Q&A with Saffron Sprackling

Though Republica's heyday was in the 90s, their inescapable single, "Ready to Go," has kept them on the airwaves. We sat down with frontwoman Saffron Sprackling to chat about her extensive list of influences, her acting career, the musical she'd love to be in, and much more!

GGM: It’s great to see you back with Republica! Around this time last year, your latest EP, Christiana Obey, was coming out. What’s on the docket next?

SS: We just finished a UK Tour with our friends Space, which went really well! The audiences were amazing. We were playing all academy venues and we had a great time. We’ve been in the studio writing new songs, so we hope to have an album finished by the end of the year. Other than that, we’re back on the road tomorrow! I’m also in a few films coming out this year. The first film I’ve done is Seven Cases. It’s just about to be shown at St. Albans Film Festival, and then they’re showing it at Cannes this year. It’s with Stephen Berkhoff and directed by Sean Jay Vincent. His last film was called The Addicted, which was on HBO. I can’t say much about it other than I’m a victim, and it’s kind of a horror-cult-thriller movie. The other one I’m in called Looters, Tooters, and Sawn Off Shooters, a British gangster film. It’s BFI certified, and I play Detective Sergeant Ruth in that. I’ve also done another one called Banana Pearl, and I’m a female gangster in that one.

GGM: When you’re out on tour, are there some specific places, like restaurants or just cool spots, that you’re really excited to visit again?

SS: Well, I’ve got quite a few favorite restaurants! I love a place called Oki-Nami in Brighton. Fatboy Slim owns that restaurant. It has beautiful Japanese and Eastern food. I like a restaurant called Famiglia, an Italian place. I like Nobu, on Park Plane in London. I also love all the Vietnamese restaurants on Kingston Road.

GGM: You’ve said that you grew up on “the darkside of the 80s”. What were some of your favorite records growing up?

SS: Oh wow, some of my favorite records growing up... Well, I’ll start with my favorite bands: The Bunnymen’s Ocean Rain. Any of the Cure albums, you know, Pornography, "Boys Don’t Cry." My favorite is actually Head on the Door or Bloodflowers, which is kind of a new one. All the Jam albums. Simple Minds are a big influence. Themes for Great Cities is a brilliant album. Siouxsie and the Banshee, Blondie’s Parallel Lines. The Human League’s Dare album is one of my favorite all-time records. All those late 80s dark alternative records, and then I got into more electronic, acid-house music.

GGM: What are some contemporary records you’re jamming nowadays?

SS: At the moment, I love a new band called Royal Blood. They’re an amazing two-piece, just a bass and drums, and they’re fantastic. Young Fathers, who are hip hop from Scotland, their new album, Dead, is amazing. Archive, who are very underrated in the UK and the States, but are huge in Europe, their last album, With Us Until You’re Dead is a masterpiece! I like Half Moon Run. Jack White’s new album is really exciting. Courtney Love’s got a new album out, Queens of the Stone Age, Chvrches, Echo and the Bunnymen. There’s lots to get excited about!

GGM: Sounds like it! That’s quite an extensive list! When you get some downtime on tour, do you like to watch TV?

SS: Yes, I’m a TV freak! I’m a huge fan of Danish dramas! I don’t know if you have them in the states.

GGM: We probably have the remake versions.

SS: Stuff like The Killing, The Bridge, I love. There’s a new BBC series called In the Flesh, which is an amazing modern-day twist on zombies. It’s superb, and the performances are great! There’s another drama called In the Line of Duty, which is a dark cop show with super writing and performances. Also, Breaking Bad, Will and Grace. I like a lot of US comedy.

GGM: How about movies?

SS: My favorite all-time movie would have to be Star Wars. I’m a bit of a geek fan. I’ve met C-3PO and Chewbacca! Or rather, Anthony Daniels, who plays C-3PO. I was very lucky to be invited to the Attack of the Clones premiere because I’m such a big fan. They sent me a limited edition t-shirt of Zam Wessell, the female assassin, and a letter from George Lucas thanking me. I’m really excited for the new one. Blade Runner would be second. It’s such a classic visually and performance-wise. It’s beautifully written and executed on not a lot of money. Ridley Scott had to really fight to get that made. I’m a huge fan of all things Studio Ghibli and anime, my favorite probably being Ghost in the Shell. I’m a big fan of the Coen Brothers, and I watch a lot of Kung Fu movies, old and new, though I prefer older ones. Warriors Two, The Prodigal Son. I study Kung Fu, and I like to watch them for my studies. Oh, and I love Akira Kurosawa! Love his films.

GGM: That was an incredible list! I love almost all the movies and directors you mentioned! Do you get to read much?

SS: Yes, I’m a huge reader! I’ve got a massive book collection, and I’ve always got a book near me. My favorite right now is difficult to say. My favorite author is Steven Erickson. He has a set of books out, tales of the Malazan Empire, Book of the Fallen. They’re amazing, and he’s ten books in the series now. Dark, brutal fantasy. He’s my favorite. I have a lot of science fiction and fantasy, but I like the classics and English poetry, like Milton. I love Neil Gaiman, and an English writer named China Miéville is pretty cool. Classics like Dune too.

GGM: I read that early on in your career, you performed in Starlight Express. Do you still follow a lot of musical theater? What’s your favorite musical?

SS: You know, it’s funny, a cast mate from Starlight Express found me on Facebook, and that evening, all the other cast members found me, which was wonderful! I love musical theater. I was also Magenta in the Rocky Horror Picture Show, so I still have friends in the West End who do musical theater in the West End. My good friend teaches and produces A Chorus Line over there, and I have friends doing Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I love Cats, Starlight, the modern day ones. Also there’s one I really want to see, and that’s Once. I’ve been told it’s great. I’m still yet to see We Will Rock You—I’d love to be in We Will Rock You, actually (laughs). I’d love to play Killer Queen in that.

GGM: You mentioned a new record. What are the influences going into that?

SS: Me, Tim, and Johnny, we’ve been together for twenty years now in an electronic mixed-marriage of rock and roll (laughs). We have similar musical influences, all coming out of that indie-alternative scene of the late 80s and got into acid house, dance music, which we’re still into. The songs we’re doing right now are more electronic but still with guitar. It’s difficult sometimes to tell another what your music is like until they hear it, but we’re really excited about the new songs. One, “Hallelujah,” we’ve been playing live, has been going down really well with fans and critics. We’re quite pleased our set is a mix of old and new songs!

GGM: Thank you so much! This has been really great!

SS: You’re so welcome! Thank you!

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