The self-proclaimed synth nerd gears up for Splendour, sideshows and sandwiches
Chrome Sparks – aka Jeremy Malvin – is proof that sometimes, a less measured approach to songwriting can yield beautiful results. “I pile on lots of shit and then work at scraping it away into something that resembles a song,” says the Brooklyn producer.
The “shit” Malvin is referring to includes the dense choral loops and warm synth harmonies of his ambient soundscapes. One reviewer referred to his third EP Goddess – released earlier this year under Sydney label Future Classic – as “a synthesized theme park for the ears”.
Malvin’s beat-driven electronica places the 23-year-old in the same stylistic realm as Australian artists Seekae, Flume and What So Not – all Future Classic peers. He may be part of an increasingly popular scene, but there is one element in particular that sets his sound apart.
“Percussion was a big part of my life,” Malvin explains. Several years ago, he graduated from Michigan’s Ann Arbor University, where he studied classical percussion, started a weekly house music night, won a DJ competition, then moved to Brooklyn. In ‘Meaning of Love’ – the opening track of Goddess – a distorted bassline moves beneath richly textured beats and rhythms.
“I don’t think I’ll ever have as much fun playing keyboard as I do playing drums,” he admits. That said, the producer excitedly tells us he’s been “geeking out in the whole synth world… I got a Moog last summer!” It’s fitting that his “favourite album of all time” is the 1997 record Dots and Loops by Stereolab – the London band famous for their deceptively effortless compositions and use of vintage electronic keyboards.
Ever the multi-faceted individual, Malvin’s Tumblr page reveals his tasty new side project – and it’s not what you would expect from somebody with an almost constant touring schedule. The snaps of smiling faces poised over salads, burritos and smoothies are all part of his year-long commitment to eat his midday meal with a companion every single day. “I don’t eat lunch with complete strangers,” he reassures us. Recently, an image popped up of Sydney electro-pop artist Elizabeth Rose, grinning with her elbows on the table. “We ate ramen,” he says, matter-of-factly. “We’re working on a track together.”
We’re yet to hear this collaboration, but given what the young artist (and epicurean) has achieved so far, trying to predict his next move would probably be an underestimation of his abilities. What we do know is that he’s bringing two friends on stage for his Australian shows: one on drums and the other wielding “a humungous electronic mallet instrument”. “I would love to do a tour at a sit-down theatre,” he says, musing on future possibilities. “Do all the quietest and calmest stuff”.