Spark: German Straight Edge Hardcore Band Are Bringing it Back With LP Promo


(Photo credit: Sarah Marxen)

German straight edge hardcore band Spark was recently welcomed to the amazing Sunday Drive Records roster, releasing a 2-song LP promo that aims to build anticipation for their upcoming record, Supernova. 

Both tracks, clocking in at just over two minutes, are a high-energy assault that made me reminisce on the youth crew bands that I had on heavy rotation when I got into hardcore. In this feature, Vocalist Andy Villhauer and I explored some background information about the band. Read on to find out how Spark started out, what influences them as a band, the German hardcore scene, and more!

The idea for Spark was first proposed several years ago, but things just got moving fairly recently. It was Andy and ex-Spark guitarist Adrian who first brought the concept to life. “We both play in Spirit Crusher, and it was 2015, right after the SC demo dropped,” Andy clarifies. “We started talking about doing a band that sounds like the youth crew revival, ‘modern hardcore’ bands of the early to mid-00’s, like Carry On, In My Eyes, etc. A few years later, the two of us managed to write a bunch of songs, found our first full lineup, and recorded a demo.” The band ended up releasing that first demo in 2017.

(Photo credit: Anna Swiechowska)

As I mentioned above, their sound definitely has an old-school feel to it. While this band is newer, the members are no stranger to the scene - as Andy mentioned, they both play in the NYHC-inspired band Spirit Crusher. I asked Andy: what made you want to start a band like Spark? “That sound was very present when we got into hardcore in the 2000’s, so the initial idea to go back to that sound was definitely driven by nostalgia. However, we always try to keep the band interesting and fresh by not just recycling an old subgenre, but by throwing all kinds of old and new influences into the mix.”

Elaborating on those influences, Andy says that Spark takes inspiration from bands like Carry On, as well as first-wave youth crew bands like Youth of Today, a handful of 90’s New Age Records bands, and, of course, Revolution Summer bands. When it comes to what Andy writes his lyrics about, he explains, “I’m first and foremost influenced by what’s happening within and around myself. For inspiration, I often go back to the Embrace self-titled record - in my opinion, probably the record with the most perfect lyrics ever written - or also some YOT, since Ray Cappo nailed the art of getting to the point with just a few words. I also love the lyrics on Carry On’s A Life Less Plagued, since they are efficient, yet articulate enough to really transport clear emotional pictures. “

As a straight edge person, I’m always stoked to hear new edge bands, as well as their reasoning for incorporating the ideology into their music. Andy puts it simply - “Straight edge is an integral and natural aspect of our lives. It inspires us to do cool shit, and to be the best versions of ourselves.”

On how this influences Spark as a band, Andy continues, “Besides the fact that everyone is always able to drive the van (lame joke, I know, ha), it does influence the way I perceive and interact with the world, so it has a huge impact on the way I write lyrics. Not all our songs are about straight edge - in fact, just a few are - but they all come from a ‘straight edge mind,’ if that makes sense.”

(Photo credit: Jack Worley)

A lot of hardcore kids in the states are very hyperfocused on what’s happening around them, and it can be hard to picture what the scene is like in other places. Andy gives a wonderfully detailed explanation of what the scene is like in Germany, as well as bands and labels to look out for. “Hard to tell how shows will look like post-Covid, yet all in all I’d say it’s vibrant, sometimes more or less, and never completely gone. There were always shows happening pre-Covid, as well as new bands coming out, but – as in every country I guess – the local scenes come and go.” 

Who should you keep an eye out for? “New, exciting and/or young bands from Germany to check out are Exposure, Force of Denial, Reflex, Suspect, Outfaced, Power Age, and there’s a cool NYHC-style band coming from Cologne very soon. Shout-outs to past legends Domain. Fresh new labels to keep your eyes on are DBNO Records, STTW Records and Collective Memory Records.

In regards to Sunday Drive Records, the band couldn’t be happier with the choice to work together. “Jonathan [Gonzalez] is a top-notch dude and does a perfect job,” Andy states. “We’ve all worked with a lot of different labels with our other bands in the past, and we have to say that SDR is among the best we know. You can also buy every release without hesitation if you’re into punk/hardcore/emo. Very diverse sounding, but cool shit only.” [agreed - Ed]

What’s next for the band? “Our LP! Hopefully it’s going to be out soon, despite the swamped pressing plants. It’s called Supernova, and we’re extremely proud of what we’ve created.” Mentioning the LP promo, Andy excitedly adds, “Check it out and let us know what you think!”

(Photo credit: Anna Swiechowska)

Final words for Andy and Spark: “Keep political thinking and activism alive when Covid is over, and (hopefully) move away from your screens a little bit more. Racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism and all kinds of hatred are a constant issue worldwide. Keep fighting the good fights. Stay safe everyone. Hope to see you soon IRL!”

I appreciate Andy taking the time out to talk about what Spark is all about! Keep an eye out for the band’s next moves via their social media below:

Official website | Facebook | Instagram | Merch

Additionally, you can pick up a tape or hoodie on the Sunday Drive Records website here!

Listen to the LP Promo via Spotify below: 


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