Parcels | Live Vol. 2

In conversation with the band upon their latest album release

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With Live Vol. 2, Australian-born outfit Parcels delivers their most bold take on dance music to date. While the band has always dabbled in different interpretations of dance music, the new live album, which was released last month via Because Music, features renditions of their music that pull from the clubbing scene of their current home base, Berlin. Tracks from their previous albums, largely their 2021 album Day/Night, are brilliantly tuned for extended, hours-long club sets. 

Live Vol. 2 consists of twelve tracks, all recorded live by the band at a secret gig at Paris’s Le Palace last year. Of those twelve tracks, five brand new & unreleased songs are included. Upon release, the band announced a decently sized Asia Tour for 2024, in addition to a headlining performance at Colorado’s landmark outdoor venue, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, which has already sold out. 

We sat down with the band to discuss the new project, how they arrange songs into live versions, the upcoming tour, and more. 

Tell us about “Thefear.” Why was this segment of the show from Le Palace chosen to preview Live Vol. 2?

“Thefear” was one of the earlier new tracks that developed into a clubby version when we started to play it live. We were already interested in trying to create a live concert that felt like a driving DJ set but were uncertain we could achieve playing many Day/Night tracks in this way, so it was exciting when this arrangement formed, and it felt like it contained the spirit of the song while pushing it into a new energy. When we got the film back, the “Thefear” segment felt like its own self-contained music video, so we thought it would be cool to show this before the rest as a statement for how this Live Volume was going to be different from the last.

Do you approach each performance the same way? How do you convert a song that doesn’t resemble a club track for a dance-focused live performance?

We definitely try to plan our concerts for the situation as much as possible. A festival slot in the afternoon needs a different approach to a headline club show where we can control the situation more. But we like to have fun with it and challenge these expectations also. For turning the songs into club versions, we often simplified the vocal parts to just one line or chorus repeated over and over, like a looped sample. Then, it would fall on the instrumental to tell the dynamic story of the track. To arrange this, we would jam for hours in soundcheck on tour and eventually, without discussing too much, a structure that felt exciting in its repetitiveness would usually form.

You've spent time in Berlin's renowned club scene. In what ways has that experience influenced the evolution of Parcels' sound and approach to music today?

I would say we learnt an appreciation for the storytelling capabilities of a very long club set, like three or more hours long. There’s an art form there that is hard to appreciate unless you are experiencing it in the room, with that specific atmosphere and crowd, so it’s a more underground approach. As a band, we’ve always naturally produced long-form ideas—we love albums and extended arrangements —which often conflict with the pop sensibility and attention span. In Berlin, people are completely up for an extended musical journey. Usually, they expect it because they understand how rewarding it can be. So, I think experiencing this gave us the confidence to take a moment to explore this in our music rather than try to edit it away.

Live Vol. 2 follows the success of Live Vol. 1. How does this new live project compare?

This volume is more of a statement than the last. We’ve had this idea of a fully club-sounding live show for a long time, and last year, the sound formed while we were on the road touring. The first volume was a very clean, full capture of the set we’d played at festivals many times, which people loved and we were really happy with, but the thought of doing it this way again felt uninspiring. Live Vol. 2 is crafted to feel like a new album of music you can listen to or dance to the whole way through, with samples of our other songs integrated throughout. It’s still completely live-played and captured but with more intention and consistency this time.

Your music has been described as "cheeky, timeless, and devilishly catchy." Can you take us through your collaborative and creative process as a band that contributes to shaping this unique sound?

I think we’re at a point now where we trust each other's tastes and opinions very deeply. The progression in sound forms organically because it's so fun for us to challenge our current flavour and take it in a new direction. Maybe that’s where the cheekiness comes from? I don’t know. We have a few modes of creative process. These live volumes form by touring and reimagining the albums we make in the studio. We stick to our instruments and play whatever we can to bring the songs to life in a new and exciting way. In the studio, it's a bit quieter and more mystical.

What can fans anticipate during your upcoming Asia Tour in March next year, and are there specific moments or destinations you're eagerly looking forward to?

The boys are very excited about this whole trip. We haven’t been there in years and have only played Japan and Korea a couple of times. We’ll likely bring a show that feels fun and varied, not all dance music, but definitely some! Hopefully a couple of new songs, too. The festival in Thailand with Jack Johnson feels like a great situation. We talk about him a lot in the band, and he’s a bit of a legend around Byron, where we grew up. Also excited for new brand new cities like Hong Kong and Taipei, where none of us have ever travelled to before.

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future of Parcels? Do you see yourselves venturing further into the realm of dance music?

Dance music has always been a pillar of the band. We formed with the idea of producing grooves electronically and then moved away from that. It’s been fun to come back and flip the idea completely and produce electronic tracks through live recording. If we know anything about how we operate, however, it’s a flavour that we now can pull out when needed, but it’s one of many. I think Parcels will continue to have moments where we can immerse totally in a fresh sound and then move on. There’s a lifetime of music to make, and I hope we can look back on ours and say we tried everything we wanted to and pulled it off.

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