Chrome Sparks is the project of Jeremy Malvin, a Brooklyn musician trained in classical percussion. The act originally started out as a bedroom recording, but Malvin has put together a live band when he takes it on the road. As a matter of fact, Chrome Sparks is currently opening for Anamanaguchi, with a tour that ends Tuesday, June 11, at the Echoplex in Los Angeles. Chrome Sparks opening for Anamanaguchi seems like a real point / counterpoint thing. Is it the calm before the chiptune storm? Yeah, my music is definitely a hundred times more chill than theirs. I'm confident it'll make sense live though. We're both live bands having fun onstage with electronic music, so I imagine that people will be able to vibe to the concert as a whole, regardless of the severe mid-show tempo acceleration. How'd the pairing come about? I actually met Ary from Anamanaguchi a long time ago, before he was in the band. His sister and I became friends at summer camp when we were around 14. I went to visit her in LA and saw Ary playing on his Gameboy with headphones, or at least I thought he was playing. Ends up he was composing. Now, coincidentally, Ary and I live a block away from each other in Bushwick.
There's a real Italo-disco thing going on with the Sparks EP, especially on "Marijuana." Are you influenced by that scene, and if so, who?
The heavy sample I used on "Marijuana" is actually from a disco track that came out a before Italo emerged. I can't say that this EP or the track were influenced directly by Italo, but I can say that I'm a huge Italo fan and it might have seeped through the cracks, under my radar. I also might have scooped up a few drum sounds from Italo star (is there such a thing?) Gary Low on "Cosmic Claps Of Love." I really, really like Gary Low.
Everything I've read about Chrome Sparks makes mention of the fact that you're a classically-trained drummer. What, exactly, does that mean, and how do you get to be that sort of thing?
The centerpiece of my entire life up to the point at which I dropped out of school was percussion. I got my first drum set when I was 2, started taking lessons at 5, went to a performing arts high school, attended camps and seminars every summer, and then went on to study percussion in college. All of this has more than strongly influenced my music making, it's the foundation of my musical ideologies and the core of my compositional process.
How does it apply to the making of your music -- or is it just an interesting factoid they can put into your PR materials?
If you think sex sells, try classical percussion.
I've noticed that you put together a band in order to do this live. It's not just you and a bank of sequencers or a laptop. Who joins you onstage as Chrome Sparks, and what do they bring to the equation?
My best buddies Jesse and Bill join me for the live show. I've known Bill since high school, when we were both percussionists in the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. Jesse, also a percussionist, I met through a mutual friend at a bar in Williamsburg about a year ago. They're both stellar musicians and I knew they'd be able to play anything in any weird setup. There's more life in the music with these two groovy dudes on stage, banging on drums and synths and dancing around with me.
More importantly, how does the music change when other people factor into the creation?
I put this specific setup together to sound as much like the album as possible, but we still open things up to make them more engaging in a live situation. This setup gives people the chance to see pieces that were heavily multi-tracked and edited in a completely different context, one that lends itself better to live performance. he guys are bringing more to the equation than people who just plays the right notes. Like I said, they're two groovy dudes and we just have a blast with it on stage.
Chrome Sparks play tonight at the Marquis Theatre in Denver. The rest of their dates opening for Anamanaguchi follow. You can buy the Sparks EP (pressed to 500 copies on white vinyl) from the Chrome Sparks website.
6/01/13 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Shred Shed
6/04/13 - Vancouver, BC - Biltmore Cabaret
6/06/13 - Seattle, WA - Chop Suey
6/07/13 - Portland, OR - Backspace
6/09/13 - San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Shop
6/11/13 - Los Angeles, CA - Echoplex