Enzo Sprigg talks us through his craft

25 Sep 2017 by staff in Interviews
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Enzo Sprigg is a creative electronic music singer-songwriter, as well as a visual artist who illustrates his own album covers, creates the costumes in his videos and has even hand drawn and animated videos for his songs. Sprigg has just recently thrown down his therapeutic and cathartic 12-track “Cosmic Bipolar Nebula”, his third album. It’s with his continued freedom and internal exploration that Enzo Sprigg returns with a new recording, while showing a mature growth from his earlier releases. Inspired by a wide range of artists from Bjork, Goldfrapp and Gary Numan to newer artists like IAMX, Chelsea Wolfe and Purity Ring. He fuses his smooth vocal style with avant garde elements to craft songs that are as original as they are intimate.

  1. How long have you been doing what you’re doing and how did you get started in the first place?

Enzo Sprigg: I’ve been singing my entire life. Growing up I joined bands and loved playing music with my friends. Over time though I became much more interested in crafting original songs and really learning how to write something unique and memorable. I started writing my own songs somewhere in my early 20s but I didn’t start releasing my material until a few years ago. Before that my music was a personal thing. Something I did just for the pure pleasure of it. That still hasn’t changed but now I make it a point to release albums into the world so I can move on to the next project.  My ultimate goal is to have a full catalogue of songs I’m proud of that listeners can discover as they learn about me.

  1. Who were your first musical influences that you can remember?

Enzo Sprigg: I think the biggest (and first) music artist that influenced me was David Bowie. In many ways, he has always been my blueprint. People talk about him as a visual icon but what I admire most was his adventurous songwriting and willingness to grow. The way he played with different genres and always seemed to find his voice within them. This is something I have always pushed myself to do within my own electronic music.

  1. Which artists are you currently listening to?

Enzo Sprigg: Drab Majesty is a big one for me right now. I love their sound.  They, like me are influenced by 80s music but add something original and new to it and are not just emulating.  I also like a newer industrial band called Kanga. Reminds me of early NIN songcraft but written from a female perspective. Great stuff.  I’m always actively looking for new electronic artists that are doing great things within the genre that go beyond the obvious.

  1. Do you remember the first piece of musical equipment that you actually purchased? And which is the one piece of hardware or software you’re still looking to add to your collection now?

Enzo Sprigg: I clearly remember my first keyboard. It was a Yamaha PSR 500.  My sister helped me buy it.  At the time, it was an amazing piece of hardware for the price. It ended up being a huge help in my early songwriting attempts.  These days I’m very Reason software centric so I’m always looking to add new rack extensions to my setup. It’s very easy to get lost in gear so I have this rule. If I’m going to buy something new I must try to write a new song with it on the first day that I purchase. I’m happy to say that’s worked out well so far.

  1. How and where do you do most of your recording and production work?

Enzo Sprigg: I have a studio space in my house. A proper place where I can focus on my songs. I also made a vocal booth space in the garage for live recording.  By day I’m a video game developer and that can be very demanding of time so I have to be very disciplined with my spare time. Having a setup at home helps me not procrastinate and helps get the recording and production work done. I don’t think I would have released 3 full length albums in 3 years without it.

  1. Studio work and music creation, or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

Enzo Sprigg:    At my center I’m a singer/songwriter so crafting songs is what drives me.  I also love singing with or without an audience around. I can’t think of anything more challenging than putting together a full-length album of music entirely on your own.  When you’re finally done the sense of accomplishment is overwhelming. At this point I think I’m addicted to that feeling.  As far as playing live I’m still working out how I’d present that. I would hope to do something strange and out of the ordinary. I’d be more interested in doing performance art than any sort of conventional band performance.  I think that’s why I enjoy making videos. I can show myself to the listener but it’s more than just a basic performance thing.  I can express myself artistically as well.

  1. Which one of your latest original songs gets your emotion and adrenalin pumping the most, when performing it, and why?

Enzo Sprigg: There are two new songs that come to mind right away.  There’s a song called “Prime” on the new album that really gets me going.  I wanted to write something aspirational, upbeat, and hopeful but also honest to what I’ve been through.  Prime captures that for me and so far, it seems listeners are really responding to it.  The second song, also on the new album is “Oh Mother”. It’s probably the most personal song I’ve written and a tribute to my mom.  Her influence and love have made me the creative person I am today and I wanted to express that but the song had to be just right.  When I was recording the vocal I kept getting overwhelmed with emotion. I kept some of that in the final song so hopefully you can feel that in it.

 

  1. On which one of these songs do you feel you delivered your best performance so far, from a technical point of view?

Enzo Sprigg: That’s hard to say since I feel all my songs are not finish until I feel the performance is honest and suits the song best. Maybe “Oh Mother” again since it turned out exactly how I had hoped and people seem to be responding to it.  There are melodramatic trappings you can easily fall into when attempting a song like that and I think I walked the fine line I was hoping for.

  1. How essential do you think video is in relation to your songs? Do you consider visuals strictly as an extension of the song’s lyrical theme or a whole new and separate creative process to present to the public?

Enzo Sprigg: I’m not a fan of doing something too literal with the visual moments in a song so I tend to take things in odd directions. That makes the process more fun and I feel is more interesting for the listener/viewer.

  1. Which one of your videos would you recommend watching to news fans, and why? 

Enzo Sprigg: Well if you want to see me perform and what I look like I’d say my first video “Black Rabbit”. I enjoyed the brooding quality of that song and the video is very odd at times. There are moments in it that are very raw and honest as well:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNI79jKWjoo

Conversely if you want to see something a bit out of the ordinary I’d have to pick “Television Graveyard”. This is the video that I hand drew and animated myself.  It was a lot of work for one person but I love how it turned out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEDBz-k9loU

  1. Illuminate us on your songwriting processes. Do you usually start with the lyrics or with the music?

Enzo Sprigg:  I’m very vocal centric so my melodies tend to start as lyrical ideas.  I’ll start to hear them in my head and from there I’ll work on the music around that idea to fully flesh it out.  Many songs come fast and I can get the raw idea down in a couple of days. From there I’ll try things with the arrangements and just listen over and over to try to be as objective as possible. In this stage, I’ll also have others listen and give me their initial thoughts.  After I feel I know where the song should go I start the next phase of iteration and polish but even in that stage I try to keep the song flexible and not be too precious with ideas.  My goal is always to give each song its attention and really take the time with it. I think the listener can hear when material has that sort of detail put into it. It’s equally important to maintain a sense of energy and spirit so I try not to overthink things either. It’s a very delicate balance but also very rewarding. I feel each song is a huge learning experience so I try not to take shortcuts around that.

  1. If you could change one thing about how the music business works today, what would that be?

Enzo Sprigg: Well I really love premium streaming services and the fact that I can listen to nearly anything I want legally but I also purchase music from artists I absolutely love. This is how I show them that I’m here for them and care about what they produce.  Honestly paying $10 for an album that will become a part of your life’s soundtrack seems like a great bargain to me.  I guess I wish the larger listening majority felt that way and gave music the importance it truly deserves. I think the only people I know that think that way are either music nuts or other artists and that’s too bad.

  1. Tell us something about the basic concept behind your album “Cosmic Bipolar Nebula”?

Enzo Sprigg: I really wanted this album to be psychedelic, introspective, layered, and emotionally honest. The material is a reflection of who I am and how I see the world. This album has definitely been a journey inward. I also pressed myself to explore both the lighter, euphoric side of life as well as the sorrow and painful side. I knew this would make the body of songs dynamic and varied. The album definitely has two polar sides to it which was exactly what I was going for.

  1. How long did it take to complete the “Cosmic Bipolar Nebula” project from its initial creation to the release date? And was it a smooth ride from beginning to end?

Enzo Sprigg: The writing, once I knew where I wanted to go came very quickly. I think I had the full album written in 3 months! From there I focused on getting the production and recording quality just right. When starting an album, I do a few things that help me focus and get it done. First, I’ll come up with the name and broad concept. Then I’ll think of some keywords I’m shooting for. Then once the writing starts I’ll start putting together the track list. I may remove or replace some songs as I go but this helps me stay on track which is by far the hardest thing to do when trying to finish an album. I did spin my wheels a bit towards the end of this album and took a bit longer in finishing everything but at the end of the day I think the entire project took me a year from start to finish and that’s not bad at all.  Most importantly I’m very happy with how all the songs turned out.

  1. Of all your achievements what do you think can be considered as being a high point of your so far?

Enzo Sprigg: Well I’ve never been one to judge real achievement from external sources. Music is just too personal of a journey for me to do that.  I’d have to say completing 3 full length albums entirely on my own full of material I honestly believe in has been the best achievement so far. Knowing that complete strangers like and listen to it based on its own merits is also a great plus.

  1. Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites, as fundamental to your career, and indie music in general, or do you think it has only produced a mass of mediocre “copy-and-paste” artists, who flood the web, making it difficult for real talent to emerge?

Enzo Sprigg: Who am I to judge anyone else’s music or talent? If someone likes what you do then more power to you. I think anyone who is brave enough to put themselves out there, either onstage or online deserves a certain degree of respect. I do feel frustrated sometimes when I can’t seem to figure out how to reach the sort of audience that would appreciate the sort of songs I write but I would never lay blame on someone else for that.  The truth is I’m learning how to promote myself and slowly but surely, I’ll get better at it.  It seems with every release more people learn about me and I’m happy with that steady progress.

  1. What is the best piece of advice regarding the music business that you followed so far, and what is the advice you didn’t follow, but now know for sure that you should have?

Enzo Sprigg: Best advice that I follow, to believe in myself to get the work done and try not to rely on others to make that happen.  Best advice that I don’t follow but know I should, I need to play live more to bring the music to life.

  1. How would you personally describe your music, in the length of a Tweet, to someone who has never heard your stuff before?

Enzo Sprigg: Vocally melodic, well-crafted electronic music that bridges the gap between synth-pop and industrial.

  1. You’re a singer-songwriter, as well as a visual artist who illustrates his own album covers, creates the costumes in his videos and has even hand drawn and animated videos for his songs? Do you ever collaborate with anyone else, or even take advice from others when working on your creative projects?

Enzo Sprigg: Though I do work solo mostly I don’t create in a vacuum. At work I’m surrounded by many creatives (both musical and otherwise) so very early on I ask some friends there to listen to early versions of songs.  Because we’re all game developers used to reviewing creative work, their feedback tends to be very honest and insightful. You should let others in early so you don’t fall in love with your work too much and miss something obvious. I’d also like to ultimately produce another artist and go behind the scenes entirely. I think it would be an amazing learning experience and would help inform my own creative process.

  1. What is the one thing you have never ever been willing, or prepared to do, in your quest to sustain a successful musical career?

Enzo Sprigg: I would never, ever give up ownership or control of my music for any amount of money. That would be like selling off my fingers for a dollar amount. Honestly, I don’t care if I never make any real money from it. What I care about is what I’m building. A catalogue of crafted, memorable electronic music that I’m more than happy to put my name on.

WEBSITE: http://enzosprigg.com

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