In Parallel are a self proclaimed "dramatic rock" band who hail from Nashville, Tennessee from members of Celebrity & Hopesfall. The band released their debut EP 'Broken Codes' in 2018 and have announced their sophomore EP 'Fashioner' is set for release September 4th.
'Leave It With the Ghost' is the lead single from 'Fashioner' and has already garnered comparisons to Nine Inch Nails and Tool. I recently caught up Lance Black (Vocals/Guitar) to discuss the upcoming EP, 'Leave It With the Ghost' and his love for Genesis...
"I fell in love with a band called ‘Far’ and I knew I wanted to be those guys – I wanted to sing and play with purpose like they did. They were cool as hell, and always so gracious to their fans after the shows."
Firstly, I have to ask this at the moment, how have you guys been coping in the lock-down, what kind of things have you been up to since the lock-down came into effect.
That’s a great question. Before COVID, we’d meet at Ryan’s place once or twice a week to talk, write, record, or have a drink at the studio in the basement of the house. Now we have weekly Zoom calls. It’s less inspiring but it keeps us connected. We’re a tight group of friends. We’ve all kept our sanity though, through continuing to write and create in other ways. Jesse’s always working on new art concepts for videos, album art, and t-shirts. Ryan has his hands full with his new baby girl, but still makes time to work up guitar ideas for the next record. Mark has discovered that he’s actually really good at painting, and he has a project of his own that keeps him busy, called ‘Deep Party’ – you can find that on all streaming services. I generally find relief in writing for the next record.
How did you get into writing and creating music? Was there a decisive moment or event that you remember that made you stop and think, wow, THIS is what I want to do with my life?
I grew up in a large family with 4 other siblings, and a lot of aunts, uncles, and cousins, where nearly everyone played an instrument or would write and sing songs. So, creating music was something that just happened when I was younger. I didn’t figure out that it was something I’d want to do every day for the rest of my life until I was old enough to drive and would leave my small town in Northern CA to catch shows in Sacramento at a venue called ‘Cattle Club’. That’s where I fell in love with a band called ‘Far’ and I knew I wanted to be those guys – I wanted to sing and play with purpose like they did. They were cool as hell, and always so gracious to their fans after the shows. No pretence. Right place, right time, I guess.
Let’s be honest 2020 has been a weird year so far and things will probably be weird for a while. As an artist, especially an artist with an EP releasing soon in September. How has this affected your rhythm? This is the time you would be gearing up for the EP release.
It has been a weird year, but this release has felt different from the beginning. This time around, we’ve partnered with Wiretap and Earshot, so the push to make our music available to as many people as possible, is not solely on us. We trust them both, and we know we share the same vision. In the past, when we’d self-release a record, we’d divvy up responsibilities amongst band members. Every decision and action was our own, which does provide certain freedoms, but it also stretched the band a little thin at times and it couldn’t provide the same reach that we’ll have now. We’re still putting a lot of ourselves into this release (every sound and image of the band is our own), but the support has been welcome.
"after finishing the first EP, we were excited about writing new songs since we’d been sitting with the others for so long... When we finished recording the EP, we felt that we had made something special"
Your latest release, ‘Leave It With the Ghost’ was released on July 10th. Can you go into the creation process of this track a little more? How did this track come about?
‘Leave It With The Ghost’ is the most organic of the songs on ‘Fashioner’, in regard to the way it was written. It started with Jesse playing a bass line during a practice, and then Ryan added a simple two note hammer-on guitar part. We probably looped that line for about a half hour or so while I sang random melodies over top. If I’m remembering it correctly, I recorded the idea on my phone, brought it home and then started working through the final melody and a basic structure for the first half of the song. During the next practice, Jesse and I worked through what the chord structure of the second half of the song might look like, and we really just let Ryan play whatever he was feeling at the time. I’m a huge fan of his guitar playing, and I think he did some of his best work on this track. He’ll even tell you he doesn’t remember writing those parts at the end. It just sort of happened. It was a cool moment.
‘Fashioner’, your latest EP, is due for release on September 4th, 2020. How was the creation process for ‘Fashioner’ compared to your last album ‘Broken Codes’?
It was very different. ‘Broken Codes’ was written over the course of about 5 years, and we ran into a lot of issues while attempting to record the EP afterward. The final version of ‘Broken Codes’ was our 4th attempt at recording it, and we had worked with different producers and engineers, and in various studios during each attempt. We’re proud of the way it turned out, but it was one of the most difficult projects we’d all been a part of. Creating ‘Fashioner’ was the complete opposite experience in the best way possible. Ryan had just moved into a new home where he and his wife converted their basement into a full studio, so we had unlimited time to make the record. After finishing the first EP, we were excited about writing new songs since we’d been sitting with the others for so long, so the ideas for the songs on ‘Fashioner’ flowed quickly and naturally. When we finished recording the EP, we felt that we had made something special, and that instead of mixing the record ourselves again as we had in the past, we should reach out to someone else who might share our vision for it. Our producer and band mate, Mark Nash, floated the idea of making a list of our favourite mixing engineers and possibly reaching out to some of them to gauge interest. We didn’t know it at the time, but Mark had sent an email to the name at the top of our list, Ken Andrews (Failure/Year Of The Rabbit) and, after listening to a few of the songs, he replied within a day or so and agreed to mix the record. That was definitely a high point for the band.
‘Leave it With the Ghost’ is an absolute belter of a track. It has already had comparisons to both Nine Inch Nails and Tool. Is it always the ambition of the band to always push the limits of what the definitive In Parallel sound can be?
Thank you. I think our approach has always been to write what we’re feeling at the time. Before we even begin writing for a new record, we’ll discuss themes, visuals, and the overall feel of what we want the next group of songs to represent, but we tend to let one song lead us to the next one until we know it’s finished. It’s hard to be objective, but I’d say that each song on ‘Fashioner’ is very different from the next and you’ll probably hear different influences in each, but they work together well as one piece of work.
"I’d say there is an overall theme of hope on this EP, but maybe not so much in the traditional sense."
With everything still up in the air, what do you think the rest of 2020 will look like for you as a band?
Yeah, like you’ve said, everything is still up in the air - we’d love to play shows this year, but the reality is that we won’t until it’s safe. We’ve already begun writing for the next record, so I think that promoting ‘Fashioner’ and writing for the EP that follows is where our focus will be for the remainder of the year.
‘Leave It With the Ghost’ has, I feel, a strong message of hope with lyrics such as “Minds play old tapes/We’ll never be the same/Leave it with the ghost/Limbs bend/Bones sweat/We aren’t broken yet/Leave it with the ghost.”. Was this something you were setting out for when you started writing the track?
A theme that was prevalent during our discussions in the studio was letting go of the past. Letting go of expectations that friends and family may have of you, ideas that you may have once believed and no longer believe, things that people may have said about you that have played over in your head, guilt, fear, etc. I also suffer from insomnia, which gives me plenty of time to overthink all of those things. I wanted this song to express what I have felt so that I could speak to it, but also hopefully share the message with others that it’s not unusual to feel that way, and it’s certainly healthier to let it go.
Does this theme of hope, carry through to the rest of ‘Fashioner’? Or, are there other themes explored in the upcoming EP?
There are actually a few themes explored on ‘Fashioner’. We paced the record to feel more like a storyline with each song having a different theme. For example; friendship and shared experiences as a band, experiencing anger in an honest way, coping with loss and depression, letting go of the past, and rejecting fear disguised as love. I’d say there is an overall theme of hope on this EP, but maybe not so much in the traditional sense.
"When we write songs, we like to ask the question “what would you want to hear a band performing if you walked into a club right now?”. We try to keep that mentality because we really want to make music that we’d listen to on our own."
‘Leave It With the Ghost’ shows new unheard depths in your sound and just how far your sound and musicianship has come since the release of ‘Broken Codes’ in 2018, was this a conscious choice or a natural evolution of your sound?
Yeah, there really was such a difference in the way the 2 EPs were written and recorded, and a pretty large gap in time between when the songs were written for each. When we began writing for ‘Fashioner’, things had changed in each of our lives that had made us different from who we were when we were writing for ‘Broken Codes’. I think it was just a natural evolution from one to the next.
If you could choose any one person to do a guest spot on one of your tracks who would you choose and why?
Nina Persson of The Cardigans. One of my all-time favourite records from start to finish is ‘Long Gone Before Daylight’. No one sings like she does. Her voice is authentic, and every word is placed exactly where it should be. Big fan, obviously.
If you had to choose one song from the In Parallel catalogue that you feel encompasses the bands signature sound, which song would you choose and why?
At this moment, I would say ‘Deep Dark’ is that song. It’s the third track on ‘Fashioner’ and it will be our second single before the EP is released in September. When we write songs, we like to ask the question “what would you want to hear a band performing if you walked into a club right now?”. We try to keep that mentality because we really want to make music that we’d listen to on our own. That’s not meant in a pretentious way – I think it keeps us honest and passionate about what we do, and I think it’s a good goal to set, whether we hit that mark or not. So, after recording a song and then practicing and playing that song over and over, it’s easy for the shine to wear off after a while. I do listen to ‘Deep Dark’ a lot more than I should probably admit, and I’m not sick of it. I know it’s one we’re very proud of and I think you’ll hear the sum of our influences on that one.
Finally, as we are called Not A Phase, were you a scene kid when you were growing up? If not, what kind of music were you rocking out back in your formative teenage years?
I’m not sure that I was a scene kid, but I did find my musical niche in the Sacramento, CA music scene just as Deftones and Far were beginning to make a name for themselves. That was a great time to experience live music. I’ll admit, though, the first cassette tape I ever purchased on my own was ‘Invisible Touch’ by ‘Genesis’, when I was 12. It was another nudge toward knowing that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.