking Like I’m Falling Down Stairs’?
AB: I was hanging out in LA and as a town I found it both enchanting and creepy. I met both the people that had achieved the “American dream” and the ones that were still waiting…There was a level of desperation in some of the people that grimmed me out, but at the same time, I had a wild time with the people that had been “lucky”. I remember that the song took about twenty minutes to write and when that happens it usually means that it’s pretty potent.
MF: How was the change going from a four piece down to just one?
AB: At first it was really odd. I’d spent around two years continuously touring around Europe, Australia and the UK with the other guys so it was a shock when they went onto other things with their lives. However, as I was to realize, being a one-man show was also liberating. It allowed me to randomly move to London at the beginning of the year and find my own way to making a record without much money or planning.
MF: Did you ever consider going solo under your name?
AB: I thought that the new tunes were a continuation of what happened on the first record, “postcards”, so the concept of changing to my real (and slightly boring anglo-saxon name) seemed a little too soon. Plus there’s loads of bands that have a singer/songwriter with a band name such as Bat For Lashes, ELO or even Nine Inch Nails so if it’s good enough for Trent, then it’s good enough for me. Ha.
MF: How’s the tour going so far? Who do have playing with you on this one?
AB: The tour has been incredible. We had a very wild time in WA. Much more wild than on the last tour…In the band is two lads from London, Henry and Adam, and then two original members, Nick and Ed, are back for the live shows.
MF: What artists inspire you to write and make music?
AB: Most of my heroes for this record were the writers and producers of big pop tunes that weren’t too obvious or cheap and nasty. There is a fine line to tread but so far so good. I was into the pop music of my childhood when I used to get up at 6am to watch rage (circa 1989-1992) as well as late Roxy Music, Bowie in his Berlin years, Roy Orbison, Talking Heads as well as Debussy and Tom Waits from the Island years. As for the sound, I wanted to make a studio album rather than a live record – which was essentially what occurred on “postcards”. After a trip to Darwin in 2009 I became obsessed with Javanese Gamelan and starting using gongs and other left field instruments such as using metal poles for snare drums and junk percussion for hi hats as well as emulating gospel choirs and harpsichords and whatever else seemed to fit in the grand and deluded musical world I was creating.
MF: What are the plans for 2011?
AB: Apart from releasing the next record and writing tunes for other people – I just want to play great shows and have fun…and to get a black pug called Clarence.
MF: If Santa could bring you anything for Xmas, what would you want?
AB: I wouldn’t mind a castle with a moat filed with crocodiles. That would be a huge effort by the big man, but I would invite him over for cookies more than once a year to show my respect.
MF: What would be the first song you’d put on a mix tape.
AB: I just saw a four hour documentary on Tom Petty so I’m in that headspace. It was pretty intense. So at this second I would start with “learning to fly”.