GIGsoup recently caught up with Danish dance duo THANKS and Australian singer of ‘Black and Gold’ fame, Sam Sparro to chat about their recent musical collaborations, lyrical inspiration and to celebrate the fact that they are today’s GIGsoup BOOM! Track of the Day
Tell me about the process of making your collaborative track ‘Your Man’. It sounds like the perfect upbeat, fun-loving summer anthem. Did you have a lyrical concept in mind before developing the music, or were they written simultaneously?
We were in Los Angeles for a couple of weeks last year, where we teamed up with Sam Sparro at his studio and wrote ‘Your Man’. It was all done simultaneously. We had a musical idea with us that we would write on. What really got the writing process going was basically Sam coming up with the first line “you’re so cool, did you come from the freezer?”. We were really into that slightly stupid vibe; we just went from there.
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We’re loving the fun, tongue-in-cheek lyrics on this track. With the singer promising to treat their love interest right and never let them down, the song continues with such a sense of freedom in his ability to say how he feels without judgement. Was developing this sense of freedom a conscious decision in the song writing process? The music itself seems to support this openness, too.
The preacher/gospel elements actually came up later in the process, when we were back in Copenhagen and Sam was in L.A. But the vibe was already there in the verses, with lines like “holy water on my head” etc. Of course the whole thing is kind of tongue-in-cheek, but the sentiment “love can break down walls and it can move mountains” is real enough.
Who is it that contributes to this track in prophetic spoken verse? It brilliantly reinforces the strength of love and its ability to speak to people beyond the stereotypical romantic.
We thought it was great to have this preacher part that takes the song beyond a one-on-one relationship kind of thing. We watched a lot of Pentecostal preachers on YouTube – that was the inspiration for doing it. It’s actually Sam doing the part, his voice pitched down a little bit.
Interesting! And congratulations on the track’s Top 10 position on the U.K. Spotify Viral Chart! There’s something to be said about your talent as a duo if you can embody the funk of artists like Jamiroquai, throwback listeners to the dancefloor seventies, and yet create a fresh and modern sound unique to THANKS. How do you find that balance?
We spend quite a lot of time in the studio just playing around, and somehow you combine all the stuff that you like, new and old. It’s not really a conscious thing. You just gravitate toward stuff that you like and it becomes this weird mix that will always be unique for you.
So, you’ve sampled Jill Scott’s ‘Golden’ in ‘Livin’ My Life’. It was far from a Top 10 hit in the charts at the time of its release, but had good exposure throughout pop culture over the years. At what point did you come across this track and decide to sample it?
We stumbled upon the acapella on YouTube. We didn’t know the original song but to us the vocal sounded like a hook for a disco song. So we finished ‘Livin’ My Life’ before listening to Jill Scott’s version, which is superb by the way.
This has become my new workout track! You guys really have a knack for creating motivating music. Have you played this song live yet?
Great to hear you’re working out to this song! (laughs) Yes we’ve played ‘Livin’ My Life’ live. It’s always towards the end of our set and we do an extended version of it, where the vocals just go “singing – grooving, singing – grooving, singing – grooving all day” towards the end. It’s great! We’ve also been playing it with live vocals by an amazing singer called Jaleesa from Copenhagen.
Sam, you toured Europe with THANKS a little while ago. At what point did you know a collaboration with the duo was something you wanted do?
I met the THANKS guys when we were doing some shows together in the U.K. several years ago. We stayed in touch and when the boys came to L.A. we got together at my studio. It was really easy and we clicked right away. I think we both have an admiration for well crafted pop songs and love 80s RnB and Funk. We wrote ‘Your Man’ in a few hours.
And what’s next for Sam Sparro?
Currently I’m doing a new project with Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters and working on my third full length album.