On Old Graveyards and New Music Videos: An Interview With The Parlour Tricks
With a surreal new music video released and a tour coming up, The Parlour Tricks are making moves. In the indie pop band’s latest music video, which takes place in a grocery store, the people seem like they’re walking around in a haze at first. Next thing you know, they’re struck by a jolt of madness comparable to a Kanye West tweet. We asked the band about this video, how pop music has changed over the years, and more.
Trebel Music: Your Facebook biography said you think pop music has changed recently. How do you think it has changed and what do you think it’s becoming?
Parlour Tricks: It’s all how you look at it. In the last decade or so, I noticed that the lines between genres were blurry. “Pop” is an umbrella under which a lot of different kinds of music can reside without giving up the fundamentals of that other genre: rock, hip hop, r&b, country, folk. “Pop” is short for popular, right? It refers to songs you can’t get out of your head. I can’t speak for what it’s becoming, but we’re living in a moment where the genre seems to be pretty wide-open and inclusive.
TM: What made you decide on a grocery store for the scene of your music video ?
PT: A few months ago I was in the checkout line at a grocery store and a popular ballad came on the radio. After a minute I noticed that everyone – literally, everyone – around me was singing the song quietly to themselves. It was funny but weirdly moving, and the experience stayed with me long after. All of these people getting their groceries, in their own heads, simultaneously isolated and joined together by this song on the radio. Nobody acknowledged it, but everyone was united for a minute. It was a surreal experience.
TM: There’s a lot of different emotions expressed all at once in the video. How do they tie into the song?
PT: When I brought the idea to the director, Dani Brandwein, she immediately understood what I was trying to get at: the way people internalize sad songs and apply them to whatever is going on in their own lives. The song is about being heartbroken and hopeful. She conjured up these beautiful characters, each of them filtering the meaning of the song through a personal lens, but united by the fact that the music on the radio made them feel something at the same time.
TM: You guys met in college. What college did you guys go to and what are some fun memories from there?
PT: We went to The New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music, and it was all a blur. I do remember the moment when Brian (the bass player) and I became friends. I invited him to come with me to see a performance of the sermon from Moby Dick being done in the chapel in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. It was February and snowing, and afterward we took a little spin around the cemetery and lost track of time. When we got back to the chapel it was midnight, everyone was gone, the lights were out and the front gate was padlocked. Eventually we flagged down a cop car and the police got us out. If that doesn’t cement a friendship what will? It’s a great cemetery though. I recommend it.
TM: What’s it like playing in different cities that you aren’t as familiar with?
PT: Most places are different from home. Sometimes in the best possible ways, and sometimes not so much….
TM: What do you listen to when you’re on the road touring?
PT: Jagged Little Pill.
TM: You list Elvis as one of your influences. How would you say he influences your music?
PT: I’m talking early Elvis, before he went into the army, before s**t got weird with the pills and guns and karate. He was the ultimate performer. He did it all with a flick of a wrist and a wink, so simple and powerful. Plus he was a sucker for dense vocal harmony. His work with The Jordanaires has been a heavy influence on the way I write for voices.
TM: If you could play one song with Elvis which song would it be?
PT: “Mystery Train”… But I’d rather be in the audience.
The Parlour Tricks do a great job of blending indie music with pop and they’re only getting better. Plus, you have to admire someone who appreciates a good graveyard. For all the latest on The Parlour Tricks visit their website here. For more great music, check out the Trebel app.