It’s been a hectic year for 20-year old Aussie DJ Will Sparks. Jules O’Brien catches up with him before he lands in Macau to find out what he’s all about…
How is Manila?
It’s awesome, really cool. Played last night and it was crazy. Straight off to Singapore now!
Was it a fun gig? Busy?
Yeah it was really cool – it’s like bottle service here you know, it’s weird… But yeah, still got people up and about.
Have you played in Japan before at all?
Yeah, I played last week in Tokyo. It was incredible.
Where’ve you been so far on your tour of Asia, and what’s been the best place so far?
Only Japan and Manila so far, but it’s been a massive eye-opener for me. Everyone is so hospitable – the way they look after you is on another level, you know? You’re treated so well and they have everything perfect and if you need anything it’s just given to you and it’s all so new for me. You’re looked after usually but never as extreme as it’s been here. Also it’s good to see at both gigs that people know songs of mine that aren’t even released yet. They obviously know my music, which is a plus! The whole Asian culture so far is extremely nice and so refreshing.
You’re going back to Australia soon aren’t you? Do you prefer playing there because it’s home?
Well, I prefer playing anywhere where the vibe is –booming-, you know? It depends what the night’s like; how the people are feeling. It’s not like oh, I’d rather go home and play in Australia, it’s like, I’d rather play anywhere at that time.
What’s been your favourite gig ever?
Ever? Um… Well I’ve had some good ones. I’d have to put them into a top 20, you know what I mean? But obviously the big festivals like Stereosonic in Australia, I supported Avicii and that was really amazing, Tomorrowworld in America, and the Las Vegas gig was incredible -I could go on forever, I’ve had some pretty good ones! I like playing the club gigs as well where it’s close and intimate… Just living in the moment really.
Was everyone completely off their face in Las Vegas?
I’m not sure, I think so. It was a pool party so it was pretty… intense. I didn’t get to see much because I’m not yet 21 – they brought me in about 2 minutes before I was meant to start then took me straight off so I only saw the crowd.
Have you been to Hong Kong or Macau before?
I’ve played in Hong Kong, but I haven’t been to Macau yet. Hong Kong was my first international gig ever and it was awesome. I played in Magnum Club. It was so fancy and so much fun. I can’t wait to go back to Hong Kong. I’m really excited to play in Macau; people have told me it’s going to be the Las Vegas of Asia.
When did you start DJing? Have you always wanted to be a DJ/producer? How did you start?
I started when I was 16, before that I was completely into guitar, which I’ve played my whole life. I was actually into metal… like death metal. My sister used to listen to house music and I never understood it, I hated it, I would never understand what was wrong with her… and I’d be banging out my death metal (chuckles). Then one day about 5 years ago I jumped the back of a fence into a club, and they were playing this Melbourne Bounce kind of stuff, and I never turned back. I just fell in love with this music, I just couldn’t stop – it was like I was addicted to it. I jumped the same club’s fence every week for 3 months because I was underage. I’d just go by myself and watch the DJs play. There were about 4 DJs who played this style and actually produced themselves, and I never went up to them – they came up to me, and were like, “Dude, what are you doing? You’re here all the time, who are you?’ and so I got to know them, became friends with them, started DJing and producing. A whole passion evolved.
Are these guys your direct influence then?
100%. They helped me in every way and once you get a kick-start from someone, learning and grasping the basics – I learned from watching these guys – it will help you go further.
If you could describe your set in 5 words what would they be?
New, exciting, unexpected, dirty, different.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
It’s all just a ball rolling – amazing things are happening so frequently, I get told I’m playing at the best club in the world or at EDC and then Ultra want me then I sign to Ultra and I get all these deals happening. A big highlight would have been when I came second in Australian Top DJs behind the Stafford Brothers. That was really cool, because it was my first ever charting in the Australian Top DJs so I came second then I got the Breaking Best New Artist award. It all happened in a year, I made some songs which all charted on Beatport then I came second so it was all pretty exciting!
I forgot to ask – what’s your favourite death metal band? Did not expect you to be into heavy metal.
I’d say Trivium, or Lamb’s God. And you know what, my style of music is kind of similar in a head banging way, you know? Also, I make a lot of the riffs for it on guitar.
You’ve done production with people like Lil Wayne and Christina Milan, how did you get into that?
They heard my stuff because it was a Stafford Brothers and Lil Wayne collaboration. Those boys know me and asked me to remix it. They know my manager really well so that was done. Same with the Blurred Lines remix, because my other manager Neil Jacobson is the director of Interscope Records, who I have a management deal with. They have all the big people under them, like Eminem and Rihanna, so that’s how my remix got up there.
What do you think is important in a live performance?
You have to be energetic and have a personality. They want to like you as a person, not only your music. You do have to play good music I guess – well, that depends on who you are. You have to do a mixture of songs that people know and your new stuff. I could do a whole set of stuff that people don’t know but I don’t do that, because you have to keep them alive somehow.
If you could pick one other career, what would it be?
Probably playing NFL football. I’d say which team I support but people might hate me for it (laughs).
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
In an amazing house and have loads of my own properties. We’ll see what happens but I think I’ll be still playing, and my style will have changed a lot since music never stops evolving. I’d like to live on a nice beach where it’s hot all the time. Might even have a kid by then.
How about in 70 years’ time when you’re old and decrepit?
I’m going to be on a boat. Super-yacht style. Just chilling on the deck all the time, looking after all my kids and grandkids. It’s gonna be great.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
A Melbourne DJ started playing my stuff and said to me, “Dude, would you rather have money now doing something you hate, or take a risk and do something you love?” So the next day I quit school, quit my job, and went nuts at production, and that month it just rose for me so much. Everything kicked off.