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Participants of interview: Carsten Bentzen and Jens Christian Madsen

For someone who has never heard your music before, how would you describe who you are and what your music is all about?
“We are a duo from Copenhagen who plays electronic based pop-rock with a slight melancholic feel to it. We try to not follow current (and often passing) musical vibes – but instead we have the ambition to create a steady and consistent universe of our own. Our music is not about chart positions – it’s about communicating moods and emotions. And hopefully to be of inspiration to other people.”

You have both been in many other bands before, so what led both of you to Sparkling? How did you got acquainted?
“We meet at an office where we both were working. We found interest in each others music and started jamming on some songs. Although we came from different types of bands (Carsten was leadsinger in a rockband, Jens was playing electronic music) we quickly found that these differences were a strength in creating unique songs. After a few months we decided to make a ‘project’ out of our jam sessions… and named it Sparkling.”

What is the philosophy of the music you’re playing? What is the message and purpose?
“To show faith in our own instincts. And to let the music guide us. A lot of our songs carry a message of love, respect and compassion. Just like them old hippies ;-)”

You have been a support act for Alphaville, are you as much impressed with them as they’re with Sparkling?
“It was a great experience to open for Alphaville in Copenhagen. We were great fans back in the 80s – and still are even though we don’t know their new material as thoroughly as their old stuff. We are – of course – very pleased with the attention Marian Gold has given us after the show in Copenhagen. Thanks.”

What bands are the inspiration and influence in your art? What type of music did you listen to primarily while growing up?
“Acts like David Bowie, Depeche Mode, Talk Talk, Cure, Bryan Ferry, Skinny Puppy… what a melancholic childhood!!!”

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to younger yourself?
“Follow your heart and dreams – better today than tomorrow. Respect the people around you and they will respect you.”

Of all the songs in the album “”Waiting for an accident”, which one would you say was the most satisfying to record and why? Which song on the album do you think would best appeal to critics and music lovers alike?
“The opening track ‘Could it be love?’ – We had a recording session in a summerhouse, and were all boozed up one night. We were jamming over the main theme (the bass-line) and the vocal-line heavily processed through an echo-machine… and within 4 drinks and 15 minutes the song wrote itself… almost. Great night, great hangovers, great song! A lot of people (critics included) have named ‘Stay for a while’ as their favorite – so maybe it’s the most appealing. By the way, ‘Stay for a while’ was the first song we ever wrote together…”

Tell us about your collaboration with Baal.
“We toured with them in Denmark in 2002 and got kinda friends with them. So we kept the contact after the tour. Bj?rn – the lead singer of Baal – appears on ‘Could it be love?’ from our album. And we’ve been performing a few special shows together since. Recently Baal released their album ‘Do you come with special features?’ which is highly successful in Denmark. We have had the pleasure to remix two songs from their album – ‘Odium’ and ‘Copenhagen Streetlights’. We have just delivered ‘Odium’ to the boys and are waiting for their response. It’s possible we will do some other projects together in the future – we share the same fascination of the grandiose stuff…”

Don’t you feel tight in the musical boundaries of Denmark, aren’t you eager to spread your music across the Europe and the world?
“Yes, yes, yes. Denmark is like a small aquarium with a dysfunctional oxygen pump. The musical industry tends to be very focused on one specific musical style at a time. But, then again – we are only 5.5 million people living in Denmark, so…”

Could you please describe the music scene of Denmark for nowadays?
“Actually there are a lot of very talented acts right now. Both the recording and the live scene are very diversified right now. But the audience is still to vague in attending new acts’ live shows. And the radio stations and record companies mostly ignore underground stuff. For instance in Norway and Sweden a wide range of indie acts hit the charts and get solid airplay. We really miss that in Denmark – it would serve the upcoming scene well.”

Please describe the studio and your unique process of recording.
“We have a studio in Copenhagen with all the gear we need. We meet up a couple of times a week to work on the songs, record what’s relevant… that’s about it…”

In Russia a huge amount of young musicians don’t have a possibility to appear on the big stage. How is it going in Denmark? Is it tough to become famous over there?
“Well… We have some talent shows on the TV which is highly popular ;-). But if you mean a kind of ‘break through’ from your musical efforts it is also very hard in Denmark. Both for foreigners and Danes.”

What (who) was the main reason you have picked the music style you’re playing now?
“It must be related to the bands we’ve listened to all our lives…”

What is the main problem in the music of 2005?
“A problem could be what intentions that lay behind the making of music – money, popularity and the like could be dragging down the general quality and progress of the musical scene… Of course it’s very annoying that some people make illegal copies of your music, but that’s a long and very boring discussion.”

What would you like to wish to those who’s eager to become musicians?
“As said – we are hippies, so… Follow your heart 😉 But first of all – write honest songs. And always remember to stamp your lottery ticket.”

June 2005

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