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Frankie Sparo

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One has the impression that your songs are very intimate and personal, so to what extend can you work with other artists?
I love working with other people. I just don't collaborate well in a democratic setting. Some bands make great music that way, but I like to know there's a driver at the wheel when I'm working. Whether or not the songs are personal has nothing to do with it. The songs could be about life on mars; I still wouldn't let some drummer come in and re-write all the verses. The same goes for helping with someone else's project: I want to show up and be told what I'm there for. Let the ideas roll from that specific starting point. I understand control-freaks.

Did the work with ASMZ change the vision of your compositions?
Well, yeah, having a string section at your disposal does tend to open up the arrangements. I've been working with most of them in one way or another since we made the first record, though, so we knew where we were going. They're amazing, I watched their set almost every night while we were on tour together. They have a distinct understanding of repetition. They understand every device they use-- how it works, when to use it, and why-- instictively. It didn't make me want to start writing dark orchestral instrumentals, if that's what you mean. There's enough of that going around, and most of it is garbage.

You play with silence and space in your compositions, which is very similar to the approach of some jazz artists like Bill Evans or Paul Bley. Is jazz an influence for you ? If it is, what artists would you mention ?
Jazz theory actually really intimidates me; I can't read music, don't get all the references. It sometimes seems like I'm only getting half the picture. Especially some of the more contemporary free jazz and improv; a lot of it seems to resist being listened to in a purely intuitive way, by non-players. And, you know, fair enough. I still listen to a lot of jazz, and I guess I know what you mean, maybe in terms of atmosphere. The approach isn't the same though; I don't have that studied, methodical background.
I'm not too familiar with Bill Evans or Paul Bley. I just asked Thierry about them and he said the similarity is that we're all white. I like Mingus. Let My Children Hear Music. And Coltrane. Alice Coltrane is wild, she's my favorite. She talks about Stravinsky appearing to her in visions, and about John becoming an astral globule.

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