I had a nice chat with Irwin Sparkes, best known as frontman of 00’s indie pop stalwarts the Hoosiers, about his debut solo project ‘Age Of Entitlement’, released under the name White Tail Falls.
I started off by asking him about the inspiration behind the ‘White Tail Falls’ name, as well as the album’s title, ‘Age of Entitlement.’
“I read about White Tail Falls in a book and it struck me as an elegant title for a geographical location. Like there was a story behind it and I didn’t know what it was, so it retained a sense of mystery; it could be anything and that appealed. The symmetry of colour, noun and verb struck me later. “
“The record’s title is a slight at myself. Having completed the album I stood back and saw it sat there on the coffee table: lessons and laments to myself from mistakes made or figuring out what I’m made of, including desires for things that aren’t helpful. And I thought: who do I think I am?! What a thing to have wrought!”
” A nod to self-awareness following an album in the confessional booth. What an age to live in. What a luxury to have created an album that’s just to help me look for answers, for figuring out what I’m made of.”
“Nearly every musical thing I’ve ever made has, in some way, been a product of collaboration. ” – Irwin said in response to me asking how different things were when writing as a solo act;
“I’ve enjoyed wallowing in those warm and shallow waters but this was a very personal idea I wanted to execute. Co-writing and being musically-frustrated had led me to fall out of love with music and I wanted to see if I could recapture that same sense of urgency I had that drives people to pick up an instrument in the hope of enabling them to work through where they’re at.”
” This was a search for catharsis. I found decision-making the hardest thing about it. All the arguments about what note goes where are just happening in my head. Restrictions helped hone down what I was trying to do. To start with a blank sonic canvas is daunting but Erland Cooper helped me set the tone, allowing my scratchy, lofi demos to be complemented with strings and a harp. That helped me to know when songs weren’t sitting in the same ballpark.”
A highlight of the album for me is ‘Give It Up, Son’ – What is the story behind that?
“I thought about what my parents might say if they knew every little secret. It was a surprisingly tender response.”
When asked what artists currently inspire him, Irwin said that “Moses Sumney, Nnamdï and Tōth remind me you don’t need to worry about sonic boundaries. Blake Mills, Ajimal, Margaret Glaspy and Laura Marling show how great songs get you in the “heartal-chords” every time.”
‘Age Of Entitlement’ is out now; you can buy it here, or stream it on your preferred platform.