Photo by Ben Rayner
Liam Sparkes has played in more London DIY bands than you can shake a whole bushel of fanzines about Huggy Bear at. From Harry Stab and Human Bomb to Drumize with Eye from Boredoms, he’s done stuff in them. He’s probably best known as the stupidly quick, asthmatic drummer guy in Casio-grindcore pioneers Trencher, and for being out of it most of the time. Despite constant mentions in these pages, for some reason we’ve never featured Trencher.
So to make up for that glaring editorial oversight, here is a rundown on Liam’s latest project, Queen Of Swords. As it happens, I put on the band’s first ever show and, as it just seemed like a bit of fun for Liam and his fellow record shop clerk buddy John Macedo, had no real sense of expectation. The ensuing mess of mangled atmospherics and skittish rhythms made everyone in the room drop their beers and leave after the last note as they figured they must have just witnessed the headline act. It was that good.
Vice: How did the idea for doing a laptop/drums duo come about?
John Macedo (laptop/effects):
I’ve known Liam for years and I was doing a remix of a Trencher b-side when he gave me some drums he’d recorded to do something with. I put a few synths through distortion pedals and that was that. The idea was to have the two of us as core members and other people collaborating with us here and there. We’ve had Mark from Trencher and John from Palehorse playing with us live, so we’ve played as a duo, trio, quartet and quintet. We want to do Queen Of Swords big band as well, and a drum orchestra and a synthesizer orchestra.
Fascinating. Your stuff sounds like the Imperial Battle Cruiser taking off with a metronome having a fit in the background.
I wanted to incorporate early electronic and classic analogue synthesizer sounds as well as Max/MSP and computer processing but in a more rock context. I just wanted it to sound like a bunch of shit I’m into like Morton Subotnick, Burning Witch, Gasp, Can, Bastard Noise, Basic Channel.
Liam Sparkes (drums):
I think we just had an aim to make apocalyptic, overwhelming sound or an ode to classic sci-fi soundtracks we like. Just not something boring. Something like the sounds of a bubbling cauldron.
What’s your favourite sword?
A Wilkinson sword
He uses it to make his moustache look nice.
You’ve just started tattooing, Liam. What’s the oddest thing you’ve inked on someone so far?
A caricature of Vincent Price saying, “Go fuck y’self”. And an ice-cream wearing sunglasses.
Queen Of Swords’ debut single is out soon on EyesOfSound.