A lot of things can happen over the course of a year. For me, I colored my hair for the first time and also got a tattoo. For New York based band PARLOUR TRICKS, it was a new band name and a whole slew of new songs. There changes are definitely more exciting.
Last fall I found myself starting off the CMJ Music Marathon interviewing Lily, Brian and Darah of Lily and the Parlour Tricks. This year I found myself ending the marathon in a similar way, sitting down with Lily, Brian and Angelo. It is nice to find small consistencies like this in life. It’s akin to eating pizza every year on Christmas Eve or getting an everything bagel every morning after pay day. There is an air of familiarity to the PARLOUR TRICKS and their music. Through drawing inspiration from numerous genres and non-musical influences like true crime and personal experience, lead singer Lily is able to weave stories together that are timeless in essence without feeling dated. They are the perfect soundtrack to your favorite black and white movie in a technicolor world. That sweater from you grandfather that is fashionably on trend. Your favorite pop release of 2014 on vinyl, playing from your dad’s record player.
“We have been renovating a lot,” Lily says, remarking on the changes the band has gone through since the last time we talked. “It’s been really exciting. We’re going in a direction that we have always been wanting to go in. We’re having fun.”
“New gear. New name. New songs,” Brian adds.
“Same people,” Lily reassures.
“Always new outfits,” Angelo chimes in while gesturing toward Lily. The three front women are known for their coordinated outfits on stage (outfits that I am envious of, by the way.)
The band consists of Lily, Morgane and Darah on vocals, Brian on bass, Angelo on guitar and Terry on drums. Along with the lineup, another thing that hasn’t changed is the band dynamic. The six friends don’t fight even when it comes to band and artistic matters. In fact, the most tense they say they have ever been was when a band member took too long to return a text. Even that they call a “heated conversation” that was only tense because they were hungry and a little tired.
This energy comes through on stage. It is impossible not to have fun at a PARLOUR TRICKS show, but I can guarantee that even if you are having the time of your life, you are not having more fun than the band themselves. Their love of their music is infectious; it is hard not to love it too.
“I feel like everyone gets to go through a phase where you’re a snob and then sort of come to the realization that good music, what makes a good song, nothing else is relevant aside from that song,” Lily says in regards to her recent intake of top 40 music. While she has always loved pop, she feels like she has been embracing it more. Something she finds very freeing. This freedom and pop influence comes through more in their newer tracks. They even use a drum machine sometimes.
“It doesn’t matter how it is packaged: good is good,” Brian adds. Along with slight changes in sound, the stories in the songs have become a bit more personal as opposed to the personal interpretations of other stories that were found in the older tracks. Although Lily does feel like she is finding a cohesion with the two.
“In the last year we have made an effort to tighten things and make arrangements and decisions more concise and deliberate,” Brian says of the changes to the musical structure of the band.
Despite having a slew of new tracks, the band has been releasing them slowly, single by single, as opposed from in one go via EP or full length. This decision is in part a way to help the band take it easy and relax a bit, and in part a reflection of how we digest music as a culture now. More and more you see bands releasing smaller amounts of music more frequently rather than full lengths every few years. This is an effective way to remain relevant and on people’s radars. Especially for a band that is still emerging.
“The disappearing thing happens so fast,” Angelo says. “That’s the thing, if we spend all of our content it is easy for people to move away.” However by releasing a single every few months, it satiates the fans thirst for more content as well as gives the band more control over the digestion. “I think it is interesting that Taylor Swift put out singles before the album came out, and when it trickles up like that, it’s very telling.”
“It’s a new standard,” Brian offers.
PARLOUR TRICKS are noticing more and more fans coming to shows and asking for longer releases, which is promising. Another thing they notice from fans are certain dance moves that they did in their video for “Requiem” the first single from this new era. Dance moves that were created by Angelo and Brian simply out of boredom. To some elevator-esque music. But now, they have become a sort of calling card.
They all agree (as they do,) that along with more singles there will definitely be more dance moves.