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Foghorn Lonesome: The wish to be someone else

Iīve never heard of Foghorn Lonesome before, but their tracks on Soundcloud revealed to me songs of deep emotions and strong feelings, a bit unusual for a music genre like darkwave, electro Goth. Without being able to explain why, this music touched me, and so I had to know more about the band and also to introduce this project to our readers. Because it is to good to be unheard. The face behind Foghorn Lonesome, Eric Sparkwood, told me a bit more about the project, and he turns out to be a very thoughtful person. Even though someone who creates such beautiful songs has no reason wanting to be someone else, he is longing for something he hasnít found so far. I definitely keep my fingers crossed that heíll soon find it. Find out more about Foghorn Lonesome and Eric here.

HI Eric, thanks for taking some time to do this interview.
Could you first of all introduce yourself, where are you from, and how does your musical background look like? When did you start to make music?

- Iím the sole member of Foghorn Lonesome and I live in Stockholm, Sweden. I got into music at an early age. I was seven or eight when I first discovered my own music. Bands like Kiss, Wasp, MŲtley CrŁe, Billy Idol and others. Over the years my musical tastes branched out into many genres like metal, electronic, darkwave, goth and much more. When I was 15 or 16 I started playing bass and joined my first band.

Which kind of music are you creating and what is your trade mark distinguishing you from other bands in that genre?
- Iíve always found it difficult to put my music into a one genre. But I suppose itís a mix of electronic, darkwave and goth. Iím not really sure what distinguishes me musically from other bands. Iíll let others answer that.

Why did you choose the name ďFoghorn LonesomeĒ for this project?
- Iím going to keep the origin of the name unsaid. Just to keep a bit of mystery. But Iím sure there are those who know and those who will figure it out eventually. The answer is out there.

I read that one reason you chose the name is that you always felt alone since your childhood, often people say that it is a bit of Scandinavian kind of thing, but probably most people feel alone nowadays. Does the music ease this feeling for you? Why do you think people feel so alone even though they have company to hang out every weekend and so on?
- No, thereís never any ease. I donít think songwriting helps me with anything really. Music is just a way of expressing my negative emotions but they still remain within me. Writing and finishing a song does give me a sense of some accomplishment but thatís about it. I guess there are different kinds of loneliness. Thereís the longing for love, companionship, friendship, a sense of belonging etc. Some people find it. Some donít. I think that feeling lonely is a very common emotion. It doesnít matter if you have hundreds of friends. We all have our own needs and wants that only specific things can help with I guess.

Is it right that you are playing all the instruments yourself? So the music is 100% made only by yourself?
- Yes.

How about the lyrics? You also write them yourself. They are quite emotional, so Iíd guess you take the themes from everyday life, is that right? Are there topics you could/ would never write about? If so, what would it be?
- I usually write about personal things. I donít think thereís anything I wouldnít write about it. But I tend to want to write about things that reflect parts of who I am. But it doesnít always have to be deep and serious of course.

What do you think is more important for a song, the music or the lyrics? In your case, what is more difficult to write, and if you are working as a Solo-artist, isnít there a risk of repeating oneself?
- The music is what people listen to the most but lyrics are important too. For me as a songwriter they go hand in hand. Sometimes itís more difficult to finish the music and sometimes the lyrics. It depends on the overall song. I think my songs are varied enough. Some might even say that they are too varied.

I am not really familiar with darkwave/electro sounds, but I guess you use some kind of synthesizer, or how does it work? Are you doing everything with Logic or another program? Maybe you could explain how the process of creating a song, from beginning to end, works in Foghorn Lonesome?
- Everything is done with a keyboard and the music program Logic. Some songs have ĒrealĒ bass and guitar. Some songs have digital bass and guitar. Meaning that they are played using a keyboard and an electronic sound in Logic. The drums are programmed and digital too. I always start with the music first. I play the keyboard until I find a melody that I like. Usually right away I know if itís going to be a verse, chorus or something else. Then I come up with other melodies and structure up the song. Itís like putting together a puzzle. You just need to find the right pieces. Choosing the right sounds for the melodies is important too. Since everything is digital the possibilities are endless. As Iím writing the song Iíll start to think about lyrics and vocal melodies. My producer, Tomas Rosenberg, and I go through things together and make sure everything sounds right. The last thing that is done is the mixing and mastering. A lot goes into creating a song.

I read in another interview that you are planning to play live, but youīre still the only member in the band? What kind of people are you looking for and why is it so hard to find someone suitable in a city like Stockholm?
- Iím looking for one or two female singers, a keyboard player and maybe another bass player. I would like to try to have two bass players in the band. My genre is small compared to other genres like rock and metal. So finding people has always been difficult.

Stockholm has a huge music scene, I donít know if you are originally from Stockholm, but I guess you are familiar with its music scene nowadays. Is there something you would change about it? Or maybe something that makes you happy to live there and not in another city in Sweden?
- Iím not originally from Sweden. Iím adopted from Pakistan. I was adopted when I was a few months old by Swedes. But due to my dadís work as a diplomat we moved around a lot. We lived in Canada, Iran, Indonesia and Africa. We moved to Stockholm for good in 1989. I donít know too much about the music scene here. I know some of the more known Swedish bands. Some I know by name only. I donít keep myself updated. My interest in finding new music has faded as Iíve gotten older. Iím also too busy with my own music. As for Stockholm, I have mixed feelings about it. It doesnít matter where I am. I never feel at home anywhere. Stockholm is probably the closest to ĒhomeĒ I will ever know.

You havenít released a record so far, but people can listen to some of your songs on SoundCloud (www.soundcloud.com/foghornlonesome ) Are you planning to release a record any time soon?
- I plan on contacting record labels later to see if thereís any interest in taking things further.

You are looking for a record label at the moment, right? Donít you think that an artist nowadays can handle everything himself? I mean now that there is all these internet platforms?
- At the moment no. I plan on contacting record labels when all of the songs are finished. I probably could do everything myself but I would be very limited in what I could do. I could print up a couple of hundred CDs and sell them online, provide digital downloads, merchandise etc. But itís not enough. Itís all about promotion. I donít have the resources and connections to fully market the music.

What should the ideal label for you look like and what should they do for you?
- Iím not really sure how the business works, especially these days. Iím just a guy who makes music. But itís of course all about profit for any company. For me as a creator of music, my main concerns are what resources the record label has and how much of it they are willing to spend on me, on promotion etc. There needs to be much more than just printing up CDs and putting the music up for sale digitally. It depends what oneís goals are. But one should never aim low first.

What are the plans for the rest of the year?
- My only priority is to finish the rest of the songs. Hopefully before the summer.

Ok and last but not least: You got three wishes from a fairy godmother, what do you wish for? ;-)
- I only need one. To be someone else.

Eric, thanks a lot for your time! I wish you all the best for your future!
- And thank you for your interest and support!

More information:

Author: Sandy Mahrer, photos: Foghorn Lonesome
Date: 2014-02-10

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