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In conversation with Tony Spark

Blissful and sultry

A self-taught musician with an ear for the future, Tony Spark is one of Gilles Peterson’s newest proteges. Having just been selected as one of the nine Future Bubblers, Spark’s horizons just expanded. Singer, songwriter, rapper, producer and multi-instrumentalists- his journey spans all genres and all forms of expression. Bringing that London DIY aestheticism and natural flare for sounds it was a joy to talk with Spark about his recent successes and what awaits him at Future Bubblers.

Hey Tony, how are you doing today?

Oh hey! I am very very well thank you. Currently drinking a smoothie and it tastes awesome…

Living the dream! I just listened to your new single live from Worldwide FM. Innate tranquillity lies between you your music; where does this comfortability come from?

Ahh that means a lot!!! Music has always been my spiritual haven; a special place for me to escape to as well as find myself. Ever since I was younger, I’ve always loved expressing myself through poetry, especially free-form as it sways away from constraints and rules: I hate rules. I like to create from the soul, It’s all about the feels. I’ve always said I want to be as free as the music. George Clinton said it best ‘Free Ur Mind and Your Ass Will Follow’.

The ease of soul is your driving narrative- where do you think your music lies within the space?

As of recent, a lot of people are creating from the soul again and it’s all so exciting to me! I feel like there is now space for everything/everyone, people are starting to loosen up and just be. I see myself next to all the other funky-soulful cats doing their thing right now, so like; Anderson Paak, Thundercat, Masego, Steve Lacey… those guys all got it going on.

I think you just listed our the office playlist! 

… You are also undoubtedly influenced by the world of synth and electronic. Is there a genre you feel most drawn to?

Man… I just love sounds, no discrimination, I’m a student to all music. Funk is my go-to as it’s such a broad genre and goes so much deeper than just the music, it’s a spiritual thang.

I see trees when I think of genres… for example, the funk gave us Snoop Dogg, yet it also gave us Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I’m from that same tree. Less about the instruments and more about how it’s being played. I am a SUPER geek for synthesisers though! Sometimes I’ll sit there and just make wacky sounds until my brain turns to mush.

Raised in London, how did the scene here influence you creatively?

It influenced me a huge amount! That’s where it all started for me. The grime culture is what introduced me to the game. Clashing on the playground, listening to Meridian Crew (and wishing I was one of them), going school in my new Air Force 1s to show off to the homies, making wifey riddims for whoever I was crushing on (which I still do sometimes). All that got me to where I am today. It was always about style for me and London is a city full of that.


What are your earliest memories of music? How did you find your way on this journey?

My earliest memories are music! I come from a family of mostly women. I remember being about 3 years old and listening to SWV and Blackstreet with my Mum and Aunties, they’ve always had the best taste. I remember being in the back of my Dad’s car also listening to garage and jungle music. I listen to some of those songs now and everything makes sense.

I only started making music (or attempting to) when my Mum put a program called Hip-Hop Ejay on our family computer where you could arrange loops and stuff. Me and my cousin would export it, get it to tape then put it in our Karaoke machine with a mic hooked up and literally pretend to do our own sets. We thought we were the shit!

The basement sessions have become pretty legendary! How was the experience of sharing your work in this space?

It was truly an honour! It was a blessing, and when I walked in Rick James was playing so I knew I was supposed to be there. I enjoyed myself a lot!

Both Bilal and Roy Ayers have both performed there and they are two of my favourite artists of all time, and they’re both Virgos like me too! I definitely sniffed up the air for inspiration when I got in there.

2020 has been a ride, what experiences have you taken from this year personally and professionally?

Ooh, it’s been crazy! A huge spanner in the works to say the least. There is so much transparency right now, whether it be the system, the economy or just people. I’m happy there’s more awareness around things such as Black Lives Matter because as a people, we are simply tired of how we’ve been treated throughout history. On the flip side, times like this is when we usually get the best art and innovative ideas from people as a result. I’ve been taking it all in and creating in my own space and time. One of the main things I’ve taken from this year is how important self-love is. I’ve learnt so much from digging deeper into self. Sometimes you gotta rearrange. Energy is so important. I’ve been doing lots of inner work, away from all the noise. I feel like a butterfly right now.

Thank you so much for talking with me! What can we expect to see from you in the future?

Thank you!!! I’m planning on releasing new music sometime at the beginning of 2021 and it’s gonna be real nasty funk! Right now my music taste is all over; maybe I’ll make a soul-punk-trap album for summer 2021. I don’t know, I guess I’ll see where my spirit leads me.

I plan to hop right into my producer/songwriter bag next year also, I have so many songs in the vault!

I’m also starting my own YouTube channel where I will be performing songs and doing stupid shit in front of a green screen at home which I’m really really excited about. I will have to keep U guys in the loop with everything!

Next stop: World Domination!!!

Check out Tony X Future Bubblers here. 

Words by Grace Powell