Scott Spark is a busy, busy guy. I managed to catch brekky with him (fruit toast with avocado and Vegemite. Gross, right?) and talk songwriting, music, The Album and The Tour.
Touring (with Washington, and generally):
We get each other musically, and quite frankly if you can do that, it makes a lot of difference on the road. You have to listen to each other’s sets night after night, and it kind of helps if you like each other’s music.
You hear stories about bands who hate each other’s guts having to tour together and as an audience member, why would you want to see that show? You can totally tell if you’re seeing a show where the bands don’t like each other.
That’s our playground, pubs. Even a pansy like me is playing in pubs. The last show we did was at the Nash in Geelong. At first I was like “oh shit, how’s this going to go down,” as I was playing main support, solo and to be honest, it went really well. If they’re going to give me a chance, then I should give them a chance, I think a lot of people forget that.
In Ballarat I had this dude come up to me, he would’ve been mid twenties and said, “I was driving home last night and heard your song on Triple J and it caught my ears because I hadn’t heard anything like that on Triple J before.” He was running late to see his girlfriend and ended up being even later because he sat in the car to hear the end of it. I hate to qualify things like this, but he was just a straightup dude, and it was awesome that he liked the music. That’s why we do it.
On producer Emerson Bavinton:
I met him through Chris Pickering and thought he did a really good job on Chris’ first record and he had kicked around the scene for a long time. He’d done live sound for Custard and so many bands that came through Brisbane. He was part of the scene and then thought, “bugger it, I can do music stuff but not be part of the scene.” He didn’t play the game and I liked that. He seemed like he’d be brave enough to take on a dag like me. He really loved my songs and I liked the fact that he cared enough about the songs to argue with me about things.
Before I found a home for the record with OtherTongues, I had these nightmares of having to have conversations with labels like, “Who is your target audience” and that sort of stuff. I knew it would speak to some people, I just had to find those people.
If I had to choose two genres, it’d be classic Motown soul stuff and Christmas songs.
I think the one thing about the times we live in and the world now is that a lot of shared rituals are breaking down. I mean, once there was a time where you’d be baptised, then do confirmation and then marry and that sort of stuff isn’t really happening anymore. I think Christmas is one of those things that has really resisted that tide, and even if you’re not religious, there’s still Christmas. It means different things to different people, and even if you don’t believe in it, you can’t pretend Christmas isn’t happening. It sucks you in. It’s like a rip in the ocean.
It’s a little microcosm of everything, reminds you of people who’ve died, if there’s a child around there’s santa, it makes you think about your life.
I love that it’s really daggy as well.
Speaking of daggy…
I love Rolf Harris. I think that he’s a real genius. Seriously.
Australia’s greatest songwriters: Paul Kelly, Rolf Harris, Slim Dusty. Those three for me are huge.
Slim Dusty is Australia’s Leonard Cohen. The amount of songs he’s written, people dimiss him and it shits me to tears.
Day job between tours:
Working while you’re touring sucks dogs balls. In a sense it’s kind of cool because it’s like you’re leading a double life, but still.
Catch Scott on tour this week and next:
MELBOURNE: 30 Sept, The Toff in Town
SYDNEY: 7 Oct, The Vanguard
BRISBANE: 8 Oct, The Zoo