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An Interview With Sparks In The Garden

A fresh release from Sparks in the Garden brings out a cinematic and emotionally driven powerhouse that feels warm and welcoming while being descriptive and impactful with piano and guitars ringing out to embrace you with an impassioned and meaningful single.

"Colorado" definitely is a bit of a storyteller and it's done in the way of an incredibly soulful folk-rock performance that boasts the cinematic undertone and swims around you so that you can wash away with it.

The soundscape of this song is lush and full-bodied while vocals remain soulful and heartfelt which along with the pianos let everything really capture this certain feeling that you get from listening to it.

This also comes from the song's actual energy and performance of course because with a song like this one and how subtle and driving it can be at the same time that performance has to be really spot on for it to make sense.

You get such a powerhouse of a single out of this track and it comes with some outstanding guitar work including a solo that is short lived but absolutely perfected and comes through with as much heart and soul as the rest of the song does which I think is very important.

This track has a certain feel that reaches out and grabs you and keeps you where it wants you which is something you don't get all that often in general but with a song like this, it's meant to be affectionate and real.

This track obviously came from some place genuine or from real actual personal experience which is part of why it works so damn well.

As soon as the track begins you get that piano riff, and you know what kind of song this is going to be and how it's going to likely cause memories of your own to pop into your head.

This is because it's meaningful and also relatable. You can't help but think of parts of your own life and in a way, you feel like this track although it has nothing to do with you personally feels like it could have been written about a chapter in your life.

It's amazing how connective songs like this can actually be even while it's just an artist trying to express how he felt about a certain situation that happened to him.

One of the best things about music by far.

With such a beautiful woven single we wanted to have a sit down with Sparks in the Garden to find out what the song is actually about and what may be next for them.

Here's what happened.

Buzz Slayers: Okay guys let's start with "Colorado"! This had some outstanding musicianship and such a personal feel! How did this song come about?

A: It's inspired by a road trip we took in 1995 from Florida to Fort Collins, Colorado, where we planned to visit family. We had never seen the Rockies before. And as we were heading west out of Kansas we just decided to intentionally take the long way around and go through Aspen. We were just kind of like "When will we ever get to do this again?" And also, I think we were somewhat motivated by the movie Dumb and Dumber, in which driving to Aspen is central to the plot. I guess we thought it would be something fun to look back on if we sort of imitated the movie. It was a spur-of-the-moment idea and we just committed to it without much discussion. It was very impractical, but it ended up being the best thing we could have done.

So the song is basically a true story of that one day, but remembered 25 years later. It's deep fondness and reverence for our experience driving up Independence Pass and goofing around in the snow. I wrote the song in March of 2020, and it flowed out pretty easily. Usually songwriting is a struggle for me and takes a long time to wrestle through phrases, and find my way around bad ideas. But this song was complete within a week. Of course, we made little tweaks for a couple months, but the recorded version isn't much different from the one-week-old version.

Buzz Slayers: How did it all start for you as an artist?

A: Our mom was a singer in a rock band and she took her music pretty seriously, so we were influenced to be rock music fans right from birth. When we were little kids, we always wanted to play instruments and become like the rockstars we saw in the music videos. You know, we sort of grew up on MTV. And then when we were teenagers, we actually started learning to play instruments and forming garage bands. But, you know, we sang in the choirs at school and also got into music theater, and hung around other kids who were passionate about the arts. We've been addicted to this stuff for a long time.

Buzz Slayers: What kind of things really inspire songs for you?

A: Inspiration comes from almost anything, and it's often unexpected. An interesting phrase or melody can just poke your brain and haunt your thoughts, and you can't leave it alone until a song comes together. Most of the time it requires persistence and grit to develop something useable. Of course, we do write from our reflections on life experiences. But I think the most consistent inspiration for a new song comes from other songs. When you're dug in, working hard on a song, you often get surprise song ideas that weren't part of the plan. And a lot of times those surprise ideas are easier to progress with than the song you were working on in the first place.

Buzz Slayers: Can you give us some of your biggest influences musically?

A: There are so many, we could just go on for a while. Wayne Kirkpatrick, David Wilcox, Sara Bareilles, James Taylor, Sting, and Mariah Carey are just some of the songwriters we really admire that make us want to keep writing and improving. Some of the artists that have made the biggest impression on us over time are Rush, Living Colour, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Seal, Jellyfish, NEEDTOBREATHE, Keith Urban, Dave Matthews Band, and Bruce Hornsby. But when we were little kids, Rock and Roll was celebrated in our house. So Journey, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Peter Frampton, The Doobie Brothers, and many more have all shaped how we think about and appreciate music.

Buzz Slayers: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?

A: Does yard work count? Man, I wish we had a cool answer for this like "surfing" or "We're never not working on music." But, we're regular, boring grown-ups with responsibilities and families. While I do try to spend a good amount of time with my wife, I'm often just drinking coffee and watching cooking shows. I get distracted a lot by streaming shows, and Instagram, while silently telling myself I should be practicing music. The not-working-on-music time is actually MOST of the time. Music gets pushed lower and lower on the priority list, and it will get pushed all the way off the list unless you fight for it.

Buzz Slayers: Who's in your headphones right now?

A: Well, I just picked up a couple gigs playing drums with a dance band, so right now I'm only listening to dance pop. It's kind of a large repertoire that includes every decade--so like Earth, Wind, and Fire, Commodores, Bee Gees, Michael Jackson, Prince, Whitney Houston, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, Justin Timberlake, Lizzo, and other popular stuff that works well on the dance floor.

Buzz Slayers: Are you doing any live performances right now?

A: Well, yes, but it's only once or twice per month right now. We're always looking for new opportunities to perform for people, and to improve our performances, and we'll be scheduling more performances as the year progresses. And anything we do will be announced on our Instagram well in advance. In the meantime, we also love jumping in on open mic nights and participating in the local community of songwriters.

Buzz Slayers: This song feels like a pretty big undertaking. Any advice for up-and-coming artists out there?

A: Always pursue your passion. Never worry about being "as good as" the other people. In fact, just don't compare yourself to other musicians or writers at all. Study the craft. Make yourself better. Put in the work. Test out your ideas and fight for them to have a chance. When you have songs that you feel happy with, find a good producer.

Buzz Slayers: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?

A: For the gracious folks who are interested, we do have another EP that's basically done and we hope to release it later this year. We're slowly working on putting a new band together, which should make our live shows just way more fun.

Buzz Slayers: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?

A: We'd like to say we appreciate you very much! Honestly, it's humbling and meaningful every time anyone takes an interest in our music. It's pretty fearsome to present your art to strangers and ask them to listen. So, we feel a connection and a responsibility when people embrace what we're doing. We're really just getting started, so if you stick with us it's only going to get better from here. Thank you so much!!!

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