Following one of her most successful years in the studio to date, internationally celebrated US techno sensation Michelle Sparks steamrollers into the New Year as she unveils her next huge release on the one and only Octopus Recordings with Yakuza.

Out now, the relentless six-minute cut delivers everything we’ve come to expect and more from the Phoenix-based artiste, who was specially selected by head honcho Sian to open the brand new Warehouse Focus VA compilation on the label’s more underground leaning subsidiary, Octopus Warehouse Series.

Pounding basslines, acid hooks and frenetic rhythms ignite the five-track package, as Michelle takes us on an intense peak time journey through the impressive compilation opener. Known for her experimental soundscapes and hard-hitting atmospheres, Michelle’s uniquely underground treatment on Yakuza is both wonderfully dark and hypnotic, engaging the listener from the very first kickdrum.

Complete with incredible complexity, energy and intricacy across its duration, Michelle capitalises on her innate ability to draw you into a dark, industrial construct, as she explores a remarkable array of timbres from across the techno spectrum. We sat down with Michelle to find out more.

Hi Michelle, and welcome to Techno Mood. So lovely to have you with us for the first time.
Thanks for having me!

First thing first, happy New Year! How was 2021 for you? Any particular highlights?
Last year was kind of up and down. It was slow in the beginning with shows still not happening, but that gave me a chance to work a lot in the studio which was great. The summer was busy with live shows and it was so nice to be playing for a crowd again! I played a great show in Philadelphia with the Fold Theory crew in June which was a super memorable show in a proper sweaty warehouse lol. Besides all that, I did a good amount of live-streaming shows which were super fun to keep engaged with fans and friends around the world throughout the past year and a half!

Starting at the beginning, can you tell us how you met and how you got into music and production?
I got into electronic music by going to a lot of raves in the beginning, which was a really long time ago now it feels like (was around 2004 ish!). I’d always been really musical and played a lot of instruments & my grandfather was a jazz pianist so music always was a really driving force in my life. Once I had experienced a lot of underground club culture & music back then I felt I had something to share with people musically and started diving down the DJ & production route….and here I am today!

How would you best describe your brand of techno for those who may not be familiar?
I was heavily influenced by minimal techno when I first started getting into electronic music, and so I feel that comes out a lot in my current music. I make and play a lot of hypnotic type minimal techno that keeps a good groove going throughout.

Who or what were your biggest musical inspirations growing up?
When I was really young I was really into classical music, from there I listened to a lot of rock when I was a teenager, bands like Korn, System of a Down, Nine Inch Nails and the likes. Later on when I discovered electronic music some of my first inspirations were Richie Hawtin, Magda, The Chemical Brothers & Miss Kittin to name just a few.

We loved your remix for Dusty Kid & Marascia – WIWY last year. Can you talk us through the remix and how it came about?
Thanks! I really tried to give it a fresh feel yet something completely different than the original. I found that lead melody to be super infectious so I felt that had to remain an important part of the track & I wanted it to have a good grooving club energy in the background.

What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not touring the world or making music?
I’m really into cooking, and this past year I took up handmade pasta making which I absolutely love doing in my spare time.

Do you have any other releases planned in the coming months that you can tell us about?
I have this Yakuza release which has just come out on the Octopus Warehouse Series label as part of their Warhouse Focus VA. There will also be much more over the course of this year so keep your eyes peeled!

On the live side, where can we next see you perform?
I have a show coming up later this month in Phoenix and a few others in the spring that will be announced soon!

Any final words for our Techno Mood readers?
Thanks so much for having me, I hope all of you have a great start to 2022!