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Interview // INDIGO SPARKE

The minimalist singer/songwriter Indigo Sparke released her new album, Hysteria, via Sacred Bones – an ode to surrender, to the healing, and leaving it all behind.

Indigo Sparke - Morgan Winston - GIG GOER 2022

A year and a half ago, Indigo Sparke moved upstate New York and joined in collaboration with Aaron Dessner (The National) to birth her sophomore album, Hysteria. With chanting vocals, full-bodied guitar riffs, and intense space between each note, Sparke conjures her strength across all fourteen tracks. She has come back wounded yet fierce. It’s time to find her way out, to welcome wholeness in the complexity, and to find the softness in its difficulty. A powerful album for those in search of clarity inside their emotional insanity.

In the days following the end of her 2022 tour with The National, GIG GOER caught up with Sparke to discuss the ins and outs of Hysteria.

What was the inspiration for your sophomore album, Hysteria?

Deep realms of feeling are always the main source of inspiration for me, but for this record specifically, even more so. I was sitting in all the different rooms of my history and love, turning everything over. I think those themes mixed with deep grief became the well from which I was able to draw my creativity toward this album. 

There is deep healing and vulnerability in this project which can be heard in your newly released tracks. Did you find it challenging to share these intimate emotions through your music?

At the time of writing and creating, I wasn’t thinking so much about sharing. I was in the thick of trying to articulate and sculpt all my emotions. When it came to the chapter where it was time to share, I definitely felt a lot of varying and conflicting feelings about it. It’s extremely vulnerable sharing such intimate things. You cannot control how others will interpret or perceive the music, so letting it all go and letting it become something for them takes a lot of trust. But there is something quite liberating about it too. 

You’ve shared your exposure to musical legends Joni Mitchell and Neil Young during childhood. Where do their influences manifest in your work? Do you have any new musical influences? 

Their music has seeped into my bloodstream at this point. I can’t identify or say where their influence manifests in my work, although I am sure it does. Perhaps the song on the record that most feels like Neil Young’s language would be the title track Hysteria, it has this certain major chord minor lyrical expression thing going on. But maybe people would disagree! Ha! It’s hard to say. 

I go through phases of listening to certain people and certain types of music. I’m listening to a lot of Indian music again at the moment. 

Indigo Sparke - Morgan Winston - GIG GOER 2022

Where do you feel your talents have grown in your newly released album, Hysteria, compared to your debut 2021 album, Echo?

I have become more fearless with my expression. 

What are some virtues you live by? How does it play into your creative process?

Lately, I am trying to practice patience and true acceptance of things. It’s harder than it sounds, for me. I want to learn to let go more, of everything and then live and love and create from that place of mind. 

You openly share your experience with the highs and lows of life through your music, heard on the new track Blue that I firmly relate to. What has been your most important lesson learned in the past year?

Rest in the space of silence. Find joy in the simple things. 

I find Hysteria to be a candid portrayal of the magnified attachment that love offers both when it arrives and when it leaves. You have previously stated, “This song is about being inside of love, right at the edge of hysteria.” Can you elaborate on your discovery of the necessary balance in love? Why did you choose this as the title track?

To me, it captured all the breadth and width of the landscape of the world I was building. It was like a flag showing me so much about myself and where I had staked myself in the planet of love – about my emotional weather patterns, and history. It was about learning how to walk for the first time again as an adult, not knowing anything about anything, especially what I perceived to be love. 

Similar to what the flight attendants say on a plane, if something happens, put your own oxygen mask on first. Currently, I’m learning to do that. Otherwise, chaos and hysteria ensue, and no one can feel safe or seen, or loved in that state.

What are some intentions you have for the next year now that Hysteria is released to the public?

To try to trust the journey. I intend to play more beautiful live shows with the band, fun festivals, and intimate house shows. Keep making music. Keep learning myself. And to keep being curious. 

Lastly, I like to give some space to artists to promote a cause or charity and to speak about why it is important to them. Do you have any causes or charities you would like to highlight?

SOS (Sounds of Saving) is an amazing non-profit that is working with artists and helping with mental health resources. I really appreciate what they are doing and what they have done for me. 

Listen to Hysteria here

Indigo Sparke - Morgan Winston - GIG GOER 2022 Indigo Sparke - Morgan Winston - GIG GOER 2022 Indigo Sparke - Morgan Winston - GIG GOER 2022 Indigo Sparke - Morgan Winston - GIG GOER 2022

Photos: Morgan Winston