I can not translate this Japanese Sparks interview into English. I used many translation websites. Certainly, their conversation is more polite and difficult.
EXERCISE YOUR IMAGINATION!
2009, May 20th.
Ikuko Hatoyama (Cartoonist): I’m really happy to see you! First of all, please let me know if you have any images for animation and manga culture of Japan.
Russell: About 20 years ago, when Tim Burton saw our musical “Mai The Psychic Girl” he was very impressed, and he said he try to make this movie at that time. Though we were going to be in charge of a sound track, unfortunately it did not come true. But the story surfaces again a half year ago and I think that a movie of director Tim Burton will be possible soon. So our knowledge of comics and animations begin with the musical 20 years ago.
H: Because I heard that it died out, I am very glad. If that was realized, I hope you are in charge of the soundtrack.
Ron: I hope so too. Besides, they are not the normal sound tracks of the movie. For example the sounds are intertwined with the conversation in the movie…we want to make all the sound effects. The musical from 20 years ago looks like that. That was mixed with musical and movie. We made everything into details. So we think even if this movie was realized, would like involved in the same way.
H: I’m looking forward to it! Please tell me your favorite illustrator or painter. I heard that your father was a painter…
Russ: It’s true that our father was painter. He was drawing (normal) paintings and illustrations for column articles of newspapers.
Ron: I like LA artist John Baldessari. We like things having pop sensitivity like Sparks. They are also in the Japanese culture. I think that such a sensitivity is included also in your work. I like 70s Nikkatsu Roman Porno. I like also film posters. When I come to Tokyo, I often get them in Kanda and Jinbo-cho.
Russ: Ron is a great collector. We do not understand those contents but we like those graphic aspects.
Ron: Why we like these things because is the films such as “Shaft” and “Super Fly”, these films which were made only for the commercial, but in fact, their artistic aspects are very superior. If anything, these films may be more artistic than the movie that was made for only the pursuit of art sometimes.
H: By the way, how far are each other’s homes?
Russ: It takes about 10 minutes by car. There is a studio in my house, so Ron comes to my house almost every day!
H: Do you drive by yourself?
Ron: Of course (laugh). My car is Volkswagen called “Thing” in 1974. I bought it in 1975 when I came back to the United States from the U.K. and I’ve been driving it ever since. I don’t get a new car, I’m particular about this car. Actually, my dream was to be a car designer. I went to Detroit, and wanted to be a car designer.
H: I’ve drawn a castrato in my comic book “Shoe Maker” before. Castrati obtained a high tone voice like a boy in exchange for their physical loss in the old Italy opera. Of course, Russell has a great voice without doing that…
Russ: I can’t say. You don’t know what I did, do you?(laugh)
H: (laugh) If there is one talent that the god did not give you in exchange for it because you was given a great voice, do you imagine what kind of “gift” (talent)?
Russ: Well……eternal life…but, I don’t know it yet (laugh).
H: How about Ron?
Ron: Feeling to just receive things obediently (laugh). I have inevitably distorted views. It is very useful in making music, but it is not useful in the normal life.
H: If there is a proposal to want to record sparks songs by orchestra, do you consent?
Ron: Because I think that it is interesting, I want to do it. But we do not want to play together only for the purpose that justifies our artistic aspects. We think that it is interesting musically. Actually, there were plans to play with an orchestra from “Lil’ Beethoven”,”Hello Young Lovers” to “Exotic Creatures Of The Deep”. But we didn’t after all. Conversely, we decided to adopt visual aspects, theatrical live show.
H: I am sorry not a question about music…
Ron Russ: Good! (laugh)
H: Please tell me your favorite egg recipes.
Russ: (laugh) The scrambled eggs which there was not undercooked and fried well.
Ron: Hard-boiled egg. Because I want to eat it as original form without transforming an egg. It is a “pure egg”.
H: Finally, what’s your specialty?
Ron: Using a microwave…
Russ: Thawing of frozen vegetables (laugh).