Lily Sparks is a rock band from New York consisting of Niamh (Lead Vocals), KG* (Guitar & Vocals), Margaret La Bombard (Bass), Nick Cavagnero (Guitar) and Mick Fumento (Drums). When we checked out Lily Sparks latest music we loved their vibe and commercial rock sound so were delighted when they completed a full feature interview. Read on to find out about what they’ve been working on, what songs they’re currently listening to and what they’re hoping to achieve for the rest of 2011.
Q: Who are you called?
Our band is called Lily Sparks. We came up with the name one night when we were all hanging out and telling war stories about relationships. Our drummer, Mick, told the winning tale. He was dating a chick named Lily and one night he happened to walk in on her attempt to cook him dinner in his apartment. Unfortunately, she had managed to set the kitchen on fire and nearly barbequed his apartment. The whole scene cracked us up so we all started playing with the name “Lily” using various images from the story. Since “Lily Arsonist” didn’t quite cut it, after a number of drinks Lily Sparks was born.
Q: If you could classify your music in a genre or a number of genres what would it be?
Rock with a touch of Pop and Classic Rock.
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
If Heart and Joan Jett had a baby you’d get a hard rocking band with killer vocals called Lily Sparks!
Q: What is your musical background?
Our lead vocalist, Niamh (pronounced “neev”), was born to sing. As a child in Ireland she sang traditional Irish songs, performed in choral groups, played lead roles in musical theater and was awarded a choral scholarship in college. She’s classically trained in voice and piano.
Since landing in NYC a mere 6 years ago, Niamh has honed her craft by playing across various genres and with some of the best musicians NYC has to offer.
One of our guitarists, KG*, has been in all kinds of bands from punk to country and back. She didn’t play music at all as a child but was inspired to give the electric guitar a try after a long discussion backstage with Brad Whitford from Aerosmith. She’s never gotten over it.
Margaret, our bass player, originally played classical trombone. When she moved to NYC she lived with her brother who is a guitarist. Since she had no friends and happened to have a broken foot at the time, her brother encouraged her to learn the bass so he could “get the band back together.” She found the bass to be a natural transition from the trombone.
Drummer Mick has been avidly playing music since he was a child. He has a degree in Jazz Performance from the University of Miami and has played with all kinds of bands. He enjoys everything from funk to jazz to blues and can be found sitting in at the local jam sessions whenever he gets the chance.
Q: How was 2010 for you?
Last year was a great year for our band. We released our debut EP Cooper Cobra in January and we were fortunate to be featured on lots of podcasts and blogs all over the world. We also went on our second trip to Europe last summer where we rocked various stages in London and Ireland. Everyone was extremely friendly and we made lots of new friends and fans. We especially enjoyed busking on Grafton Street in Dublin where we got a whole crowd of people singing and clapping along!
Q: Who inspires you musically?
Our inspirations as a band are quite broad. We love everyone from The Black Keys to Heart, Cheap Trick, Led Zeppelin, The Cure and Van Morrison. We meant really broad tastes!
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals have really peaked our interest this year. Their latest self-titled album is packed to the brim with up-tempo, well written goodness that makes you want to get up and join the party. We love, love, love her gritty vocals and sassy ways!
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
Our dream bands to gig with would be The Black Keys or The Raconteurs. And it would be amazing to collaborate with songwriters like Dan Wilson, Ari Levine or Linda Perry someday!
Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?
The Crash Kings are in heavy rotation these days. They take high energy songs to a new level in a way that is very reminiscent of the Freddie Mercury days of Queen. Our two faves are “Saving Grace” (which has a killer piano opener, solo and soaring vocals) and “Mountain Man” which has an infectious grove that is totally addictive. Great driving music!
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
The process changes from song to song. Sometimes we hit on a melody that is infectious and won’t leave the brain and other times we are deeply affected by an event and the lyrics flow first. The unpredictability is exciting and keeps the music fresh.
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
Both are important. You need a catchy melody to get folks interested and you need great lyrics to keep them interested after that performance. You’re always looking for that perfect marriage.
Q: Where are you based?
Our band is based in the New York metro area: We represent Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island and New Jersey. But we’re always on the move so look out– we may be visiting your town soon!
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
New York is an intense place. In the city that never sleeps it helps to be a night person—and we are definitely not morning people! But it’s full of fascinating characters and unexpected opportunities. You can have a great conversation with a stranger at the bar and then 10 minutes later they get up on stage and blow your mind with their incredible talent. You just never know who’s standing next to you. We’ve had the good fortune of meeting some ridiculously gifted musicians and genuinely talented Sparklers in our various nightlife encounters. It’s not for the faint-hearted but it’s never boring so it suits our personalities to the core.
(BTW, we call our fans “Sparklers.” Anyone can become a Sparkler by joining our mailing list.)
Q: What are you currently working on?
We’re currently working on tweaking the mixes from our new EP so that we can release those tunes in the coming months. We’re also breaking in new band members and writing some new tunes.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
One of our biggest highs was playing at the Taubertal Festival in Germany in the summer of 2009. After winning the East Coast finals of the Emergenza Festival in the US we were flown to Germany to compete with 19 other bands from all over the world. We got to stay in a beautiful medieval town in Bavaria, meet people from all over the globe and see amazing bands like Taking Back Sunday and Flogging Molly. But when Niamh won the award for Best Vocalist that was the icing on the cake!
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
It is time to spread our wings and hit the road. We are planning some killer shows this summer across the North East, so keep checking our website www.lilysparks.com to find out when we roll into your town.
We will also be releasing a new CD in the next couple of months which we are really excited about. It showcases a harder edge but stays true to our melodic core.
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
We are hoping to play for some great charity events this summer but the details are still being hammered out so stay tuned. We’re also excited to be playing some shows along the East coast this summer so hit us up if you have any suggestions or would like us to play a house party!
Q: What do you do to relax?
We’ve all got very different ways of relaxing. Niamh likes to swim and enjoys chilling with her family and friends. KG* likes to keep up on the latest science articles and watch sci-fi. Margaret likes to do yoga and drink. Mick grows herbs and makes his own tomato sauce. (Ladies, he’s a catch!)
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
We’d like to leave you with an excerpt from The Book of Lily Sparks:
Lily Sparks formed from primordial goo festering in a basement on New York’s Lower East Side. In time they saw the light and crawled up upon a stage. There, as electrical charges coursed through their instruments, a sound emerged and it was sparkling…
Editor’s Note: Lily Sparks ooze a rocking style and at Song Revelation we believe that 2011 could be a truly successful breakout year.
If you’d like to learn more about or contact Lily Sparks just follow the links below:
twitter link: www.twitter.com/lilysparksrock
facebook link: www.facebook.com/lilysparksfans
myspace link: www.myspace.com/lilysparksrock
web page link: www.lilysparks.com
soundcloud link: http://soundcloud.com/lily-sparks
reverbnation link: www.reverbnation.com/lilysparks