Parlour Tricks Talk About Nudity In Videos, Tour Tips + More
Parlour Tricks might not necessarily be a household name just yet, but they are one of those New York bands that have managed to shine amongst the ever-growing sea of talent. And after spending 2014 spreading their harmonious pop sound, the sextet will be bringing the year to a close with a hometown show at the Mercury Lounge on Saturday (Dec. 13).
Formerly known as Lily & the Parlour Tricks, the band not only used this year to get their music out there with the singles 'Requiem' and 'Lovesongs,' but they also took a step back to re-evaluate what they wanted to do as a band. And now shortening their name, they have made an impact on the new music scene with notable sets at Bonnaroo, SXSW and more recently, the CMJ Music Marathon.
Before they hit the stage at Mercury Lounge this weekend, Diffuser had the chance to chat with Lily Claire about what the band has been up to over the past year, being naked in their 'Lovesongs' video, and what their plans are for 2015.
Let's start at the beginning. How did the group get together?
We met in college and fell in love with each other -- but six-ways are complicated, so we decided to start a band instead.
You were once known as Lily & the Parlour Tricks. What inspired the shortened moniker?
A friend of mine said, "You've changed the whole menu, so you might as well change the name of the restaurant." That kind of sums it up. We started from scratch this year in a lot of ways. A "new" name is emblematic of all the other new-ness. And honestly, this is how we've always referred to ourselves and how a lot of people refer to us anyway. Definitely not an earth-shaking decision. It felt natural.
What's the story behind the video 'Lovesongs'? What was it like to be naked and play with body paint?
There isn't too much of a story. We knew we were gonna have a day off in Nashville in September, and far be it from us to ever actually take a day off. So we decided to borrow a green screen kit and buy some body paint. Our only concrete idea was to all be singing interchangeably, both as ourselves and as these painted creatures -- a kind of alien karaoke. We gave all the footage to Afloat Design Group, the guys who edited the 'Requiem' video" with very minimal instructions, and they created a beautiful pastel universe for us. As for what it was like to be naked and play with paint ... I think we all know the answer to that question.
'Requiem' is an older video, but it looked like a lot of fun to film it, too. How did that one come about?
One night last winter half of us were running late for a gig. When we showed up, Brian and Angelo had choreographed a dance backstage because they were bored. This conveniently coincided with the release of 'Requiem' as a single, and we had been strapped for music video ideas. 'Parlour Tricks Learns to Dance' was the logical move. We shot incrementally in Nashville while we were recording, and sent a week's worth of footage to Afloat (the first time we worked with them). They filled it with magic.
After doing that video, what became each of your signature dance moves?
Jury's still out on whether or not we actually learned how to dance at all.
You've been named best pop band of the year by the Village Voice. How does it feel to get that recognition, especially in the band's hometown?
It felt wonderful. We didn't know we'd been nominated, or even if there was a nomination process at all. The Village Voice is one of those real New York traditions, and their annual lists are taken seriously by their readers. It's an honor to be taken seriously by them. So much of our work is trial and error, but now it feels just a little more like we must be doing something right.
Touring in such a big group can be quite interesting. What are your tips for keeping things sane on the road?
Listen to 'The Savage Lovecast' by Dan Savage, and make sure there's a large variety of snacks. I should probably knock on wood before saying this, but we don't really have trouble keeping things sane on the road. It's always fun. Maybe it's because the band is half-men, half-women, and there's some kind of built in equilibrium. I don't know. I'm going to go knock on wood now.
On the band's Facebook page, there's mention of a "larger release" for 2015. How is the progress on that? What can we expect?
We've been working on this thing on and off since last winter, going to Nashville for week-long stretches to work with our producer, Emery Dobyns. But it looks like it's going to be done ... really soon. 2015 is going to be fun.
Parlour Tricks are playing Mercury Lounge in New York City on Saturday, and it looks to be a big one for you guys. Feelings on the upcoming gig?
Like any show, we want to have fun and make our audience happy. But this is our last show of what's been a really crazy year. We're ready to send it off with a bang. And Mercury Lounge is our favorite venue at home.
Who are your favorite New York bands?
Currently? Not Blood, Paint!. In general, the Velvet Underground.
Plans for the holidays?
Spiked cider and heavy napping.
And plans for 2015?
Many. Hold on to your hats.