“Revolving” By Spark.
Free Download -‘Revolving Warrior One Remix.’
BOOM! Welcome to the world of Jess Morgan, aka Spark. With hair as black as a raven’s wing, pale, almost luminous alabaster skin and blood red lips, Spark looks set to take the pop world by storm. After the limited seven inch single release of ‘ in July, her stunning début single for ‘679 Recordings , ‘Revolving’ is about to be unleashed. It’s a fantastic slice of hypnotic left-field electro-pop which mixes the soul-influenced funk of Cameo’s ‘Word Up’ with the faux-goth pop sensibility of Strawberry Switch Blade. Throw in a touch of the Kate Bush style theatrics, add a dash of Alison Goldfrapp and Spark looks very much like a pop sensation in waiting.
Spark wrote her first song when she was just twelve years old but it wasn’t until she performed the Kate Bush classic ‘Wuthering Heights’ at a school show that she experienced her own particular Boo Radley moment of musical clarity. Thus inspired and armed with a new sense of purpose she adjusted her style accordingly to reflect her new influences. After playing just one solo gig fate intervened, the stars aligned and she nabbed a spot on tour with Marina & The Diamonds, a record deal soon followed. I managed to catch the end of her set on Marina’s Family Jewels tour and she positivity sparkled, leaving many of us in no doubt that we had just borne witness to the emergence of a bright new talent, one who was definitely going to make her mark on Planet Pop, it was just a question of when, not if.
She’s also a girl who’s enthusiasm is undoubtedly infectious but be warned, she doesn’t suffer fools. Ask her about any record label restyle or musical finesseing and she will most likely fix you with an intense dark gaze and reply “I’m not something you can construct. Fact.” At which point you should laugh nervously and then cleverly distract her by pointing over her shoulder whilst saying something like ‘ooh look a puppy’ before hastily moving on to another question !
If you follow Spark on twitter you’ll no doubt notice that she is prone to indiscriminately peppering many of her ‘tweets’ with the word “boom,” indeed she implores her fans to “bring their boom” along to her gigs. I’m not quite sure what this actually means or indeed if it’s legal, but it seems to be an affirmation of positive emotions which is no bad thing. However, one fears if this behaviour goes unchecked it may provide a stumbling block to one day conquering America; bellowing ‘BOOM’ will most likely not endear you to homeland security, in fact it could impede or least severely delay admission onto U.S. soil and the last thing I’d want to see is Spark heading for Cuba in an unfeasibly orange jump suit. 😉
As well as the release of ‘Revolving’ Spark is preparing for her début album, due out early next year, her only problem at present appears to be narrowing down exactly songs will be included on the album , “I have too many songs, I need to stop writing” she says. Finding a fantastic new talent like Spark is one the myriad of reasons why people like my good-self get so excited about music and feel a compulsion to share our enthusiasm via a blog. Bloggers still believe that, that despite what the charts may tell you, great music from every genre is still being made, you just have to seek it out. And so prior to world domination I had a chat with Spark and desperately hoped she didn’t ask if I’d remembered to bring my ‘boom!’
VP: Hello there, you release your music under the name Spark, what was it about that particular nom de plume that appealed?
SPARK: Haha, well my real middle name is Sparkle. Birth certificate, passport and all that jazz! So when it came to being called something else, instead of being Sparkle- because that sounds like I’m 8 and like glitter.. Spark it was!
VP: You’re release your first proper single with 679 Recordings the ruddy marvellous ‘Revolving’. How does an artist decide on the singles? Do you have discussions with the label; do they tell you what they’d like to put out, how does it work?
SPARK: They’re decisions that my manager and I make together. When I first put these songs on myspace and blogs started to write about me and I started to get feedback, Shut Out The Moon seemed to be the one getting the most attention, so it felt right for us to release that first. Revolving is very different to SOTM, it has a different sort of sound and feel and so we thought it would be a good idea to put that out next to show that difference, another dimension.
VP: So what exactly is ‘Revolving’ all about then ?
SPARK: ‘Revolving’ is about control. It’s about being controlled, losing control and trying to regain it and also has elements of being taken advantage of- in any way that could be done. It tells the story of a girl, the metaphor being a wind-up doll. It goes on a journey with her, starting off with asking to be controlled, needing it and shows a vulnerable girl needing what could be described as love, or affection or anything like that- ‘Just turn me round, wind me up and make me work again, take out my heart, wind it up and make it beat again..’ and then talks about the trickery of that, instead of being controlled in a loving, caring way it becomes the opposite, saying the world should be ready for her ‘This wind up doll hands behind my back, hiding what I’m using for the attack, get yourself ready I’m back…’ and ‘You won’t know I’m under control, someone else tells me where to go, pushing my buttons and squeezing my soul, following directions I don’t know..’ – It’s about trust being broken, pressures of the people we choose to surround ourselves with and the results of doing that, the results of giving yourself away and allowing someone else that control over you.
It’s actually pretty deep and has a big underlying meaning, for me at least. Although, these are things that I think of and things that I wrote, I always want and like to leave my songs open for interpretation. This song may mean something completely different to someone else, and that’s what it’s there for. I feel like once you write a song and put it out for people to hear, it becomes their song as well and that entitles them (or us, because I do this as well) to have their own opinions on what songs mean to them as individuals, picking out different parts of the songs because certain words mean certain things, while others don’t. That’s how it works. But if you just don’t get it at all, maybe it could make more sense understanding the things going through my head when I wrote it! And that is all the above!
VP: Marina and the Diamonds is big fan of your work, you also toured with her, how did she find out about you and how did you enjoy the tour?
SPARK: Marina was introduced to me and my music by my manager only a matter of months ago, and after she had a listen to the songs on my myspace she asked if I was around in May to support her on her tour. It was as unplanned and spontaneous as that! It happened really fast and was only decided about 2 weeks before tour started- if that?! The tour itself was incredible. It still feels like I dreamt it. Marina is amazing. She has something seriously special and it was an absolute honour to support her, there are so many things I’ve taken with me from the whole experience and Marina’s support is priceless. Loved it! (Understatement!)
VP: When I was 18, before the war, the thought of public performances terrified me; luckily I had absolutely no talent. How do you explain the desire to want to go out and perform songs in front of an audience?
SPARK: Haha! Well I don’t really have an explanation. There was never a time in my life that I said to myself, or to anyone else ‘Hmmm, I think I want to sing!’ Or ‘I want to perform’ or any of that. It literally has been as natural as learning to walk or talk. I never questioned it, I just ran with it- and now here we are!
VP: People have compared you to everybody from Toyah to Kate Bush; do you find comparisons annoying, lazy, or flattering?
SPARK: People will always make comparisons. It’s a way of people being able to make sense of something new. That’s why we’re a society that relies on genres, even though most artists don’t like putting themselves or their music in categories or boxes. But it helps people make sense of it all, and that’s okay. Comparisons can work in both good and bad ways. Some I think are lazy, definitely. I understand the need for people to compare, so I don’t like to call it annoying, although sometimes I don’t agree with what’s been said. Most of the time I find it flattering though. Being compared to Kate Bush, Toyah and all the others is an honour! They’re incredible, no complaints from me! Even when I don’t see it myself, I’ve been compared to amazing, strong, successful women and that can’t be anything but flattering. Could definitely be worse!
VP: So we’ve established your views on comparisons, but how would you describe your music to somebody who’s yet to hear your work?
SPARK: I’d say edgy pop. I guess its pop music! But slightly left field possibly, because it’s not bubblegum- it’s deep and personal. Each song I write has a different part of me in it and has been written because I have something I want to write about, never because I want to write a pop song. But for the sake of the public! It’s probably best categorized as pop music. So pop music with a personal, edgy twist. Or I’m sure it can also go under so many other categories! It’s, as always, open for interpretation for whatever makes it easier for people to understand.
VP: How do you go about song writing, do ideas just pop into your head, or do you sit down and think ‘today is a good day to write a new song’?
SPARK: It varies. Lyrical ideas pop into my head because of situations I find myself in, others in, relationships I have, relationships I see, people I have something to write about. I take those literal things and try and make something poetic, and I let my imagination run with it. I never try and force a song out, if it’s not working- it’s for a reason. But when it’s working I can feel it in the pit of my tummy and that is one of the best feelings ever. The same I get on stage. When I start writing I don’t usually stop until the song is done, which always tends to be really fast, because I see my songs as moments in time. I was feeling a certain way, then, and wrote a song that in some way portrays that. And I don’t go back and try and change them to get a hook or a killer chorus because like I said before it’s not about writing a hit or a great pop song, it’s so much more personal and real than that, whether that results in a banger or not!
VP: So you were born in my hometown, Liverpool, but then moved to London. Can we claim you as a scouser when you’re hugely successful please?
SPARK: Haha! Technically, yes! I was born in Fazakerly! My mum and her whole family are from Liverpool, but I’ve lived in London my entire life and I am a London gal, BUT I support Liverpool FC though! So definitely a whole load of scouse in me!
VP: Did you give your image a lot of consideration or is this pretty much you? You’ve said on your blog “If people think I’ve been manipulated or changed or altered or constructed or then they mustn’t have really known me in the first place!”
SPARK: I’m afraid this is 100%, without a doubt, most definitely me. The good and the bad! My ‘image’ isn’t and wasn’t ever thought out. I obviously give consideration to it; a chick needs to look presentable! But I rock what I want! It is definitely true that I’ve never been and never will be manipulated or altered or constructed. That blog was written in defence of the people I have chosen to work with. I rock with the best! It’s insulting for them, and of course for me, when it’s assumed that they would change or attempt to change me. It’s an impossible task! I’m too opinionated and set in my ways for that! Although obviously I’m growing and developing all the time. But I know what I like and I know what I don’t and just as I wouldn’t let that slip or forget that, the people I work with would never try and change it, or me. Those assumptions are lazy! Again though, I understand how lazy assumptions can be made when there is manufactured pop and all of that going on, but it was important for me to put my feelings on that out there when I wrote it (ages ago?!). I’ll give the facts and my own opinions and then people can and will judge and decide from that. But honesty is the best policy; I was honestly frustrated at those assumptions and comments so threw my facts and opinions out there for people to read. That’s all a gal can do!
‘Revolving’ By Spark
- Marina and The Diamonds interview (The Von Pip Musical Express)
- INTRODUCING Spark with her debut Neon Gold single in November (hangout.altsounds.com)
- The Barometer: Big Deal; Gruff Rhys; D/R/U/G/S – Love/Lust; Egyptian Hip Hop; Spark; The Hundred in the Hands; Sea of Bees; Weezer (independent.co.uk)
- Marina & The Diamonds Single Plans (idiomag.com)
- New band of the day – No 889: Paper Crows (guardian.co.uk)