Music by Sean Patrick Harkins
Spahrk has just released his new album "lucid dreams" - a 13 song collection of catchy instrumentation combined with introspective and intelligent lyrical content. Spahrks honest songwriting is a breath of fresh air and touches on thoughts and feelings that anyone hurling through space on a giant ball can relate to. (That's all of you.)
"Well I can learn to let it go.
And Maybe settlin’s not so bad.
‘Cuz the music’s all I ever wanted
And it’s all I’ll ever have."
Your newest album is entitled "Lucid Dreams" - do you have Lucid Dreams? Any songs based on them?
I do have lucid dreams, but none of the songs are really based on any dream specifically. They focus more on the strangeness and the sometimes monotonous state of life. Sometimes days can seem like dreams. I feel myself looking back and asking, “Did that really happen?” and, “Where did the time go?” Often feeling like events in my life that did happen were actually just a lucid dream. Sometimes memories from the distant past feel like yesterday and sometimes my yesterdays seem like they never happened at all, like it was just a lucid dream.
You seem to cover a variety of genres, who are your greatest inspirations?
I draw inspiration from everywhere. This is an aspect of my music that is commonly brought up after people have listened for a while. Honestly, it seems a little weird to me that most musicians focus on one specific genre. I just can’t say all the things that I want to say with just one type of music. I think that’s why my songs end up all over the place. But as far as specific influences, there’s many, many artists across the board that have influenced me. But if I had to narrow it down, I’d say that over the last couple of years as I’ve been honing my “style” or my “brand” (although sometimes I hate referring to my music like a brand) I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from artists like Beck and Danger Mouse who really sweep across all genres of music while creating their own catalogs and producing music for other artists (which I’ve also done).
"See it’s all mind odyssey
My anxiety exhausting me.
I swim through it nautically.
Mad impressed with the distraction."
What is your musical background?
I asked for a guitar for Christmas when I was 11 and never looked back. I play guitar, bass and piano most often but I know my way around ukulele, banjo, violin and cello. I really just love string instruments. I’m always messing around with weird ones (most recently a banjulele) and of course I love experimenting with electronic instruments like MIDIs, kaossilators synths and drum machines.
Our favorite song on the album is “Small Talk”, do you have an interest in philosophy? Is this song based on you/your life/interests?
This track seems to be a lot of people’s favorite. I have a huge interest in philosophy and I tend to be really existential at times. For better or worse, I just really love thinking about where we’re going and why we’re here. I can day dream for hours just pondering on questions like that. But more so, I often get annoyed with the daily rat race of life, as I think many of my peers from the Millennial Generation do. Fake laughs and forced smiles always bother me in social or work situations, but I go along with them out of politeness like everybody else. So I guess this song was just about dealing with that frustration and figuring out how to cope with it.
"I don’t wanna talk about the weather
I don’t wanna talk about your dog
I don’t wanna talk about your children,
How ‘bout the absence of God?"
What is your ideal music career?
My dream is to own a studio here in Austin. I have several friends who worked for studios as engineers and then eventually made the move to buy and operate their own. Specifically, Andy Sharp, who helped record most of this record at Music Lane Studios, has been a huge inspiration for me. Of course, I still love performing live in whatever venue and I plan on continuing to perform…well, really until I can’t anymore and have to be committed or something haha! Obviously playing stadiums would be glorious. I mean, who wouldn’t want 10,000 people goin’ bonkers over your music? But realistically, I think as long as I continue to proliferate new music and continue to spread it, I’ll find solace.
What is your songwriting process?
Every song is different. Some take years (yes, years!) to finish. Others have come to me in a split second and been finished in an afternoon. The binding similarity through all of them, though, is that they are repeated through different mediums before ever becoming a recorded track. For instance, a lot of my tracks start out as a string of ideas/lyrics that I literally text to myself, then I’ll go back later and translate these ideas to a notebook where I’ll continually rewrite and regurgitate them until I make a demo version in my home studio before finally taking the song(s) to be recorded in a proper studio.
"Every Monday morning
Life just seems so boring
A big ‘ol oyster. But no pearl.
Saturday night I rule the world."
-Every Monday Morning
Favorite song on album and why?
Probably “Every Monday Morning” because I find it really catchy and listenable, but it’s also the 2nd oldest song on the record (the oldest is “The Same,” which was written in 2014!), so it just feels really good to listen to the final, polished version after so many years of performing it live but not having a recording. I also really like “Awake” because it features one of my closest friends on vocals (Tate Fryar) and it’s so weird and different for a hip-hop track and I just love what Tate did with the verses.
What's next for "Spahrk"?
I’m actually getting ready to go back in the studio in August to record another EP. The songs are all finished, which is great, I just need to polish them in the studio. I’m always out gigging in the Texas area, playing open mics and straight up busking between official shows. I’ve gotten into giving away hard copies on my album on the streets, which is always super fun since people are pretty receptive when you just hand them a free CD. I’d love to go on a Texas tour and then maybe tour outside of Texas as soon as possible, so that’s my next goal, really. Until that happens, I’ll be playing around the Austin area as much as possible.