INTERVIEW: Jeremy Malvin of Chrome Sparks

He grew up in a world of classical percussion music yet quickly began experimenting with synthesizers and sounds as a music student. Jeremy Malvin the previous drummer in the bands Stepdad, Miniature Tigers, and Rich Aucoin, is now the creator of Chrome Sparks, an electro beats mixing project. He started Chrome Sparks when he left the University of Michigan  in order to pursue drumming and touring with the previous bands. He then moved to Brooklyn, New York to pursue his solo act in electronic music as a DJ. He recently released his debut EP in March 2013 called Sparks EP, and he is currently on tour in the US. Malvin usually performs as a three piece set on stage with two friends. B-Sides spoke to Malvin to see how did Chrome Sparks begin and what lies ahead for his music in the future!

So you grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania…Did growing up there influence your musical style at all?

Malvin: Well I was in high school when Bill Fox blew up and that’s when I started getting into a mash of DJing which I guess isn’t really at all what my music is like now, but it’s helped me get into electronic music, and more with working on a computer making music samples and making synthesized sounds. I don’t know if it really shaped my sound as much as it got me into electronic music as a whole.

According to your Bandcamp and Facebook pages, you mention that you have been inspired by a background in percussion and obsessing over synthesizers, can you elaborate how that inspired Chrome Sparks?

Malvin: Yeah, well I started playing drums when my parents got me a drum set at age two, so I just played a lot of drums and started taking lessons and got into classical percussion, and that was pretty much the main focus of my life until I quit school about a year and a half ago. I focused so much time and energy on percussion and classical percussion, that I feel like a lot of the stuff I learned in lessons, classes, and seminars, was much different in the ways that I now think about rhythm, feel, and stuff like that.  Then I just got into synthesizers later on, I don’t know maybe because it had something to do with being so into music school and orchestra, and that whole world of weird tangible, physical music…that looks fun to play with, stuff that synthesizes electronic music, it’s kind of antithesis of what I had been working on for so long.

You were a drummer for the bands Stepdad, Miniature Tigers, and Rich Aucoin, what made you want to pursue DJing?

Malvin: Well I’d always been kind of doing both, I was just better at drumming earlier on and it took longer for the electronic stuff and the DJing to get to the point where I felt comfortable doing it in public and putting myself out there, because I’d been playing drum sets for so long. I was always playing drums in bands from middle school, through high school, and college but it took until later to get into DJing electronic music, so once that got to the point where I could really do it and do things with it, I started to do that and I was at the point of me moving to New York which caused me to look past drums, and I quit playing with Stepdad and focused more on my own music, which was the electronic stuff. But now I actually would really like to start playing more drums..but not good timing I guess.

Do you prefer drumming over DJing?

Malvin: No. I couldn’t say which I prefer more.

You recently released your Sparks EP this past March, are you already preparing work for another album or are you more focused on touring right now?

Malvin: I am working on another album, I want to do another EP before I drop a debut LP. So I have a lot of demos that I want to flush out when I get back to New York in a couple of weeks, and record new sounds and record synthesizers and stuff that I cannot do in a van. But I have over 1o different downloads that I need to flush out and figure out with what I want to do with them.

Do you have any idea of what you would like to call that EP?

Malvin: No idea! It took up until the last second to call the last one Sparks EP. I really couldn’t come up with anything, so I just went with that as a last quick effort, and it’s sunk in, in a nice way and I’m happy with it but it was a hasty decision.

Online you also mention you have not done many live performances, how has touring been for you so far? Are you ever nervous before a show?

Malvin: No, I don’t get nervous with this. I did get nervous with a lot of classical stuff when I had to do solo recitals but not as much with this stuff. I feel a lot more comfortable with it and I have done a lot of performances in other bands, I just haven’t done a lot as Chrome Sparks live because I had to go through a bunch of different live ups and set ups before I figured out what works best, which is with a three piece. At one point I did a show with a five piece, an 8 piece, I did a few shows as a two piece with a live drummer, and I did some solo shows but none of that really resonated with me. So when I moved to New York I put together this three piece and was able to focus a lot of time and energy into making shows work out the way I wanted them to.

You recently played in San Francisco this past weekend at the Rickshaw Stop, was this your first visit to the city or have you been before?

Malvin: I have! We played a few weeks before that show, at the Mezzanine and we had played at the Rickshaw Stop last Fall. So I’ve been to San Francisco and the Rickshaw Stop before and I love it all, so much!

What is your favorite thing about San Francisco?

Malvin: Hmm, I think the people. Everyone I have met there has been really friendly and the overall vibe is very open, forward thinking, I always have a good time there.

Chrome Sparks Tour Dates:

June 14th  The Conservatory Oklahoma City, OK

July 12th Music Hall of Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY

Sept 18th Bluebird Nightclub Bloomington, IN

Sept 21st  40 Watt Club Athens, GA

Sept 22nd Music Farm Charleston, SC

Sept 24th Grand Central Miami, FL

Sept 25th The Social Orlando, FL

Sept 27th Cat’s Cradle Carrboro, NC

Sept 28th Jefferson Theater Charlottesville, VA

Oct 12th Trees Dallas, TX

Oct 16th Knitting Factory Boise, ID

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