Progression, blues, rock, and many other sounds are what you can expect from Sister Sparrow as they package positivity and good music into a live show.
Arleigh Kincheloe grew up singing in the back alleys of New York City, only to turn that singing into an amazing live show with the band Sister Sparrow. They are wholesome, fun, great musicians, and just overall great people. Getting their start in 2008, the live show used to be the focus but as the band grew and fans wanted more, these guys took their live show and compacted it into an album which was a self-titled album that released in 2010. While trying something new on their latest album, Gold, the band stepped outside the box and continue to evolve what was already amazing. In this interview, we talk about tour life, a little bit of the origins, and so many other things. This band is definitely on the rise.
LH: How are you, because your album Gold came out this year and it has been received very well and a lot of people love it. A lot of people say it’s an evolved but continuation of Sister Sparrow. So, how have things been since the album released?
Arleigh: I’m doing great. It’s been awesome. The anticipation of it felt like it took forever. I’m glad people love it. It’s always scary to try something new, but I’m grateful that people want to go along on the ride with me. So, yeah, things have been really good and really positive. We are getting back on tour and we are able to bring some of those new songs to the live show as well.
LH: You spoke of trying something different. The one thing that I noticed with you guys is the transition of each album, you’re not afraid of trying something new but you could always tell who it was. When you record a new album, do you always approach it like this? How do you manage to keep that signature sound while tweaking and evolving it?
Arleigh: I appreciate your kind words there! I guess it’s a combination of us as a band, or as a group band. I feel like I get braver every time, so I think some of it comes just naturally from playing together and for me as a songwriter, obviously, as I go I change and things progress that way. At the end of the day, I’ve been the key songwriter in all of these. It’s a little hard to tow that line of “you want to change but you don’t want to go too far”. You have to be good with what you’re comfortable with and what your fans like, but with this last record, I just feel like I took a little bit more of a leap forward. I’m happy that you can still hear that it’s me, like it’s not way too far out the box and it has little influence from the older stuff as well. I think it’s just a natural thing.
LH: Speaking of evolutionary progression, I think “Ghost” was a perfect song to release for a single, because I feel that it is, in a way, a summary of what you guys are doing. I also think the visuals are very important for music, would you be inclined to agree with that?
Arleigh: Oh for sure! I think that’s more of one of the poppy songs on the album. So we were a little scared to release that one at first because I feel that people didn’t really love it at first and some of our fans were taken back, but then it sort of unlocked the door for us and, maybe newer bands who hadn’t heard of us before. As a band that’s been around for a long time, obviously, we want to stay loyal to our fanbase, but we also have to evolve and progress it to where we can open the door. I think “Ghost” is an effort to do that. Now, the music video is so fun. It was a little step outside the box, you know I’ve never had backup dancers before (laughs). So, it was one of those things that I’ve always wanted to try and finally felt brave enough to do it.
LH: I think the problem is, is no matter how much you love your fanbase, you have to also look at it like a business. Your band is also your business and you have to find ways to do what’s best for the band while also exploring your love and passion.
Arleigh: Yeah! That’s a really good point, and I think some people don’t see it that way. You want to be true to yourself as an artist. This latest album was an expansion of what I wanted to do as an artist. I’ve always wanted to do more of a, what you would call “accessible” album. That’s been in my head since I started playing music, so it’s not like I’m not staying true to myself. People might think they know who Sister Sparrow is, but they really don’t know that we have many different shapes and sides to us and I think people should realize that. For a while, we were trying to do the simple thing, playing a lot of the same crowds, doing a lot of the same style tours, and we weren’t really making a lot of new music. I think you have to take that next step and take a chance and hope that you’ll have success in it.
LH: The one thing about Sister Sparrow is that you guys look like you’re having fun, whether that be on the live show or on the music videos, you look like you’re having a great time. Do you think that bond that you guys have with one another makes the music that much more great?
Arleigh: Oh absolutely! Most of these guys have been playing for at least five years. My brother and I have been playing music our whole lives together and we got the band started about 10 years ago. I think it’s always been a family vibe and we’ve always tried to bring in musicians that would fit in, not just musically but personally, and see what they could do and see if they could have a good time. Our ability to get along and to tour together, while living in a van together shows that we can have a good time with each other no matter what and always make fun of each other (laughs). I think that’s what makes the show that much more fun because we are really living through it together and we have fun together. I think it kind of builds this character between all of us that the music really clings to. You can definitely tell when you’re watching a band or an artist or anybody to see if they resonate with everyone. I feel so lucky to get up on stage and have a good time, it genuinely makes it easy for us to continue to do all the hard work.
LH: I heard in previous interviews that you guys really enjoy tweaking your songs when you’re playing it live. Is there any plan to what you guys tweak or do you guys just tweak the music based on how much you’re feeling the song?
Arleigh: It’s a little bit of both. We try to rehearse certain changes before we do that. That makes it much better, I think, when you’re trying to do it live. Sometimes we will have a little section of songs that we will kind of keep free as we say and will kind of be creative on the spot. We definitely try to incorporate that on every show, just to give it like this free music where we don’t know exactly where it’s going to go. It kind of makes it exciting for us and hopefully for the crowd as well. A lot of the songs we have been tweaking over the years, that’s just a sort of process. Sometimes, like during soundcheck, we will change something and then we would just run it a couple times at the show and sometimes it will work. Sometimes we will have to go back the next day and scrap that and come up with a different idea. It’s trial and error for sure.
LH: Was the live show always a huge part of the band, or did it just continue to evolve and get better as you guys became more comfortable as musicians?
Arleigh: No, I think it was the other way around. I think it was the live show first; we actually modeled most of our first records on the live show. There was something sort of magical about the first few years of us playing together and we hit upon something magnetic that we were all feeling creative and passionate about. I think we created this sort of party atmosphere and people really wanted to come in to experience it. I think the live show is what kind of propelled us to make the records and to go on longer and longer tours and things like that because we were having such a good time doing it. Touring that much can take its toll on someone, so I think because we were going in so hard, we had to take a step back and dialed back a little bit. With this last record, I think I wanted to try something that wasn’t at all like the live show so it’s been an interesting progression from the beginning to now, but it’s kind of full circle because we’re bringing the songs from the new record to the live show and trying to figure out how to play them in a way that would do justice.
Sister Sparrow are on tour until the end of the year so be sure to check them out when they come to town.