Michelle Sparks: there's something powerful about electronic music

Today we are pleased to welcome our next guest, Michelle Sparks!

Following one of her most successful years in the studio to date, internationally celebrated US techno sensation Michelle Sparks steamrollers into 2022 as she unveils her next huge release on the one and only Octopus Recordings with Yakuza. Released in January, the relentless six-minute cut delivers everything we've come to expect and more from the Phoenix-based artiste, who was specially selected by head honcho Sian to open the brand new Warehouse Focus VA compilation on the label's more underground leaning subsidiary, Octopus Warehouse Series. We caught up with Michelle from her home in Phoenix to find out more!
Hello Michelle and welcome to Radio Intense! How are you today?
— I'm good thanks, thanks for having me!
Where in the world are you right now?
— Right now I'm sitting in Phoenix, AZ at my favorite coffee shop, Provision Coffee.
What's the electronic music scene looking like in Phoenix, AZ at the moment?
— It's been kind of in flux since the pandemic, but the underground scene is definitely growing out here. There's a big mainstream EDM & bass house scene out here, but it's been nice to see a solid following of people joining the deeper side of things the last few years. I also started a techno event series called 'Circuit' out here almost 10 years ago with fellow artist Juheun, which has helped build a community of like minded electronic music fans together and expose more people to techno in the Phoenix scene.
We've got your recent release 'Yakuza' on Octopus Recordings on repeat. Can you talk to us more about this record?
— I made that record over the summer last year, and went for a stripped back & raw warehouse vibe with it and the acid bassline gives it a wicked groove. I was daydreaming of a trip to Tokyo when I was trying to name it, (one of my favorite cities & one of the most inspirational places I've ever traveled to) and so it ended up being called Yakuza! ;)
You've been releasing on Octopus for a number of years now. Can you tell us about your relationship with the label and about how you first connected with Sian?
— Well, Juhuen & myself booked Sian for one of our 'Circuit' events out here in Phoenix many years ago and the relationship just kind of took off from there organically. I started sending him some music and we kept in touch after the event he played, and from there he picked up two of my tracks for the first release I did on Octopus Black Label! I also have been involved in playing many of their label showcases and on their livestream Twitch channel during the lockdowns last year.
Going back to your early partying days, can you tell us when you fell in love with electronic music?
— I have to say I fell in love with the energy and the vibe that these parties had back then. The underground scene always appealed to me more than clubs pumping out radio hits, there's something so powerful about electronic music and the culture that it cultivates and that really drew me in. I started off in NYC in college going to warehouse parties and then moving back to my home state of Arizona I immersed myself in the music out here as well. It's been quite a journey and it's been so wild to see how much it has changed over the years.
Why did you choose to pursue techno over other genres of electronic music?
— In the beginning I was listening to all kinds of electronic music, but after awhile someone brought me to a Plastikman show, and after that I was hooked. The stripped back raw power of minimal techno completely took my ear and I found it so inspiring how they made so few elements sound so powerful. I take great inspiration from those early minimal techno pioneers even today.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
— I think being in charge of my own destiny and having the power to control the future of my career by creating and sharing my art. Art of any kind is something that we can give back to the earth & the people who live on this planet with us. Each of us consumes so much from the world around us and being able to give a gift like music back to humanity is so powerful.
And what do you struggle with the most?
— I think time management is one of my biggest hurdles. Really trying to switch that around this year lol.
Looking forwards, do you have any specific goals or objectives you would like to achieve this year?
— I'm currently finishing up loads of new music and I'm hoping to get that put out this year. Also I definitely want to see live shows getting going again so I'm hoping to hit some of my favorite cities this year and drop some sets for all you crazy techno lovers out there!
Finally, do you have any other projects coming up soon that you'd like to share with us?
— I don't have any I can drop any info about yet, but definitely keep an eye on my website & socials for some news soon ;)