Indie Rock's Best Well-Kept Secret
By Andy Argyrakis, senior music editor, gmclife.com
To alternative and indie rock fans, the name Aaron Sprinkle is one of the most recognizable and respected, if only for the lengthy lists of projects he's been involved with, coupled with artistic innovation on all accounts. He may be a less familiar face to more casual listeners, though chances are even the most unaware Christian music fan owns a CD that he's performed on, written for, or produced. Need proof? Just check out these six degrees of separation, or more literally, a half dozen major undertakings in the switch hitter's career thus far, starting with the scoop on fronting the band Fair, who just dropped the sophomore album Disappearing World (Tooth & Nail).
More than merely Fair
"We really just let our core influences come out with no restrictions," Sprinkle tells gmclife.com of the catchy sound. "It's very Smiths, New Order, Cure, Pink Floyd and Beatles meets 21st century."
While a musician's dream come true, there are plenty of relatable moments for the average listener, thanks to Sprinkle's relatively broad thematic brushstrokes. Seamlessly blending generalities with poetic explorations results in ten equally likeable tunes, a completely unpredictable, accessibly arty exposition.
"I really wanted every line of this record to have weight," he assures. "I wanted to make sure that I could sing every song with conviction. Thematically it's about a lot of the usual stuff: life, love and loss. I'd say it's also about the struggles we face in life and how the only victory we'll ever see over them is through surrendering to Christ."
"It's really a seasonal thing for me," Sprinkle confides. "I write for a specific project and I'm not really in solo mode right now. Maybe someday I'll do another solo record. [As far as my favorite solo CD], I'd have to say [2001's] Bareface, as far as the proper records go. It's the one that really came together the way I envisioned it. I think [2004's] Lackluster is pretty cool though too."
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"The thing that makes the most impression on me is the relationships I develop with the bands," he asserts, shrugging off sales statements or chart placement. "Some of these guys are seriously some of my best friends. Making a record is almost like living together for a very short but intense period of time. Spending up to 16 hours a day with people can develop some serious bonds."
So what's his all-time favorite project behind the boards? It's a difficult question for someone with such a vast catalogue, but one that includes the following: "Acceptance's Phantoms is still such a great record to me," he ponders. "This one seems to still have cult status, especially with a lot of band people. Copeland's You Are My Sunshine was such an amazing thing to be a part of and I feel like I really learned a lot from those guys as well. It's probably the most beautiful thing I've worked on. I still think Jonezetta's Cruel To Be Young is one of the best records I've ever made, but it's such a shame it never caught on. Anberlin's Cities is another great one. I feel like it's possibly the most epic record I've had the honor to be a part of. This is a great example of a group of people with a strong, like-minded vision that really came to fruition."
"Rose Blossom Punch was my first go at 'frontman' and it was a time when I learned a lot of tough lessons and had a chance to make music with some amazing people," Sprinkle recalls. "I still want to find a way to release our EP that never came out."
"Poor Old Lu was such an amazing time of my life," Sprinkle confirms, though he remains humble in the recollection. "It's where I cut my teeth in this crazy biz. I feel like the early '90s was kind of the birth of the scene as we know it today. It was really fun to be a small part of it."
A lasting legacy
About the Writer
Andy Argyrakis is a Chicago-based entertainment writer/photographer who appears in the Chicago Tribune, Illinois Entertainer, Daily Journal, Concert Livewire, Hear/Say Magazine and Image Chicago (to name few). His record label writing credits include Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Curb, EMI and Universal, with additional photo credits for Fuse TV, Live Nation, Nikon, Pollstar, Celebrity Access, Paste Magazine, MTV.com and Vibe.com. He's also the author/narrator of "Access Matthews" (an audio CD tracing the career of Dave Matthews Band) and spends considerable time on tour, including outings with Arlo Guthrie, The Guess Who, Madina Lake (on Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution) and Gospel Music Channel's very own "Gospel Dream" (where he served as season one judge).
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