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Will Sparks

Poll 2021: Will Sparks

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Rising star DJ/producer of 2021: “Shortround.”
 
 
Like so many people in the electronic music industry, for Will Sparks, lockdown offered a rare opportunity to reflect, recharge and put things into perspective. The result is a re-energised return to the touring circuit, ensuring first-class performances that offer more than adequate payback to his famously loyal fanbase after spending more than a year apart. 
 
Of course, his revered studio work helped keep audiences connected when the world closed its doors and society shuttered itself as the pandemic took hold. Tracks such as ‘Stand By Me’ and ‘My Company’ are rightly considered some of his finest work to date, tangible signs of how much he has developed as an artist in lockdown, building on a highly impressive back catalogue of tracks that had already cemented his reputation as a leading light of the Melbourne bounce and global electro-house scene. What happens next remains to be seen, but it would be nothing short of an understatement to say we expect huge things from the man in question. 
 
 
How was your first gig back after lockdown? 
 
“About 30 people sitting down, so pretty average. The larger-scale ones since have been a dream.”
 
 
How have the last 18 months changed how you view your work/life balance? 
 
“I didn't realise how important it was to slow down. I've appreciated every day being able to recharge and focus on bettering myself as a person and in music.”
 
 
What further steps should the industry take to combat climate change? 
 
“Promote and spread awareness.”
 
 
What’s the best bit of tech you’ve added to your studio or DJ setup this year? 
 
“Moog Subsequent37.”
 
 
What’s the best album you’ve heard this year? 
 
“Masked Wolf is a great artist coming out of Australia, including his producer Tyron Hapi.”
 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-06 10:29

Style: 
EDM
Best known for: 
“Melbourne sound.”
Tune of the year: 
“David Guetta ‘Let's Love (Future Rave Remix)’.”

Poll 2020: Will Sparks

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This past August, Will Sparks released ‘Kids These Days’, a hard-charging techno banger complete with the kind of spooky, deep-voiced narration that always adds a blanket of darkness to the proceedings.

It was something of a departure for the artist, who’s long been at the forefront of the brightly-hued Melbourne bounce sound, but the Aussie producer is smart enough to know that sticking to one sub-genre isn’t going to guarantee you continued stardom, not to mention a slot in the Top 100 DJs list. He’s certainly not abandoning the anthemic, festival-ready feel of his past work — witness the recent ‘Feel It’, a collaboration with fellow Aussie MaRLo — but it’s always exciting to see an established producer defy expectations.

As for what the future holds, we’ll have to wait and see, as it might be a while before we get a chance to catch Sparks in his natural habitat, bounding about onstage in front of thousands of adoring fans. He does offer this bit of advice to hold us over till then: “Just keep dancing!” 

What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?

“Find a routine in working out. Being able to enjoy weekends with friends and discovering new places in Australia. More time for the studio.”

 

What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?

“To be prepared for the worst, always.”

 

What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?

“To be honest, I have never been a witness to such a horrible and ugly thing. But I have had the pleasure of witnessing many crowds of varying nationalities, races and genders all partying as one at many events. I think dance music brings people together. I love our scene and believe it's extremely inclusive, forward-thinking and real.”

 

What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?

“There are two: Deadmau5 ‘Strobe’ and Dustin Zahn ‘Stranger To Stability (Len Faki's Podium Remix)’.”

 

 

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-19 16:41

Style: 
“Dance, Melbourne bounce.”
Best known for: 
“‘Ah Yeah So What!’.”
Tune of the year: 
“Morten ‘Bombardment’.”

Poll 2019: Will Sparks

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When Will Sparks tells us he “hasn’t stopped touring” this year, we very much believe him. His action-packed tour diary kicked into action on January 5th and barely stopped, taking in dozens of dates across his native Australia as well as stops in the UK, America, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Thailand, Greece, Sweden, Croatia, Italy and many, many more. 
That’s a testament to his work ethic and the career he’s forged with his dynamic Melbourne bounce sound, a ferociously funky big room sound that until recently even had its own Beatport genre page. 
In amongst the globe-trotting, he’s found time to put his own evolutionary stamp on the Melbourne bounce sound including the psy-trance inspired ‘Mangalam’ at the back end of last year and the monolithic beats and bass of ‘Egypt’, which saw his music evolve into psy-trap territory. 
“I’ve been working on music constantly, which keeps me sane,” says Will when we ask about his productivity. All the touring and hard work has brought impressive results, including buying his own house. Maybe this year he’ll get a few nights off to stay home for a night, but judging by his tour diary in the last few years, quiet nights in might have to wait a little bit longer.
 
 
Do you submit your DJ setlists to the relevant royalties collecting society? 

"Management handles this globally for me actually."
 
What more can we do to combat the mental health crisis in our scene? 
 
"We have to make the people aware of how serious this is for hard touring artists. It has definitely taken its toll on me and the only way to get better is to stop. If you have to cancel a few shows then so be it. I think the main people we have to educate is the actual artists. When to say no is really hard. From my perspective, I hate the thought of missing an opportunity. But if you aren’t feeling OK then it’s always better to take some time out, go home and see your family and friends."
 
Are you personally doing anything to improve the gender balance of line-ups?
 
"Personally, I haven’t noticed this to be an issue. It’s up to the booker who they think will make their festival popular for that region."
 
What changes have you made this year to be more environmentally friendly?
 
"I’m well aware of how bad plastic is so I’m doing my best to not buy plastic products. I also never fly private."
 
What was your favourite toy when you were a kid?
 
"I had a Logan toy from X-Men. I loved it until a kid from school broke it!"
 
What’s your guilty pleasure?

"Burgers."

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2019-10-18 13:17

Poll 2018: Will Sparks

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From: Australia
DJ style: “Melbourne bounce.”
Best known for: “Melbourne bounce.”
Fave tune of 2018: “Will Sparks ‘Flakka Flakka’.”
Breakthrough DJ/ producer of 2018: “Fisher.”

Will Sparks has been flying this year — literally and metaphorically. The best known export of Melbourne bounce, the Australian city’s homegrown take on big room beats and snare-rolling, bass-dropping, dry ice-firing fanfare, he spent four months touring Europe over the summer, taking in festivals from Scotland’s Colourfest to Denmark’s Magicbox. It was just part of a packed year traversing continents, with Asia and America welcoming the energetic performer in the early part of 2018 to ensure that he’s been performing non-stop.

Teaming up with Dave Aude and vocalist Luciana (doing her best to channel the spirit of M.I.A.), his latest track ‘Flakka Flakka’ demonstrated his rip-roaring, rip-curling sound perfectly, a succession of finely crafted builds and drops keeping energy levels fully charged. Back on home ground now Down Under, the rest of the year sees him embarking on an extensive The Return tour.

Taking in all major cities, as well as the evocatively titled Surfers Paradise, he’s keeping on keeping on just like the Energiser bunny. “Life is good,” he tells us, unsurprisingly.

Words: JOE ROBERTS

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2018-10-11 09:22

Poll 2016: Will Sparks

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From: Melbourne, Australia 
DJ style: “Fully sick.”
Best known for: “Melbourne bounce.”
What’s the next new big track? “‘Obsessed’ by Joel Fletcher.”
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2016: “Tyron Hapi.”

Will Sparks is a guy you should already be familiar with. Touting himself as a leading light of the ‘Melbourne sound’, whilst you’re more likely to get a witty response rather than anything too serious if you ask him to describe what he plays, we can definitely confirm he is indeed ‘fully sick’. Still in his early 20s, the rate at which Sparks has released Beatport Top 10 smashes is overwhelming — to put it mildly. His breakthrough international bomb, ‘Ah Yeah!’, grabbed No.3 in the overall charts at the end of 2012. 

That work ethic has only intensified since then, and the rewards are already coming thick and fast. Hence residencies at spots like XS in Las Vegas, and a stint on stage at Jay-Z’s Made In America festival, something perhaps made even more impressive considering this guy is not American. Having already been ranked by Billboard magazine amongst the planet’s most exciting young talents, all the smart money in the room is on his ascent up the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs list to continue as his success reaches ever-greater heights. 

What have been the new frontiers for you this year?
“For the first time I’m releasing on different labels — some being renowned, like Spinnin’ and Armada.”

Is electronic music taken seriously enough as an art-form? 
“Yes, I’d like to think so. Anything creative in any way or shape is an art-form.”

What’s the best new bit of DJ/production technology, and why?
 “These days, obviously, touring is much easier — being able to just take USB sticks to play with and a laptop to produce!”

If you had to switch your style to another genre, what would it be?
 “I have deep passion for heavy metal, so I’d probably go pick up the Ibanez again.” 

What can be done to prevent drug-related deaths at dance music events? 
“Pill-testing and educating the public. I also hear that a lot of the causes come from punters taking their whole stash at once because they see sniffer dogs.” 

How can we increase diversity in dance music? 
“Drop the hate. I hope one day there will be a way social media can stop negative activity online. If you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all.”

 

WORDS: MARTIN GUTTRIDGE-HEWITT

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Jon Dommett - 2016-10-17 16:01

Poll 2015: Will Sparks

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Will Sparks is a truly passionate guy. He's passionate about his city, about his music and most of all, about his fans. His dream is simply to see them happy, and, as Will confesses to DJ Mag, he's living that dream everyday.

Rising all the way from No.126 in last year's poll, it's obvious Will is doing something right, but there's evidence elsewhere too. His massive 2014 collaboration with Wiley and Elen Levon, 'Ah Yeah So What', has clocked up over 4.5million YouTube plays to date; whilst his latest single, 'Sick Like That', has already picked up over 250,000 plays on SoundCloud.

Having become a firm favourite in his home nation over the past few years, 2015 has seen the Aussie go for gold on a global scale. Gigging in North America or Europe most weekends, it's not surprising that Will describes his lifestyle as “non-stop”, but he makes it clear to DJ Mag: “I haven't stopped and I won't stop.” 

With that kind of confidence and enthusiasm we're inclined to believe him, and if the electrifying Super Saiyan artwork for 'Sick Like That' is anything to go by, nobody else will be stopping Will either.

BEN HINDLE

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-16 14:56

Style: 
“Melbourne bounce.”
Best known for: 
“Melbourne bounce.”
Tune of the year: 
“Jack Ü feat. Aluna George 'To Ü'.”
From: 
Melbourne
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Oliver Heldens.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“The reading and handling of the crowd.”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“YES!!”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“Definitely, I've learnt that long periods of time away from home affects you greatly, but not permanently. You have to keep fit and healthy on the road to stay stable.”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
“[Anxiety and depression awareness organisation] Beyond Blue.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“Korova - Melbourne, Australia.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“I’m really unsure — there certainly should be!”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“I think many of them simply lack passion, the others are just lazy or don't have a musical mind.”
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