Peppermint Heaven / by E

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What brought you two together?

Spark: Musical similarities.

Juno: Yeah, so we were in a band together in Chicago some years ago and we wrote music together-

Spark: We wrote music together and had somewhat of a good career in Chicago-

Juno: But then we came out to LA and, after a bit of a break from each other, reconnected a few years back and formed this new group, Peppermint Heaven, and now we're making some inspired new music.

Where does your name, Peppermint Heaven, come from?

Juno: Oh, Peppermint Heaven comes from an obscure pre Smiths Morrissey song that we ran across in one of his bios or interviews and it was just kind of like a really interesting name. That particular song I don't think was ever released, it was something that came from Morrissey and, of course, we're influenced a lot by the '80s, so it seemed to fit well.

Spark: And peppermints are wonderful things. They taste like heaven.

Which musicians, other than Morrissey or The Smiths, have you been influenced by?

Spark: David Bowie, David Bowie, David Bowie.

Juno: We have to pay tribute to David Bowie. 

Spark: Brian Eno. That whole alternative stuff has stayed with us.

Juno: '80s groups like Simple Mind or Pet Shop Boys, New Order, that whole world, you can hear that influence in our new album, Precious Things, available for sale on January 29th. A shameless plug.

Which David Bowie track would be your favorite?

Spark: "Ashes to Ashes" is one of my favorites, I love that, I loved that.

Juno: I would say, thinking back to "Golden Years" and Young Americans, that period. But, there's so much rich music and I'm glad to see so many people paying attention again to this great artist.

Spark: Yes, the Earthling album was very impressional to me. I enjoyed every track from that album.

How would you describe your own sound to someone who had never heard you?

Spark: It's like an '80s dance club kind of rock, if you mix it all together, it's like something fun to play in the '80s but there's a rock n' roll, a rock edge kind of thing, a seriousness to the music.

Juno: Yeah, it also has a contemporary feel, a modern feel, but it definitely has that '80s vibe - not Huey Lewis, but more of New Order.

Spark: Yeah, I would say something that would be played in the clubs in Europe or something in '85 and in Berlin they'd play some of this music at night.

What was the inspiration for your single and video for "The Cage That We Live In"?

Juno: The video is actually directed by a UK director, his name is Pierce G Wilson, and animated by a Taiwanese animator, Jeremy Zhang, and their inspiration came from the lyrics of the song which are kind of talking about breaking free of limitations; we don't want to explain our lyrics too much, we'd rather have people interpret them for themselves, but the video is just a couple of guys driving around in the snow and spinning their car and they end up painting some graffiti on an abandoned building and it's animated so it is really quite cool. You all should see it.

Spark: The bird's eye animation is really unique - that's where you're looking down from the sky - and each video that I've seen that has that kind of thing in it, it's really cool; you're looking down upon the scene so it's a good thing to check out. They're fun.

Juno: We're doing seven videos in support of the album that are all animated, all done by the same guys in England, and we're trying to create a continuity and a theme and something unique, and it's more like a hand-painted watercolor looking animation, some of the characters don't have faces, some do have faces. 

Spark: The plots all tie together, so the same characters are in each one; it'd be kind of neat to see all seven in a row, like a little movie. 

Juno: The next one is called "Decide 4 Yourself" and it's just been unveiled. We're working with a website called PopWrapped and they're doing our exclusive unveiling of each video; this week they unveiled "Decide 4 Yourself". Everyone check those out, please!

That single is off your forthcoming album, Precious Things; could you tell us more about that album?

Spark: "Talk To Me". Listen to "Talk To Me", that is a big one. That's a powerful message, that track there. "Talk To Me" is really a wonderful thing.

Juno: Yeah, we're getting some great feedback on that track; it's more of a harder edge sound, but the album goes from that harder sound to a more acoustic, haunting track called "The Girl I Used To Know" which is pianos and acoustic guitars and still keeping in the same vibe as the album, but we're trying not to have every track sound the same. There's a good range of darker indie pop sounds on there that we hope our fans will enjoy.

What do you want listeners and fans to take away from your music?

Spark: I think a love of the arpeggiator, which was invented by somebody [laughs]. Most of the songs carry arpeggiations, which is an amazing thing to listen to; the automatic, arpeggiating, rotating computer kind of thing, if you're a novice to it. But, just, each one is a different flavor kind of arpeggiating system.

Juno: And drum loops.

Spark: Yeah, but repetitive arpeggiating things, that New Order did and stuff like that, but that would be neat to have people really get benefits from the world of arpeggiators and to invest in some arpeggiation in your life [laughs].

Juno: We're big fans of that.

Spark: It's a wonderful thing, each one's different.

Juno: We hope people take away a love of the music and continue to look out for us, 'cause we'll be coming out with more of our music later this year, as well, after the album. We're working on another group of songs.

Spark: Our second album is being formed. It's wonderful! We're excited for that.

Is there anything you'd like to add?

Juno: We have remixes that have been completed for three of the tracks on the album; AMPM remixed "The Cage That We Live In" and Damon Hess and Deep Matter remixed "Words Colliding" and we will be releasing these dance remixes about a month after the album, late February, so we're going to be hitting the dance clubs and dance music fans and DJs with these alternate versions of the tracks, so keep an eye out for that, as well. 

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