Once again, Viewster is teaming up with the extremely talented singer, songwriter, composer, vlogger, trendsetter, and all around renaissance man Sparkles* to bring our users a unique look into the life of an artist. For those who don’t already know, Sparkles* is the frontman of Area 11, a Bristol-based rock band with a love of Japanese culture and anime.
Sparkles* is the first of many individual content creators to get their own Branded Channel on the new Viewster Channels Page. His channel will feature a series of captivating Vlogs offering a day-by-day look at his past week. Expect segments on cooking, song producing, and general tomfoolery with Sparkles* and a host of his illustrious buddies.
In honor of his new Branded Channel going live on Viewster.com, we’re reprinting an interesting conversation we had with him some time ago. Enjoy!
Although it’s not on my birth certificate, it actually is my real name. My parents found me as a baby with a note that said “Sparkles*” so they raised me as Tom, but that’s not my real name. The asterisk… The piece of paper was torn off at the bottom so we never knew what the footnote said.
What about the name Area 11?
That comes from Code Geass, which is an anime where Area 11 is the name designated to Japan after the world has been conquered by this big evil empire. It’s a subtle nod that we’re into Japan.
So obviously you’re an anime enthusiast, what are some of your favorite series?
Definitely Code Geass is one that’s really important to us and one we all liked when we first started writing music together when we were back doing the anime theme stuff. I really like Stein’s Gate, I thought that was a really cool self-contained anime about time travel, quite elegantly put together. I really like Evangelion. Also Akira, Ghost in the Shell, that kind of thing.
How long have you been interested in music?
I guess, kind of forever. I got into music really early. My dad played the saxophone and there was always a keyboard in the house. Started playing rock music in bands around the age of 12 or 13. I’ve been playing live gigs for about 15 years.
What other musicians or bands influence you?
The thing about our sound, what we try to do, we don’t try to restrict it to one particular genre. I don’t think we necessarily sound like any other band. We steal and borrow so much from different areas and different genres and different artists. Also we all have such different tastes, none of us like the same kind of music. I like prog-rock, and pop music. Alex, the guitarist, really likes heavy metal. Kogie the bassist quite likes funk music, indie music and the drummer, Leo, likes a bit of everything. It’s all that coming together. Importantly though, bands like Muse, At the Drive-In, The Mars Volta. Jimmy Eat World is actually really important to us. Also a lot of Japanese bands: Fact, Crossfaith, One OK Rock.
I know you wanted to be a filmmaker before you became a rockstar, who are some of your favorite directors?
My favorite film of all time is Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock, so he’s my favorite director as far as how far ahead of the curve he was back in the 1950’s and 60’s, doing stuff that couldn’t be emulated for so long. The stuff he does, for example, in Vertigo is so good that we still haven’t really managed to do those tracking shots and long shots today. I really admire Spielberg, even though he’s kind of derived but he’s got a lot of really good work. I also like Tarantino. These are kind of cliche, but my favorite directors operating today are pretty generic. I really like David Fincher and I like Christopher Nolan as well. I think that everything he does is great. As a cinematographer the stuff he puts on screen is unlike anything else.
Science fiction, but also melodrama. I don’t really like comedy that much. I can probably tell you stuff I don’t like better, I’m not particularly into comedy films. I don’t see them in the way I see other films. It’s like having a chocolate bar, yeah it’s delicious but it’s not a gourmet meal. There are obviously exceptions, for example anything that Edgar Wright did. Shaun of the Dead, definitely his stuff. He treats comedy in a different way, like a beautiful art form which I think is kind of lost in comedy nowadays. Horror films as well have become so homogenised that they’re all boring.
How do you like your eggs?
I’d say fried eggs are my favorite. I like them Gudetama-style.
Courgettes or Serviettes?
If I had to choose, I’d go serviettes because courgettes are just evil…evil cucumbers.
Dogs or cats?
Subs or dubs?
Anime or Manga?
Batman or Superman?
Chips or Crisps?
Chips, which are actually…crisp.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Peanut butter or jelly?
Peanut butter, all day.
How tall are you?
Have you ever eaten a poptart?
So there you have it, an intimate look into the intriguing mind of a consummate artist. If you want to know more about Sparkles* and see how he lives, check out his series of weekly Vlogs right here at his Viewster Branded Channel!