It's clear that Yellow Red Sparks are the kind of band committed to fighting the good fight. In the years since their heartfelt folk rock sound branched out of the OC music scene, they've managed to hold onto the work ethic that elevated them to one of the must-see acts in places like Detroit Bar, Lucky Owl Loft and Alex's Bar. From the soul of lead singer Joshua Hanson's vocal range comes a breath of clean air in the middle of the city. Following the 2012 release of the band's album Four Steps in Corsets, Yellow Red Sparks has been rocking the Los Angeles scene full-force, and refuses to forget their humble beginnings in little 'ol Orange County.
"It was difficult to stay focused and not feel like I needed more this or more that and it took a little while to get recognized and appreciated, but it was worth it," Hanson says about Orange County. "I was able to polish my craft without anyone noticing and it also allowed the band to grow and mature very naturally."
This Saturday, Yellow Red Sparks is set to play alongside Nicole Vaughn, The Union Line and Monroe at the House of Blues in Anaheim during a highly-anticipated night of music brought together by local promoter, Secret Chief.
While Yellow Red Sparks have gained a significant following in Orange County and Los
Angeles, few people know that the band was initially a solo project, which Hanson carried alone until drummer Goldy and bassist Sara Lynn became official members. Together the trio has worked hard to write songs and find a balance in harmonies and craftsmanship.
"Goldy and Sara add an element to the songs that I could never do on my own and they
capture the audience in an entirely different way," says Hanson. "Both of them have
sacrificed [a lot] and we still have a long way to go..."
Hanson may just be a modest guy. After listening to an early live recording of fan-
favorite, "Buy Me Honey," featuring only Hanson, it's apparent that his vocals carry the tune well and any added support pushes this song into a higher level of folky euphoria. What seems to be the key of the band's songs is simply great writing supported by great musicianship--an undeniably potent synergy of sound.
"I love words and I love melodies and the main goal of any song that I write is that it's
honest and real for me," Hanson continued. "The best way to describe the process is sort of an emotional vomiting."
However, instead of overzealous emo ballads, the "emotional vomiting" can be compared to the likes of Neutral Milk Hotel with a Jenny Lewis twist. It's hard to imagine that such a harmony-driven, folksy band co-headlined shows with Young the Giant at eVocal in Costa Mesa few years back. While collaborating on songs like "Hey Jude," the two bands meshed well and garnered a following of similar OC groupies.
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"It's hard not to look at a band like Young The Giant and go, 'what did they do to make A
and B happen?'" says Hanson, "It's important to branch out of Orange County if you are
ever going to make a bigger difference. They are amazing dudes and deserve every bit of
success that they have had."
As for the future of Yellow Red Sparks, it's wide open. With such potential and drive, the
band foresees success. With the recent announcement of a tour with ZZ Ward, Yellow Red Sparks are hopeful to continue down a path similar to Young the Giant's, and thankfully we can all let our a sigh of relief with the announcement of a new album in early 2013.
"We still have a long way to go, but we are going together and jumping off this cliff," Hanson says, "Smiling, laughing and holding hands all the way."
Yellow Red Sparks perform with Nichole Vaughn, The Union Line and Monroe at House of Blues Anaheim, Saturday Sep. 29 at House of Blues Anaheim. 8 p.m. $12.50-$15. All ages.