Sparrows is a post-hardcore metal band straight out of Toronto made up of Dan Thomson, Jon Busby, Justin Sears, and Matthew Sears. They released their latest EP, "Dragging Hell", at the end of July, which features punk vocals, alternative instrumentals with some metal bursts. Overall, their sound is unique and they did an excellent job at meshing the sounds so they don't sound like 3 genres coming together, but like an entirely new experience. We stole some of their time prior to the release and here is what they had to say:
With the release of your new EP, 'Dragging Hell' in a couple weeks, what are you looking forward to the most with it's reveal?
Dan: Honestly, I'm really excited just to have people hear it. We've been sitting on it for a long time while things have worked along (as a lot of bands do with records), and I've become more and more anxious to get it out there. It's a good anxious, not a bad one by any means.
You've played some festivals in the past such as South by Southwest, North by Northeast, and Canadian Music Week to name a few, what was your favorite (doesn't need to be one I mentioned) festival to play and how was that experience? What was the most memorable thing to happen to you at a festival?
Dan: I think SXSW was probably my personal favourite. It felt like more of an accomplishment, as it wasn't a Canadian made festival. Not that CMW and the like aren't fantastic festivals, but SXSW really felt different, just because of location alone. It's such a crazy festival, with so many bands and shows going on everywhere, it really is an overwhelming thing. We were also lucky enough to play Ottawa Bluesfest a few years back with Alice Cooper and Iron Maiden. I think that was a pretty surreal experience. The Iron Maiden crew wouldn't let us anywhere near their backstage area (even though our stages were next door to eachother) and seemed rather annoyed that we would even want to see how that worked. haha.
What was it like the first time you guys got up on stage and played as a band? What was going through your heads?
Dan: This is a bit of a tough question, as the first time Sparrows played a show, the lineup was completely different. We actually had our first show as a band in Quebec City (not in Ottawa, our hometown at the time). It was nice to get that first show out of the way before having to face the hometown crowd. A bit less pressure.
The music industry is one of the hardest to break into, do you ever feel like giving up and if so, how do you push through it? Is there anybody in your lives that are especially supportive?
Dan: I think anyone would be lying if they said that they haven't considered stopping at some point. Music is a such a frustrating thing to be a part of. At some point, you have to actually accept the idea of monetizing your passion. For me, that's always a tough balance. I love to tour and do the whole band thing but it's sometimes disheartening to pour your soul into something and then look at all the obstacles that can sometimes exist just to get that out to people in the way you see it in your head. Or trying to get people to listen in a city you've never been to before. I think the balance to that exists as far as being able to actually get out there and play.
How did Sparrows end up developing its sound into what it is today? Do any of you play any particular role in a specific musical aspect, is it more of a well-blended sounded of each of you, or is it all that you share a similar vision?
Dan: Sparrows has always kind of had this idea of what we've wanted, although I don't know if that really becomes a narrowed point, musically speaking. There is obviously things you hear in our songs that slant towards what we love in music (loud guitars, heavy quiet dynamics, loads of effects). When it comes to writing, it's a pretty democratic process, but I tend to be the person trying to keep things on point as far as what can be useable and what might be a bit too far-fetched. There is always that idea in the back of our minds to make sure it can be a Sparrows song, but that doesn't really mean anything is off the table.
What is the next step for Sparrows?
Dan: We're just really excited to get Dragging Hell out, and get back on the road. The next couple of months have us touring pretty regularly, before we kind of hide away from some of the winter working on a new record. As much as it's great being able to work on new songs, we all get pretty restless being home. So I know we're all pretty happy that the next couple of months are going to be especially busy.
In your experience, what has been the biggest obstacle you have faced or continue to face? If it's in your past, how did you get past it?
Dan: I think the biggest issue, and it's still a current struggle, is trying not to bite off more than we can chew. Sometimes it's really tempting to try and do as much as humanly possible, whether it's touring into the ground or constantly forcing new songs out. We've realized in the last couple of years that it's better for us to make sure we're not doing too much of anything, or not stretching ourselves too thin, so that we are able to do what we do 100%. It's still a struggle now, but I feel like we've gotten a lot better at it.
At what point in your career do you think you'll look back at what you've done and think, "We've made it."?
Dan: For me, I keep getting these kinds of thoughts over and over. When I think back to being 12 years old, and picking up a guitar for the first time, I've pretty much accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish back then. But the list never ends. And I don't think it should. We always want to be writing better songs and continue to try and become better musicians. That being said, if we ever get to play/tour with Moneen, I'd be pretty okay being done after that hahaha.