Sam Sparro, maus haus
Shock, DJ Kim Anh
444 Jessie St
San Francisco, CA, 94103
Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:00 PM
It's easy to list the achievements of musician Sam Sparro.
His platinum break-out hit, Black & Gold charted top 20 in 14 countries and earned him a Grammy Nomination. His self titled album debuted top 5 in the UK and earned Gold certification and further praise from the world's media. He has collaborated with Basement Jaxx, Mark Ronson, DJ Mason & DMC, remixed Kimbra, OK Go and Sky Ferriera and has written songs for the likes of Adam Lambert and Natasha Beddingfield. There are the celebrated live shows and sets at all the biggest festivals, and prestigious MTV and ARIA nominations in his native Australia (and all before the age of 29)
What's more difficult, is trying to define Sam Sparro - the Artist, but this is what makes him so interesting.
Part soul crooner, part pop star with an ever-morphing, chameleon-like quality, Sam coasts a fine line between disarmingly earnest and a chic, credible cool. He has become known not only for his distinct, scale-defying vocals and epic live shows, but also as a visual artist and style icon, inspired as much by Jean-Paul Goode and Andy Warhol as he is by Prince and James Murphy.
If you believe in destiny – music was Sam's. If you don't, perhaps you could explain this talent as 'simply genetic'. His grandfather a celebrated Jazz musician, his father a gospel minister and recording artist, his mother an organ player and his brother a professional guitarist – it was a childhood filled with music.
"Music was something that I was always around and always did. Everyone in my family was musical, going back 5 generations! I was always around people playing instruments and singing and performing".
Sam recalls working as early as 4 years of age, but things shifted a gear at the ripe old age of 11 when he began singing professionally on children's records, gospel records and on TV commercials.
It was when his family moved from Australia to Los Angeles in 1993 that he became entrenched in music, spending every free moment playing his keyboard, programming beats, and singing with his church choir, led by the McCrary Sisters (who sang with musical legends- Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and Chaka Khan). His musical taste and knowledge stretches far and wide - from soul classics and pop obscurities to dance floor staples and mainstream delights.
Less than satisfied with the life of a regular 16 year old, Sam left school and the comforts of home and headed back to Sydney for a brief stint in music publicity.
Shortly after that he moved to London and paid the bills by working in major record label mailrooms. He was consumed with the energy of London's music and club scene and began moonlighting as a "bedroom" producer/songwriter.
A few years later Sam returned to Los Angeles and met Jesse Rogg, producer and label owner. They almost immediately became collaborators and soon after released Sam's debut EP on Rogg's indie MODUS VIVENDI MUSIC imprint.
The EP went viral and found itself in the hands of record execs and radio DJs- namely Radio 1's Annie Mac and Pete Tong, who immediately began playing the tunes. Within weeks Sam was the focus of a music industry bidding war.
He scored a record deal with Island records and in 2008 he hit the mark with his career changing single Black & Gold –which was labeled "unquestionably, the single of the year!" (BBC.co.uk ), "the years most enduring disco staple" (Q) and "a slick electro-soul masterpiece" (Guardian).
The music buying public agreed with the critical acclaim and the single that went to number two in the UK, number four in Australia and top 20 in 14 countries.
His peers were also impressed, with Beyonce, Cee-Lo Green, Katy Perry, and Mark Ronson all amongst his new fans (but it's Adele's cover of Black & Gold that is his personal favourite).
"Sam can be warmly welcomed in both your heart and dance-floor butt" (NME), "Like Marvin Gaye hangin' with LCD Soundsystem" (The Observer), "This is a daring, crisp, modern soul album, rich in ideas and soul quality" (Observer Music Magazine), "Welcome Sam Sparro, 21st century boy with the world at his feet" (The Sun), "The new King of Pop" (Daily Star).
More success followed with the subsequent singles 21st Century Life and Pocket.
His live performances found him touring with the likes of Adele and Robyn, eventually, headlining his own tour and playing festivals around the world including Glastonbury and Coachella.
The Guardian declared Sam "a superb singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and programmer" and "has what it takes to become a household name".
And by 2010 he was well on his way.
For the past two years Sam has been working on his anticipated sophomore album RETURN TO PARADISE.
It took a considerable amount of time as Sam was determined to get it right.
"It is the product of a lot of experimenting and songwriting – I changed direction at least 2-3 times, completely. I started doing more rock oriented stuff, then I went in a pop direction and then through the process of scrap booking stuff that was inspiring me I ended up with an album that was influenced by music from 1978 to 1984".
RETURN TO PARADISE is a play on nostalgia and "paradise garage" – a genre derived from the hedonistic discotheque scene in New York in the late 70s that began in a parking lot giving rise to the term "garage" famous for it's unique and eclectic style of disco and dance music.
The central themes are love and loss and the quest for inner joy and happiness.
"A lot of the songs are about me trying to find my sense of innocence and peace of mind and things that I felt had escaped me for a while".
Whilst drawing on influences from the 70s and 80s the album is very contemporary with a modern take on these themes.
Working between the USA and UK – Sam is conscious of the sense of disillusion and struggle many people are facing.
"I know things in Australia are still pretty good but things in America – especially with the economy, people are struggling and disillusioned and looking for escapism and when times are tough people resort to nostalgia".
During the process of making this album Sam says he tapped into a new found confidence to become a more prolific song-writer and generally more self assured.
"I'm more comfortable now and I've left things a little bit raw and not completely polished – so much modern pop music is so polished that you lose the soulfulness and essence and human touch."
Return To Paradise challenges this and triumphs!
"I'm really proud of this whole record, there is nothing on it that I'm not absolutely proud to stand next to"
"Their full-length debut, Lark Marvels, [is] packed with fuzzed-out trippy gems and surprising patches of indie-inspired melody. While Maus Haus have previously garnered comparisons to Silver Apples and Captain Beefheart, Lark Marvels reveals additional influences from Add N to (X), Kraftwerk, and Nuggets-era pop." --Flavorpill
Shock is Terri Loewenthal, Dan Judd and Michael Taras. We make cosmic dance and emotional pop music. Vocals and space guitars surrounded with warm synth layers, deep bass, and electric rhythms encourage the crowd to dance. The gentle brush of a windchime signals the beginning of a journey from the pyramids to the ocean.
DJ Kim Anh
Kim Anh is a DJ and musician who composes music for film and television. Since her early beginnings in 1998, Kim Anh has become a global DJ and producer, sharing the bill with musical acts such as Hercules and Love Affair, Sam Sparro, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga and working with the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, Fashion Week, Top Shop, LACMA and a long list of other respected art and music institutions.
In 2008, Kim Anh founded and became a resident DJ of Booby Trap!, a disco-infused club party in Los Angeles and New York City. Since inception, the party has produced events for the likes of Project Runway and Outfest Film Festival, to name a few. Booby Trap! has earned Top Pick and Best of LA Weekly Nightlife and continues to host events in LA, SF and NYC.
In 2009, Kim Anh formed indie electronic outfit, Saint Le Roq, with LA-based producer Anon. Saint Le Roq has been commissioned for film and television scores and has produced remixes for artists such as Sam Sparro and Tegan & Sara. In November of 2011, Saint Le Roq debuted their first single on LA's KCRW 89.9 to critical acclaim.