French-born Amsterdam-based electronic duo Parallelle recently announced a ground-breaking project titled ‘A Day In’. The project will feature electronic music infused with cultural sounds from different countries and aims to preserve ancient learnings and cultural heritage for the future while shedding light on foreign cultures, communities, ethnicities, instruments, and rhythms.
The first EP ‘Essaouira’ lands on May 5th via their Klassified label. It features the sounds of Essaouira, an 18th-century port city on Morocco’s Atlantic coast lined with stunning ramparts and historic brass cannons.
You can stream/buy it here: https://snd.click/KL030
We caught up with Parallelle ahead of the first release under their ‘A Day In’ project to talk further about the concept, their upbringing, integrating natural sounds into their production and a whole lot more:
How has your upbringing in France influenced your music, and do you draw any inspiration from French culture or history?
It had a huge influence on us, especially the poetic singers from our grandparents’ time. Our French grandma always sang Charles Aznavour, Charles Trenet, Michel Sardou, Serge Gainsbourg and so on. We love poetry, especially Thomas, when he writes lyrics.
Can you describe your creative process when working on new music, and how do you collaborate and bounce ideas off each other?
It depends on what it is. When working on A Day In Music, we split the work of episodes between us. The first steps are categorizing all the recordings into sample packs and creating top loops, making it easier.
Then in terms of creation, we both have our strengths. Thomas has an excellent feel for melodies, chord progressions and baselines, and Julien is great with rhythmics, FX and turning audio into new forms.
When working on new tracks, we often bounce ideas between us, exchange Ableton projects and save new versions each time so it’s easier for one of us to go back to his initial ideas if needed. The final touches are always done together in the studio. We keep a good balance between our own creative time and togetherness.
Your music often incorporates elements of nature and the environment. Tell us about your ‘A Day In’ project and how you integrate different travel experiences into your music and production process.
It started with our first album, ‘A Day At,’ where we translated working places into pieces of music. And since our music is heavily influenced by world culture, it led us to push the project further to “A Day In”. Through this, we immerse in diverse cultures worldwide, capture sound from their day-to-day life and unfold their story musically.
The expedition around the globe has enlarged our musical openness. Different countries and different periods of time with several influences are mostly illustrated with a specific sound. It is like a melodic history book. This is, for us, the most interesting and inspirational aspect of music. It has brought us to work together with musicians from different backgrounds and cultures, such as Maalem Omar Hayat in Gnawa music (Morocco), El Venado Azul in Huichol music (Mexico), Páll Guðmundsson who crafted instruments out of native rock in Iceland, to name a few.
We don’t just inspire each other; it is also a way to shed light on their long-rooted insights, creating bridges between tradition and modernity and working towards a symbiosis that shows the essence of culture. We believe it is important to accept diversity and to perpetuate musical knowledge.
You visit several stunning locations throughout the project; how have you differentiated between each to give them a unique and relevant feel?
The places are so different that they already give a unique feel. Different cultures, landscapes, natures, crafts, and, most importantly, people. The musicians we meet always create a different story, symbiosis, vibe and musical emotions.
Were there specific locations that impacted you more than others during the recording of ‘A Day In’? If so, which ones and why?
Japan truly gave us a big slap when it came to how humans can work perfectly in society. They have so much respect for each other; it’s a good learning experience. India has the same for the animals; the majority of the population is vegetarian. Real de Catorce has so much respect for the earth, its mountains and all the elements.
All these travels have given us so much gratitude for the world we live in, our lives and ourselves and created a growing love and respect for the earth and its occupants.
You’ve also collaborated with different artists and vocalists throughout the project. How do you approach collaboration, and what do you look for in a collaborator?
We do our research before recording new destinations and have already contacted the artists we want to collaborate with. It usually works via word of mouth, friends of friends that always lead us to the best encounters. Language is often a barrier, but we always have a local friend with us or Google translate that makes a collaboration go smoothly.
We even created a sign language with the Gnawas to perform our music (1 meaning to play the guembri, two the crotales, three the voices, four everything louder and 0 silence). Music is a universal language, and we really experienced it during this project.
What sets your sound apart from other electronic music producers, and how do you continue to evolve and experiment with your sound?
We don’t really compare ourselves to other artists and just like to be inspired by what others do. One thing that is rare and truly special to us is our brotherhood and how perfectly aligned we are in visions, creation and performance. It is hard to explain, but it is magical.
Musically speaking, travelling and collaborating is, to us, our biggest way of evolving and getting more knowledge in terms of rhythm, chord progression, scale, mixing, Ableton tricks and so on.
Can you describe a particularly memorable moment or experience while touring or performing as Parallelle other than ‘A Day In’?
We have so many Parallelle moments that are memorable. I guess the sunrise set on the Robot Heart bus at Burning Man was quite an unforgettable one. And we started the year performing a 3-hour set after the midnight countdown in Costa Rica that will stay forever in our hearts. Both sets are on our Parallelle Soundcloud.
How do you see the electronic music industry evolving in the coming years, and how do you think Parallelle will fit into that landscape?
We are planning on going into more concert formats for our performance, including all the samples, some guests on stage and visuals we gathered over the years. And will also still play big banging tunes at festivals.
We see live performances increasing for sure, but also a big comeback of the good groovy tunes that House artists were originally making. The soul is definitely coming back. At least, this is where we are going.
Lastly, what can you tell us about any other upcoming releases or projects you have in the works, and what can fans expect from your music soon?
Besides all the club versions of each ‘A Day In’ episode that will be released on Klassified, we also have a massive EP on Crosstown Rebels coming in June together with Nicolas Massyeff. Our music is getting groovier, with dirtier rhythmics and more minimalistic.
Parallelle’s ‘A Day In’ series kicks off with their ‘Essaouira’ EP that lands on May 5th via their Klassified label. You can stream/buy it here: https://snd.click/KL030