How did you first start creating music?
I don’t have a musical background and was generally discouraged in this regard growing up. I got to point in my life where I simply had too much bottled up inside myself and had to find a medium through which to get it out. Rap seemed like the genre with the easiest entry level and I set myself the goal of creating a mixtape. I learned as I went, approaching and overcoming obstacles such as not being able to sing, and not having any references of someone creating contemporary rap with an Australian accent. I haven’t stopped since, and I now think the lack of musical training is actually an asset forcing me to be more creative with how I approach my work.
Your latest single ‘Dirt On the Name of Steven’ is out now, what influenced the punk trap sound for this track?
The song itself is nostalgic, looking back at a period of time I am now distant from and comparing it to where I stand today. The Emo/Pop Punk instrumentation by Lil Aaron is reminiscent of the music I listened to in the years during the events expressed in the song’s lyrics.
You have an EP on the way, what different creative elements do you have in store for us?
After the release of my EP I’m going to be focusing on finalising my book. It will be a collection of my ritual photography as well as a snapshot of my personal philosophy as it is in this moment.
But before then I have my most ambitious videoclip yet planned for the first song on the EP, it’s my most favourite song on the EP “Lava”. I don’t want to give it away, but I think it should make people smile, we all need a little bit of escapism right about now.
How has The Zheani Sparkes EP progressed or differed from your previous releases?
I think I approached it with a slightly tighter concept than other projects. I aimed to provide context about my past and give people more insight into the background that shaped me. It came out extremely grim so at the very end I sprinkled a bit of positivity like adding sweetener to medicine.
What did you find most challenging/rewarding during the creation of the EP?
Most of what I speak about on the EP is deeply embarrassing. These are memories I tried very hard to suppress and forget. Making music out of these memories is like alchemy, I take something terrible and make art out of it. Then the memory is out there for everyone to experience and I am no longer as ashamed. Transmutation.
I hope this process will allow me to finally leave all that baggage behind, rather than having darkness hidden inside, I want it out of me. I genuinely want to be a happy person. I hope the reward for my transparency will be getting to move on.
What direction can you see your music taking next?
I want to take a moment and work on some more light-hearted music. However, I’m also considering taking some time to myself in preparation for working on my first album. Technically I’ve released an album-length project, but I’ve never approached them as such.
What are you listening to at the moment?
City Morgue, Grimes, Nicole Dollanganger, Aphex Twin, Young Thug, Bright Eyes, Tracey Chapman, Neil Young, 100 Gecs.
What do you like to do away from music?
Cooking, gardening, audio books, stretching/laying horizontal… Waifu Shit.
What else do you have planned for 2020?
It all depends on when they let us out of the country ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The Zheani Sparkes EP is out on May 29. Stream the latest single ‘Dirt On The Name Of Steven’ here.