Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Aaron Sperske Interview

Aaron Sperske

Bands: Beachwood Sparks, Lilys, The Miracle Workers, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, and The Pernice Brothers. Aaron also played drums on the Elliott Smith song "Coast to Coast"

Location: Los Angeles, CA

JR-How have you been Aaron? I see your still in the L.A. Area?

AS-Life is good. Always room for improvement but good. Thanks for asking. I am in L.A.,born and bred and I likey!

JR-Some artists have left L.A. Do you think you would ever live anywhere else?

AS-Well, I did leave L.A. for 5 years and moved to New England. I was rummaging up and down the east coast with the Lilys, a band I still play with from time to time.

JR-I first saw you play in San Francisco at The Cafe De Nord with Beachwood Sparks. You have been in several bands since then. You seem to be in demand. Is there a lot of work out there?

AS-Well, I think my seeming to be in demand is an illusion for the most part. I pretty much play music with my friends and maybe I have a lot of friends so it seems I'm in demand. I don't think I've ever done a cattle call gig. I stay busy by doing stuff, not by waiting to be paid for my services before I lift a finger. I love to sing and play and arrange/compose/record/perform music so that's what I'm more about than being the ultimate session dude.

JR-Have you talked with any of The Beachwood Sparks members lately?

AS-Yeah. I talk to Farmer Dave the most. I'm in touch with Chris and Brent as well on a fairly regular basis. We've been kicking around the notion of making a 3rd L.P. for a couple years now, so we'll see what happens.

JR-What's it like playing in Ariel Pinks Haunted Graffiti?

AS-It's really great! I've never pushed myself in any of the bands I've been in the way I do in A.P.H.G. And there are so many styles and songs that it never gets boring. It rules.

JR-I saw Ariel Pinks Haunted Graffiti on the Jimmy Fallon Show. Was that a blast to do?

AS-I was a little bit nervous and I don't get nervous very often. It was a blast once it aired I could breath again. But I wasn't thinking to myself that day "What a blast!"...more like fuck, I sound pitchy and I just dropped the beat and Questlove's lookin over here like we're chumps...ya know?

JR-Are you ever using a click track or backing tracks when performing live in Ariel Pinks Haunted Graffiti?

AS-We don't use backing tracks ever...some loops off of pedals once in a while but I use headphones in place of in-ear monitors for a full mix. I clock the intros to a click but I use a mix of phone/drum fill monitors and click/no click live so the headphones make it easier to switch between the two.

JR-What's the hardest song you ever had to play as a drummer?

AS-A Pharaohs Slave (Leo Ryan) by the Lilys.

JR-Who are some of your favorite drummers? Who did you grow up on?

AS-Jim Gordon is my fave rock guy. But Moon, Bonham, Mitchell we're the drummers I grew up on. I love Lucky Lehrer, Hugh Grundy, Elvin Jones, Billy Cobham, Richard Manuel, Chuck Biscuits and so many more. It's a hard question to answer fully.

JR-What kind of drum kit are you playing these days?

AS-I've been playing C&C drums for the last few years. I was able to design my own kit which was based on a '63 Slingerland. I destroyed it by using it for touring purposes.

JR-How do you prefer to tune and or set up your drums, any special nuances?

AS-Well, it depends. With A.P.H.G., I tune the drums low and dampen the heads to the max but with Beachwood Sparks, I like a very responsive sound which requires a tighter top head and way less dampening for lots of 'feel'. In the Lilys, I tuned the drums in a 60's way with a ringy, rackety, thin membrane/high tension approach. It just depends on what your going for really.

JR-Any plans of touring with any groups in 2011?

AS-My plans lay with A.P.H.G. for the foreseeable future. I've been in the band going on 4 years now and put a lot of effort into it. It's what I'm into these days..

JR-What has been your favorite show so far in your career?

AS-Probably the last one I played. I'm always stoked when this so-called career continues on and I"m able to base my progression on the present state of my art. Past accomplishments seem to fade away almost overnight.

JR-If you could only take one record and one movie to a deserted island, what would they be?

AS-'Blues for Allah' by the Grateful Dead and 'Withnail & I'.

JR-Where can fans check you out on the internet for the latest news?

AS- For the now I would say the Haunted Graffiti Facebook fan page is good place to start. I don't have a blog or anything. Cheers and Thanks!! x

Ariel Pinks Haunted Graffiti on Facebook

JR-Aaron it has been a pleasure to do this interview with you. I look forward to seeing a live show soon. Keep us posted man.

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