Undoubtedly one of the pioneers of the Melbourne Sound, Will Sparks’ rapid rise to fame has seen him break away from and expand on the sub-genre that fans know & love him for, only to further establish himself as one of the most talented and eclectic artists in the scene.
With multiple platinum records under his belt, successive placings in DJ Mag’s coveted Top 100 DJs list and a brand-new label ‘CLUBWRK’, in collaboration with Teamwrk Records, Will’s resume speaks for itself. Recently, he sat down with CULTR to discuss the state of the Melbourne Sound, upcoming gigs and his colossal collaboration with MaRLo; ‘Feel It’.
G’day Will! Thanks for sitting down with us! Your latest track ‘Kids These Days’ is an amazing, dark, gritty tune and somewhat different to the sound that some fans are used to. Can you tell us a bit about the track’s inspiration?
That is a huge compliment for me. I’m always trying to break the boundaries, do things differently and challenge the same old rules that dance music is held back by. The darker and grittier the better!
You also recently collaborated with fellow Aussie, MaRLo on ‘Feel It’ – how did that come about?
MaRLo is a good friend of mine, I absolutely love his work and one day I just reached out with an idea and the rest came along so naturally. He is a legend to work with.
Now being a prominent, established artist in the electronic music world, do you feel you have more control of your music and what you want to make/release?
100%. Not being exclusive or tied down to one label helps this a lot. Some labels want a certain sound, so for someone that is very versatile, this is the perfect scenario for me.
From the old-school Melbourne bounce anthems of the past to songs like ‘Kids These Days’ and ‘Feel It’, your musical identity has taken a rather eclectic form. Do you feel your tastes have matured as you have?
For sure, I could never stay in one lane and make the same music forever. As technology evolves, so do I. The more you do something the further you better yourself. I’ll be forever learning and improving what I do.
It’s clear you like to test out plenty of unreleased material at shows. How important is the crowd reaction to how you perceive the production?
It’s my favourite thing to do. To know for a fact that you just made something from scratch that no one else has ever heard before. To then deliver it to thousands of ears in one go and watching the reaction. There is absolutely nothing like it, I miss it a lot.
You’ve stated that you’ll personally A&R for CLUBWRK to help up-and-coming artists. Is this your way of giving back to the fanbase that’s given you so much over the years?
For sure. We’ve already released a number of cool tracks that I love and many more coming. It would be so cool to find that next talent.
On that note, are there any up-and-coming Australian talents that we should keep an eye on?
There are a few guys coming through CLUBWRK. I’m loving the house and deeper styles coming from Bouz, Joel Cantone and Konnect.
How would you describe the state of the Melbourne sound at the moment?
Everyone’s sound is unique these days. So many of the Melbourne guys are producing a range of genres that now surpass being labeled as a Melbourne sound.
In recent years, Australian music festivals have started to make a resurgence. From an artist’s perspective, how does this make you feel?
It’s still not what it used to be like but I hope one day it comes back better than ever. The pandemic has definitely not helped, however I hope we can see some Australia festivals early next year.
Given the current climate of festivals and clubs, what do you foresee in the coming 12 months gig wise?
We just don’t know. That’s the scary thing, the uncertainty. I was fortunate to do a show this Saturday in Darwin however. It was amazing to be back – I missed the energy.
What does the rest of the year hold in store for you? Any other exciting releases?
Plenty of releases! I’ve been in the studio a lot recently. I have a collab with Luciana coming soon as well as a track I am really proud of called ‘Nevermind’. I also have a number of more intimate shows in Australia over the coming weeks and hopefully some bigger shows at the end of the year.
Listen to Will Sparks & MaRLo’s collaboration ‘Feel It‘