Evan and Jel met while working in London where they quickly discovered a shared love of emotive electronica and many things besides. The records from which they each drew influence seemed handpicked to coincide (and are somewhat of a closely guarded secret). Consequently, Sparking Toys have put together an early prototype in the form of a live EP, displaying a quirky, skillful electronic landscape highly regarded by legendary record producer Alan Parsons and Mute Records sound wiz Paul "PK" Kendall, who has said 'this is simply beautiful'. Ruby Ocean talks to the duo.
Describe your sound.
Jel: High density...
Evan: Chilling electronic themes with a punchy organic sound and plenty of twists. Our stuff ranges from downtempo chillwave-esq pulsers to pumping, bass driven ditties.
Jel: I think he rehearsed that line.
Tell us about your name.
E: It is what it is... kind of fitting. No interesting story.
How did you meet and start the band?
J: Although we have only just hatched this project, we met working in a music tech shop way back in 00's, and discovered that a lot of records from which we each drew influence seemed to coincide. We found that whether listening to some obscure electronic offering or the most über of pop songs, we always concurred.
How do you create?
E: When we're putting together the live set, we focus on the task at hand, which requires a certain way of setting up our gear, and a sort of architectural mindset. We get into situations where things that were in separate songs come together and do a kind of interlude in between tracks that wasn't planned.
J: An opportunity to get something new going, you know the happy accident thing... When we are just purely 'writing' we get a flurry of ideas that get densely layered, sometimes so deeply that we have been known to use the expression 'sculpting', as we chip away at the thick wall of parts we previously created.
E: You know, letting the right things transpire and all that...
What single thing inspires you to make music?
E: It’s just a need. Take a listen and all will become clear!
Tell us about your live set.
E: Well more than just the two guys-with-laptops extension of DJing scenario being heavily pre-sequenced, the material provides us with many live parts that originally had a lot of sound design attention. From this, we only retain the main 'umph', the core elements, then add as much live playing as we can. Sometimes random moments of greatness can come out of nowhere, and hopefully we've learnt to grab them!
J: We don't sync the two Ableton computers... I run the core drums, bass and fx and constantly mash up the sound. Evan plays all the live parts and triggers further samples and sequences etc. He has to be right on the money and maintain visual contact with me because it could go out of time at any moment. But we don't want to sync up.
E: We want to keep it organic. There's plenty of sound mangling and analogue synth riffing.
J: And the song structures are never the same for any two given performances.
When's the album out?
E: What we do have is an early prototype in the form of a quirky live EP "Invisible Landscapes"
J: For now we are just concentrating on booking more shows, around London mainly.
What's next for you?
J: Well after the reaction we recently got at our first gig, we just want to play it live and get out there more. We want to go into Europe and play, there's this thing going on in the north of Spain, with some promoters we know doing some electronic nights that seem right up our street. I'm glad to say we are in embryonic talks to play over there... Also, we will soon be playing as guests at some 48-hour party in the hills of Ibiza, according to some rumours!
E: We are definitely getting together as soon as we can with Paul 'PK' Kendall who is a mate of ours. PK is a fantastic engineer and artist and all round great bloke, who has a great history with Mute Records, so who knows...
Visit their site here to find out more