When superstar DJ David Guetta drops a track in his set, well, it’s a big deal, and it means a whole heap of DJs, producers and clubbers worldwide are taking note. The track he dropped was the catchy ‘Ah Yeah!’ from a name relatively unknown outside of Australia, Will Sparks – an all-round nice bloke and key player in pushing the Melbourne Sound or Melbourne Bounce.
“‘Ah Yeah!’ was a track that charted really highly out of nowhere and I was not expecting it at all,” Sparks says from his home in Melbourne. “I don’t know how it happened but the social networks these days are just incredibly powerful – and I think because I was making track after track every week and putting it up on Soundcloud, and the more people that like it, the more people see it, and it just kept progressing. When all those followers see that a track’s out, they buy it – well some do – and it charts, and that’s how it got up there.”
The bouncy take on electro house that began in Melbourne many years ago has over the past 12 months been creating a stir worldwide, and Sparks has found himself in the right place at the right time.
“The big guys around the world like Laidback Luke are supporting it now, and Djuro… I’ve heard Calvin Harris and even A-Trak – guys you would never think would play anything like that, especially A-Trak – he’s more hip hop, isn’t he? I don’t even really know, because I haven’t been around that long. It’s incredible to see their support and I couldn’t ask for anything more, to be honest,” Sparks says completely genuinely.
Still, he doesn’t really want to get into a discussion about the musical characteristics that define the Melbourne Sound: “You know, I’ve tried to explain it that many times but every time I try to, I get bagged – well, not bagged, but pulled up on certain things that I say about what it compares to. So what I usually say is, ‘Just go listen to it and that’s what it is.’ Do you know what I mean?” he laughs.
So if you’re not totally au fait with the Bounce, you can listen to Sparks’ DJ mix on the new OneLove release, Sound Machine 2013 (which also includes a mix from Bingo Players) and on their just-released compilation, Melbourne Bounce. Despite his misgivings, Sparks elaborates.
“I’ve got a metal background; I played guitar my whole life, like hard metal or death metal, and so I think [the Melbourne Sound] compares to it in a way because it’s really hard, headbanging … It started off to be more minimal, like kick-bassy, and now it’s kinda progressed to a big room style of minimal. So the big progressive chords and then the drop – and as people call it, a Melbourne Drop – it’s progressed a lot in the last four, five years and it’s just going to keep on progressing, I think.”
The attention recently landed Sparks his first gigs in the US. “It was amazing. I had no idea what to expect and the reaction from the Americans with my new sound, I was pretty worried on it, because it’s something brand new to them, and yeah, it was just awesome every time they went crazy”.
“It’s really similar [to Australia],” Sparks continues. “[But] there is a lot of bottle service and there’s hardly any in Australia and that was another big difference. It was pretty daunting at the start because I didn’t know whether to play a more loungey kind of music style, but I still banged it out and didn’t care and they got amongst it.”
Of late, Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ has been in the news courtesy Miley Cyrus and her publicity antics, and Sparks did a remix of the song himself. Inadvertently, I suggest he only did it for exposure, given he’d posted on Facebook that “What Miley’s doing at the moment is obviously planned and a genius way to get people talking about her…”
“It wasn’t [for exposure] at all,” laughs Sparks. “Because I’m getting co-managed by someone from Interscope that’s how I got the remix … I know the people that know Robin and so yeah, it’s obviously all planned – like even for him up there with [Miley], and the public don’t realise (well, most of the public) that it’s a way to get your name out and she got 60 million [online] views in a day because of the way she’s acting. I don’t think she’s really like that, it’s just her management and marketing team behind her”.
And while I suggest that it’s not likely you’d actually say ‘no’ to remixing Thicke at this point in your career, Sparks assures me that’s not the case. “I’ve had to say ‘no’ to a few other big things,” he reveals. “It’s just because it’s not where I wanna go yet; I really don’t want to commercialise myself, I just wanna keep my style going and do my thing because it seems to be working so far – and yeah, just tour around and keep working on music because I’ve got lots to come out.”
BY RACHEL DAVIDSON
Will Sparks plays Future Music Festival 2014 with Deadmau5, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Phoenix, Hardwell, Rudimental, Eric Prydz, Kaskade, Porter Robinson and more at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Saturday March 8.