by Evie Saphire-Bernstein
Meet I Used to be A Sparrow, the best new rock duo out of Sweden. Dick Pettersson and Andrea Cacces are two rockers about to hit it big, with their electric sound that is both down to earth and arena-worthy. The lyrics have passion, and the music is powerful—their new album You Are An Empty Artist is a force to be reckoned with. But when I sat down with Andrea to discuss the band and their story, I discovered that not only is the album one of a kind—so are they. People of the internet, I give you–I Used to be A Sparrow.
Evie Saphire-Bernstein: How did you two meet, when and why did you start working together?
Andrea Caccese: Just a little over a year ago. We met at some local gigs here in Västerås. The town is not that big, so musicians tend to cross paths quite often. It’s nice if you ask me [smiles].
When we started the band we had absolutely no plan to do anything as serious as this has become for us!
ESB: I Used to be A Sparrow is a unique name for a duo—how did you come up with it?
AC: Our name comes from the lyrics of one of our songs, ‘Life is good’. Dick came up with that and immediately suggested it as a band name. I was quite intrigued with it and definitely hooked on the spot. The name feels really poetic to me and I guess it has a really personal meaning to both of us. Kind of like looking at your past with a bit of nostalgia, but still going forward with your life.
ESB: Is there a particular band/artist that most inspired you to pursue music as a career?
AC: It’s truly hard to mention one particular artists, and to be honest, it might be quite un-representative of our whole idea of music. I feel that the great thing about us as a band, is that we really make a point to channel our influences and experiences into something that is “ours”. We listen to a massive amount of music everyday, from mainstream and corny stuff to forgotten garage heroes of the late 60s, electro and folk. The beauty of diversity is that it really stimulates your creativity.
ESB: Tell us a little bit about the new album, You Are An Empty Artist….That’s a pretty grim name, how did that come about?
AC: We were playing a show, and a friend of ours, Mortician Magician, was supporting us as the opening act. As I said before, we like diversity, so instead of sharing the stage with a similar band, we asked him to join the evening, and do some of his work -he’s sort of a spoken-word artist with a psychedelic feel. Most people do not quite get this kind of things, so one woman came out of the audience and started yelling at him “you are an empty artist”. He was freaked out and he told us backstage, but the whole thing was both amusing and quite appalling to us at the same time. So we really like the controversial feel of it [laughs].
ESB: What is your favorite part of the musical process—writing, recording, performing, touring? What’s the least favorite?
AC: I honestly love live shows and the energy they give you. Their unpredictability is also great. We are humans, so you might have an absolutely great night, and a off night. This keeps reminding us to stay humble, and I think all bands need a punch in the face at some point. Studio is also great because it is a setting that allows you to relax (if you are lucky), sit down and sort of “speak to the songs”, until you reach a good compromise to finally put on track for good.
ESB: Do you have a philosophy —are you trying to change the world, or just infuse it with something new … is it something in the middle?
AC: Nothing like that. It might sound cliché and naïve as hell, but… people keep journals, take photographs, make movies. We find that writing songs is our best shot at passing on our feelings. The point is not really to communicate how we feel to the world, but more like, sharing our perception of it. Then it’s up to everyone who listens to make up their own meaning of it, just like when you have a favourite song. It’s in your heart for a reason, right?
ESB: What is the one song in the world you wish you had written?
AC: I wish I’d had written “Gangnam Style”. For real! That’s like an anthem who is defining a generation.
ESB: What’s the next thing on your agenda – touring, collaborating, writing a new album?
AC: We are soon gonna release You Are An Empty Artist (March 15th) then we’ll try our best to bring the music on stage to as many people as possible. Last year we toured Europe with an insanely great team behind our backs, so we hope we can do the same and even move forward to new places we haven’t played yet.
ESB: And last one, out of curiosity, if you weren’t a musician, what would you be?
AC: I don’t really see myself doing anything, that’s my biggest problem in life. The only way I can see myself is through music. I’ve been traveling for years after I left my home a few years ago, and I realize how damn hopeless I would be without music. If I hadn’t met somebody special and stopped somewhere along the way, just like it happened to me in Sweden, I’d probably just leave everything behind again and keep traveling as far as I can get until my feet will let me.