Social Distancing With Sparks' Ron Mael: Music, Masks and Foreign Hand Sanitizer

As the world fights a pandemic, we reached out to some of our favorite artists with a few quarantine questions about these unprecedented times. Here’s what Ron Mael of Sparks had to say. The band’s new album, A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip, drops digitally on May 15.

What are you doing with your unexpected time at home?
I was just kind of paralyzed for the first week or two. It was hard for me to do too much of anything, but I fought through that now. So, I’m starting to try to write some things and fight through the cloud that hangs over everything.

The first five minutes of each day is kind of lying in bed and saying, “Come on, you can do it.” I’m trying to just keep moving. I go for walks with my Japanese mask and then come back and write a little in the afternoon, then place my Postmates delivery for dinner and watch quite a few films on the Criterion Channel.

I also did a video of my collection of hand sanitizers from around the world. I don’t know why, but I collect the hand sanitizers in every country that we visit. Unfortunately, it’s become very relevant now.

What music do you turn to in times of crisis for solace and comfort, and why?
I like music where it can be taken in at many levels, as far as the emotions behind it. Somebody like Miles Davis — there’s such a wide range of feelings within even one note. Those kinds of things really resonate for me. It’s kind of inspiring in a human kind of way.



What about books or films?
I’ve been watching a series of Columbia film noir films. In a way, those kinds of films are a warm blanket. They’re warming and soothing when I don’t feel like watching a press conference.

Anything else you want to say to your fans right now?
It’s hard for me to say anything verbally, but we’re happy that we can come out with our album — to just have a strong musical statement that can kind of maybe inspire people, not in a specific way lyrically, but just in a general sense. We’re not on a mission to uplift people, but music in general has such a profound effect on people. So, the message I would have wouldn’t be anything that I would say, it would be that we’re doing all we can do to come out with something that hopefully has an effect on some people.

Try to absorb yourself in our music — in any kind of music that you enjoy. I think at times like this, you really realize how important music is.

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