Text & Interview: Alec Coiro
Photo: Philippe Jarrigeon
Parcels is a band deep in the disco groove, but not stuck in any one genre’s rut. The key to what makes them great is not the style they adopt, but the touch they bring to their playing and light, effortless feel among the players. Historians of the ‘70s will tell you that disco music was maligned at the time as a roboticized version of funk music. The irony with Parcels is that through their disco inflections, they are bringing a unique dollop of soul back to the the mechanized world of contemporary dance music.
But I’ve already fallen into the trap of referring to them with that disco term. Maybe because when you listen to a parcels track, and your head gets to nodding to the beat of Anatole Serret’s drums, you just can’t help it. The truth, though, is that their influences range from folk to metal, and the music they make is always thoroughly its own thing. The only category it fits in for sure is the category of music with a groove.
There are indie bands that you stumble on when they’re just starting out who make it big and leave part of you pining for the days when they were your little secret. And then there are bands like Parcels: a band that you know from the moment you hear them are too big, too sharp, too fully formed to ever be kept underground. Right now they’re sweeping through Europe. Hopefully soon we’ll get a taste of them stateside. But in the meantime, check out our transcontinental interview.
You guys have such a well-defined, instantly recognizable sound. How did you develop it and what were the some of the shared influences that inspired it?
Thanks! That sound developed naturally trying to make music that we like, and through a foundational love for this kind groove. It is really influenced by a whole bunch of sources.
We all had long and varied musical pasts before this; the vocal harmonies come from our strong involvement in folk music, the driving guitar definitely holds some tie to Jules’ metal days etc etc.
I see Parcels referred to a lot as disco. Do you agree with the categorization?
We definitely started out thinking of it as some sort of disco hybrid. And we definitely have some disco groove happening. But we’re steadily veering away from that and more than anything we don’t want to be put in such a strong bracket. We’re not going to make a disco record any time soon.
I get the impression that you take the time with the look and style of your band and don’t feel the need to apologize for it (like the great bands of old). Have you all always shared a similar style or is it something you grew into over time?
You wouldn’t be wrong. We always had a fondness for all things visual, but it definitely developed into something more aligned.
We love it when musical projects become more than just their songs, when artists use musical, visual and conceptual aspects together it can make it feel bigger than just a band. And that’s what we seek to achieve eventually. We want it to be a package, a broad project.
Am I right that you moved from Australia to Europe? How are you finding the change of scenery?
Richtig! We moved to Berlin immediately (for most of us) after finishing high school. That’s two years ago now and Europe really feels like home already. It was a big change from our little coastal paradise town but we didn’t think too much about it to be honest. Our days here are so incredibly different to in Australia but we were fresh out of high school, it felt natural to have such a stark change.
Have you thought about the musical directions do you have in mind for after Hideout?
Very much. It’d be bad luck to start talking about it now though.
What are your touring plans? Any chance you’ll be coming to New York?
Our tour schedule is filling up like crazy! man you should see all the places we’re planning to visit. We’re lucky enough to have a team who we are tight with and who are totally on our side, so we like to book fun adventures with them to less obvious places as well as the classic touring cities! (Japan this January was a ball).
As for the US, we’ll see, we want it to be very special when we finally make it over to your shores…