The formation of Agent Sparks is not your typical band story. It's the organic chemistry of four people brought together by summer camp, stepfamilies, smoky nightclubs and a desperate need to avoid the lull of a 9-5 job.
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When front man/guitarist Ben Einziger and bassist Paul Fried's previous major label band parted ways, Fried was reluctantly settling into the idea of getting a regular job and a nice apartment... instead of living on a tour bus. The stepbrothers continued to casually play music together without the restraints of their previous band where Ben's only responsibility was guitar. He soon found his lyrical side pouring out onto the pages of his journal and into their jam sessions.
Writing music and lyrics without such boundaries and expectations led Ben to realize he had found a naturally therapeutic outlet for his emotions... and he certainly wasn't ready to give up. During a night out in Hollywood, Ben's newly discovered confidence found its way into a conversation with Paul where he declared, "Trust me. Let's just try this one more time." And Paul was in.
Although he had effortlessly fallen into becoming a singer in addition to being a guitarist, Ben couldn't deny his thoughts of finding a second vocalist. Both he and Paul had seen Stephanie Eitel performing with a local musician and were blown away by her presence. Hopeful that Stephanie would take on some lyrical and vocal duties, Ben called and asked if she wanted to come hear what he and Paul had been working on. Having been creatively stunted herself through various bands and making a living through session work (which most recently includes background vocals on Weezer's "Beverly Hills"), the singer was anxious to find out what was in store.
When Ben, Paul and Stephanie came together along with their previous drummer, the chemistry was obvious. As the vocalists became familiar with each other's voices and styles, the band began to shape its sound. As fresh as the songs were, there was still something missing. It started to come together when their drummer left to take a paid gig with another band. Through several auditions, Ben and Paul recruited a friend they had met 15 years earlier at summer camp. George Purviance had been playing drums since he taught himself Tone Loc's "Wild Thing" in the 5th grade. He studied at the Berklee School of Music and was a studio musician who had already performed on a Grammy nominated Jim Brickman piece. There was no doubt about it. George was the perfect match.
When all four musicians got together and began to play, Agent Sparks was finally complete. The songs were formed almost instantaneously and a signature sound was born. One song entitled, "Its Not My Time" which would eventually make it onto the bands first EP, was written in three minutes. The writing process was naturally unified when Stephanie and Ben blended their efforts in the writing and performing of the lyrics. Soon the official Agent Sparks lineup emerged with Ben Einziger on vocals and guitar, Paul Fried on bass and backing vocals, Stephanie Eitel on vocals, keyboards and percussion and George Purviance on drums and percussion.
After only playing together for about 6 months, the four members of Agent Sparks knew they were on the right track when their gigs were crawling with record label executives. They accepted a deal with independent label Immortal Records and immediately entered the studio to record their first EP entitled Not So Merry scheduled for release on September 20, 2005. The five song EP, produced by Mike Einziger and engineered/mixed by Rick Will "is a mere tease for what's to come on the full length due next year," claims Ben. The first track on Not So Merry, entitled "Mr. Insecurity" is something Ben, "felt [he] needed to do. Every artist inevitably wants to be honest and uninhibited and this is what I felt needed to happen in order to get there. This song expresses me coming out of my shell, putting it all out there and saying, 'here I am."
The lyrical content on the EP tackles everything from the President's proposed draft and religious preachers to self inflicted insecurities and adolescent popularity as it relates to adult society and pop culture today. Agent Sparks aims to cover topics that everyone connects with but might be afraid to openly address. With this in mind, Not So Merry is representative of everything the members have been through over the past year. Despite some of the serious and candid subject matter, they have managed to lace the music with a light-hearted and positive vibe. At an Agent Sparks show people can dance, rock, sing, nod their heads or help George reach his aspirations of "just wanting to make people air drum."
With a sound often described as quirky and poppy, Agent Sparks' only demand is playing good music. They share a common goal of avoiding the typical formula and hope to create music their favorite musicians would listen to and enjoy.
Ultimately, the members of Agent Sparks want just enough success to stay together and continue doing what they love; writing music, touring and hopefully inspiring fans as they go.
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