So, this is your first time in NYC as a band—what have you guys been doing? I know you played your first show here last night, how did that go?
Anatole—It’s amazing. It feels strangely familiar because I think we’ve all seen it so much growing up. It feels kind of comical to be a band in New York, especially—LA as well. It feels like we’re living the dream.
Patrick—Especially where we were last night in Manhattan, we ended up on this rooftop party after the show, very stereotypical New York kind of night.
Jules—It was also special because the owner used to own Studio 54, the main disco club back in the 70s—us being a kind of disco-esque band. He’s trying to do the same thing with this new club.
You are all relatively young, early 20s, with a distinct style that comes off seamlessly and effortlessly. Were you guys friends before this, or how did the band come together?
J—We went to the same high school, and these guys were in separate bands called “Potato Potato,” “Lifeline” and “Sugar Spinners.” Yeah it was a lot of bands, and I came into the picture because I was dating the lead singer of the old band, I started playing the drums, and then we got rid of the old singer! Here’s Parcels!
Why the name Parcels?
A—There was this sign that was hanging up in Louie’s place, an old sign from a train station, which read Parcels. The way the sign looked, it screamed “band name.” We didn’t realize this when we did make it the band name, but we lost the sign and everyone just knew the band name without the image we had. So they get a completely different image, which is nice.
You guys are most known for collaborating with Daft Punk, which not only doesn’t happen for someone so young, but doesn’t really happen in general. How did this come about, and how did it feel?
All—It’s a lie! It’s all a publicity stunt, yeah propaganda.
J—Yeah, it’s pretty insane, like throughout the whole process of recording this album we were just not believing that it was true. It really didn’t feel like it happened.
Like they were messing with you?
Noah—We used to have this thing where we’d talk about it every night when we got back from the studio, and we’d laugh about it, the fact that we’re going to go there the next day and the whole studio is not gonna be there. It’s gonna be stripped down, it’s gonna be an empty room. There’s no trace of what has happened there the day before. There was that kind of feeling about it where it was like, “Is it real? Is it a dream? Is this some sort of stunt?”
L—We recorded it like a year before the song actually came out, so there was a whole year where we didn’t even know if it was gonna come out or if it was gonna get finished. So when it did come out, it still didn’t really feel like that session actually happened. It was just so long ago.
So they were in the session with you guys?
L—Yeah, we wrote and produced it together.
You guys seem very old school in a way. I mean, there’s obviously the 70s vibe, but you guys also navigate social media in a cool way. How do you balance the old with the new?
N—It’s a weird contrast, isn’t it? To be a retro-esque band or really be inspired by those older eras and then have to navigate social media and be modern in the way that you deal with the rest of the aspects of the music industry. And I’ve never really thought about that, that’s a weird contrast.
L—The retro bands didn’t have this sense of close personal connection with everyone, this type of immediate interaction with all the fans. In that way, it has really changed. But it’s cool, I think were generally very modern people just inspired by retro music and style.
So, you’re not actually from the 70s, is that what you’re saying?
N—Were all 21, you do the math.
What are the struggles of being a 5-piece band, or do the benefits outweigh the struggles?
J—It works really well..
N—Except in interviews.
P—I hate this fucking band.
J—It’s strange because if there’s one of us missing and it’s four of us hanging out, its so different. Five is more of a party, but I reckon 6 would be too much.
A—I like the uneven number. We make decisions well. If you’re one of the 5 people and you’re surrounded by four it’s kind of a posse, but if you’ve just got 3 other people with you, it feels like were just a few people. So, it’s really perfect, except when you’re getting taxis.
Is it hard to maintain the 70s aesthetic in the digital age, or do you find that people are more attracted to that?
L—I don’t think were actively trying to maintain a 70s aesthetic. I think we just like the style and the music, but we’re not trying to portray that were from the 70s. We want to pull inspiration from all there is.
J—If anything, we’re trying to be as modern as possible, but it’s really hard for us. I think it takes like 40 years for people to throw out their clothes, so we’re just at a point where the only clothes we can afford are from the off shop, and they’re from the 70s.
J—So, in 10 years, they’ll be the same vibe. Then we’ll all throw them out in 40 years, and there will be another 70s.
N—So, our style’s fully just a matter of necessity and coincidence. It’s all based on chance. So, no, it’s not hard to maintain a 70s image at all, cause it just has to happen—you just gotta stay broke, otherwise you start buying new clothes..
For someone who has never heard of you guys, could you describe the sound of the Hideout EP?
A—Miami meets...I get a real bedroom feel from those recordings, even though we recorded them in the studio. Most of it came out of boredom, then we re-recorded it. I don’t know, it’s dance music with a funk disco-esque background, poppy vocals.
L—I mean, it’s pop music essentially with some other elements thrown in there. It’s our best effort for making pop music, which probably doesn’t turn out very pop. It’s not that happy or anything, maybe were just not that happy underneath.
P—Melancholic, if you will. The lyrics are really sad, it’s hard to write happy lyrics.
Could each of you say what you envision people doing when they listen to your music?
J—I hope they’re enjoying themselves, having a little dance.
N—Riding a pogo stick or something.
P—Crying, weeping sadly in their bedroom.
A—Two people meeting for the first time, and they have this little feeling in their stomach like, “Oh, this could be something,” but they’re not sure. Our music is playing in the background.
L—I imagine two people that have been together for such a long time, and they realize it’s just not the same as when they started so whilst they’re signing the divorce paper our music is playing in the background, in the lawyer’s office.
You guys talked about how your music mixes different genres or pulls from different places. Do you find that there’s more freedom now as opposed to 10-15 years ago to do this—to be an amalgamation of inspirations?
J—I think it’s becoming harder and harder for musicians to come up with a good blend because there’s so much music. There are so many possibilities now, and blending it is like a chemistry. As far as production, you really do think about that stuff, the whole recording process, it’s like a little bit will really make something sound like a certain genre or era.
So you just have to be hyper-aware of it?
J—You do in the production process, but in the writing process, its completely different—that’s not a thought process at all.
L—I guess it’s easier for very niche artists or artistic ideas to reach the limelight because that could never happen before the internet and stuff. If you’re going for something mainstream, I guess it’s harder now, because everyone can access everyone.
A—I reckon we’re at a time where people are really welcoming when an artist is doing something they haven’t done, whereas 10 or 15 years ago it was a little like, “What are you doing going out of your box?”
Who do you guys think is breaking new boundaries in pop music, or doing something completely new? Do you think anyone is doing this?
N—Childish Gambino. On his latest album, he released all these rap tunes, but then he put out an album and didn’t rap once on it. It was totally weird, and people were all like “Wow!” But that was a few years ago.
He also made a TV show and does standup. He seems to just be doing everything. I like when one person isn’t confined to a particular art, they can just be a personality through all fields.
P—Frank Ocean kind of does what he wants as well. He’s kind of alternative pop, but I feel like he’s not following any rules. Alt-J are doing exactly what they want to do. They’ve always had their own sound, but they’re sticking to it and not becoming more commercial and it’s working for them.
The new Arcade Fire, its different from what they’ve done before and there are some people who are like, “Oh, we don’t like it,” but most people have accepted the change. It’s cool to hear something new from them.