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Yellow Red Sparks Catches Fire, Tours the Country

Yellow Red Sparks, Interview, Q&A

Yellow Red Sparks began five years ago as the moniker for solo artist Joshua Hanson, but it wasn’t until Hanson added Sara Lynn Nishikawa and Goldy two years ago that the band became a serious focus.

In January, the indie-folk trio released its debut, self-titled album produced by Ted Hutt (Gaslight Anthem, Lucero). It’s safe to say the 11 tracks were in good hands, as they were mixed by Ryan Hewitt (Avett Brothers, Red Hot Chili Peppers) and mastered by Brian Lucey (Sigur Rós, The Black Keys).

On Friday, June 28 in Phoenix, Yellow Red Sparks kick off a month-long tour across the United States. The show begins at 7 P.M. at Pub Rock Live with Gus C and closes with Nashville rockers Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown.

Read The Spec‘s interview with Yellow Red Sparks below and don’t forget to purchase tickets to see the band live on June 28…

How did the three of you meet and form the band?
When Josh was playing these songs solo, Goldy heard the CD of Josh’s music that was circulating among a mutual circle of friends, fell in love with the songs, and decided to record a drum track to all of the songs–unbeknownst to Josh. One day after a show, Goldy played Josh the songs with the drum tracks that he added, and, apparently, Josh seemed to like it. Sara was Goldy’s drum student who also played double bass, so he introduced her to Josh.

Regarding this quote on the band’s website, “Just like being human, this record as a whole goes through many emotions and each song on its own is meant to paint a portion of a picture,” he muses. “I don’t believe that it’s possible to share everything a writer is feeling or trying to convey within 3 ½ minutes of a track.” Is there a particular song you connect to emotionally more than others? Do you feel the album as a whole conveys a complete emotion or concept?
I think I connect to them all pretty equally. It’s hard to say one is more emotional to perform over any others, because they all come from the same source, but if I had to say, then if go with “To Love and Loathe.” It’s definitely not a concept album, but I think it 100 percent conveys the complexity of a personality and all of the different factors that conflict.

Is the band currently working on new music? Can we expect any single releases in the near future?
Josh is always writing, and when the whole band gets together, we will often jam on some of his ideas and help him develop them in that way, or he will come to us with pretty finalized songs that just need drums and bass. Our touring schedule will keep us busy for the summer, but we hope to get back into the studio to record some songs in the near future.

What is the creative process like for developing new music? Is it a collective effort?
Josh writes all of the songs and will usually come to us with a pretty much finished song, and we just add drums and bass. Sometimes, at rehearsals, we will jam on some ideas Josh has been working on, and help him flush those out and develop them into a song.

Upcoming projects, where do you want to go from here?
We hope to just start touring more and reach more people. We also hope to get into the studio soon to record new songs.

If you could pick one thing that stands out above everything else since releasing your debut, what would it be and why?
Touring the country has definitely been a new, crazy experience for all three of us. It is the strangest/most amazing feeling to go to a city we’ve never been to before and meet people that are there to hear us play. We feel so blessed to have this opportunity travelling the country doing what we love.

Creatively, who do you look up to?
We really admire Elliott Smith–he was such a genius songwriter, and he writes from such a genuine, raw place in a way that even if listeners have never been to that place emotionally before, we can still connect to his songs.

What do you love about living in Los Angeles? What would you do-away with if you could?
A great thing about LA is that you really have so many opportunities to fulfill nearly every interest/hobby. I think we would all agree that the variety of different food is a huge plus too. As far as the not so great aspects of LA…the traffic, pollution, some of the LA mentality. I think LA can be great, and there are definitely pockets that we love exploring, but this go, go, go attitude and some of the values can make LA overwhelming at times.

Phoenix is the first stop on your summer tour, correct? What are you most looking forward to during the remaining dates?
Yes, we will be in Phoenix for an in-studio performance for Radio Phoenix in the afternoon on June 28, and then we will be in Scottsdale for our show that night at Pub Rock. We are excited to see more of the country. We will be heading to the south for the first time (some dates in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina), so we can’t wait to see what that is like.

Have you played in Arizona before? What can fans expect at your show on June 28?
We played in Tucson in December last year at Plush when we were on tour with ZZ Ward. We will play mostly songs from the record, and are excited to be back in Arizona!

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