Matt "Spark" Willox has been making electronic music since his teenage years growing up in Edmonton, Alberta, with video game soundtracks, Aphex Twin, and industrial music as formative points for the young artist. His interest in composition took off as he jumped into the analog telephone based BBS scene, grabbing and sharing "mods" with like minded bulletin board users, all of it letting Willox make creative use of classic pattern-sequencer software like Scream Tracker, Fast Tracker and Buzz.
After Willox contributed to the Mazzive Injection tracker demo compilation and issued 3 releases on the MP3.COM site, the n5MD outfit enlisted Spark's work for the label's early compilations, after which his full-length debut The Robotic Girl Next Door. A decidedly warm release, Robotic Girl was entirely rooted in integrating catchy melodic hooks with elements of ambient pads and 8-bit video game flavor.
Spark's latest full-length, Super Robot Battle Deluxe, is very nearly a complete stylistic U-turn, nailing together a relentless set of drill-core, with violent break patterns intersecting and fighting in a raw, dramatic, no-holds barred fashion. According to Willox, personal circumstances in the musician's life led him to leave behind his softer sound for the time being. "I moved [to Vancouver], changed jobs, changed lifestyles, changed friends, changed influences," he says. "I think the desire to do Super Robot came as a result of all that change. Life is dark now, as once life was poppy and happy."
Drawing upon sources as varied as music publication drum loops, acid breaks, and samples from 60's Electric Guitarists, Willox looks beyond the sound itself or its source, digging down to it's utility in a piece, where the data can be mutated as needed. "I'm not too picky with my samples," he says. "I never have a lot, and I reuse samples quite often. I just distort them in different ways: resample 'em, time shift-em, pitchshift em, scratch em, add noise, filter em whatever. Usually, It's not the sample that impresses me, but how gracefully or easily it fucks up."
The albums' adventurous, raw concept can be attributed to wanting a more live, improvisational sound in each track. "Short pattern loops, no automation, lots of triggering, some tricky programming, an d a willingness to record and be satisfied with whatever came out…." Willox says. "I've pretty much said 'fuick it' to sequencing shit to death. I do everything with a 'live' approach now. I create control schemes that remain consistent for every song-volume, parameters, and triggers are all grouped the same everytime. Then I just record what ever I do with it.
When not working a Spark, The artists Vancouver base brings him in contact with the city's significant film and video game operations, which has provided him with the opportunity to publish ambient drone and melodic soundtrack work for The Loop, a film shot and produced in British Columbia.