November 16, 2006
There's not really much I can say about Tobin Sprout, other than the fact that he's an excellent songwriter, is an excellent painter, and although he might not release a lot of music, it's a sure bet that whenever he does release a record, it will be a quality release. Such is the case of his first new material in a few years, the soundtrack to the film Fortunes. It's a collection of some of Sprout's earlier work, along with a few new songs. It was a low-key release, but it's a low-key release that's worth seeking out. I'm honored that Mr. Sprout took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to talk about the soundtrack, about making music, and about his future plans.
How did the Fortunes soundtrack come about?
Matt Salzberg got a hold of me, probably about five years ago, and he asked me if I wanted to do the soundtrack. I wanted to, so we just kind of traded tapes back and forth with different themes that I had to use for it.
Was it a different kind of working process for you, in terms of songwriting?
Yeah, this kind of approach was much more about the music itself than the lyrics, such as lot of experimental things, with certain scenes requiring three seconds of sound. I really enjoyed working with Matt, and I hope I get to do that again.
Did he select the older material, or did you?
Yeah, he sort of picked the songs, and I offered up some songs that I had. I wrote a few songs for the movie, and some of them I'd been working on for a long time before I got involved in that project.
Speaking of making music, you've been kind of quiet for a few years, in terms of releasing music. Has music become less of a priority for you?
Not really; I'm still writing quite a bit, and I hope to have something out by this spring or summer. I've got tons of songs, but they haven't been recorded. I've also been doing a lot of writing, and I’m also a painter. I did some shows last year, and I'm doing another show this fall in Chicago. I'm also working on a children's book based upon the paintings that are on my website as well. So that's what my winter's going to be: writing my book.
Are you doing anything new, sonic-wise? I believe I read somewhere that you were doing some piano writing.
Yeah, I'm doing quite a bit of piano writing. I'm not really sure of the direction. I really haven't actually recorded any of these songs past the demo stage, so I'm kind of going to experiment around with the styles. I'm definitely going to have a band behind me, too. The guys who were with me on my last tour are going to back me up, and then I've got some other people who are going to help me out. So it's going to be of a lot higher quality of recording. I think it's going to be a lot better.
Do you enjoy the songwriting process more as you get older? Is it easier? More difficult?
No, it's the same. You learn; it's all the same process. I think I've grown quite a bit as a writer, and these new songs are more melodic. Lyrically, from writing the book, I've changed my lyrical style, and I'm looking forward to the next record.
Tell me a little bit more about what inspired you to write a book.
I don't know if you've been to my website, but there are a number of paintings that are representative of my style, more sensational, sort of mystical. When I did the art show in Cleveland this summer, there were some publishers there who encouraged me to write the book and had connections that would help me get it published. It's something I've never really thought of doing, and when I start doing it, I'm really going to enjoy it. It's aimed towards twelve-year olds and older.
Any idea on when that will be out, or is it just some time next year?
It's kind of whenever I get it together. I've been working a lot on computer animation at this point. As for the book, it's some time in the future. But right now I'm starting on it.
I've really enjoyed the soundtrack. I wasn't even really sure you were still making music.
Yeah, I'm definitely still making music. I've just been so busy with other things lately, but there will definitely be another album soon.
The soundtrack to the film Fortunes, featuring the music of Tobin Sprout, is out now on Pravda Records