Catching Up With Parcels’ Louie Swain

Music Features
Catching Up With Parcels’ Louie Swain

Parcels might not be very well known in America right now, but don’t be surprised when their funky electronic music ends up on some best of the year lists. The Australian band has been incredibly busy this year, touring all over the world and working diligently on their upcoming yet-to-be-titled album, but keyboardist Louie Swain took some of his precious time off to discuss the new record and the band’s changing sound.

Three years ago, Parcels moved to Europe from their native Australia to pursue a musical career. Berlin itself was a game of chance. “It wasn’t really important where in Europe [we ended up], so we kind of picked Berlin randomly on a map and just showed up here,” said Swain while on a bicycle ride in his new hometown. The five-piece have come quite a long way since forming in high school in the seaside town of Byron Bay, Australia, and have come quite a long way since those early days. After signing to the French boutique label Kitsuné, they were noticed (and produced) by the legendary Daft Punk. They’ve already released several singles and an EP, but this upcoming album will be their full-length debut.

Despite all being in their early 20s, Parcels draw inspiration from an earlier, oft-disparaged era. “Disco became a fascination of ours around the same time we started making electronic music,” said Swain. “The combination of us starting to make [music] electronically, but also listening to this very classic old, live, recorded disco music I think probably had like a strong pull on our sound early on.” You can thank their upbringing for the latter. “Our parents always played, like, very classic records for us growing up,” he added.

The new album, however, departs from what has become their signature sound. “It’s not as electronic as probably the first releases,” Swain said. “We try to dip into a little bit of older music that’s inspired us over the years. … There’s a little bit of prog rock in there. [We’ve been] listening to a lot of ’60s exotica music, like tropical-sounding percussion.”

You can hear the shift in tone from disco-heavy beats on the single “Tieduprightnow” to the more subdued, breezy “Bemyself,” which was released last Friday. While the album release date is yet to be announced, it will drop towards the end of 2018, and Swain is proud of what he and the rest of the band has accomplished. “We’re really happy with how it’s sounding. It’s the closest we’ve ever got to sounding like what we wanted to—exactly.”

Parcels is currently in the middle of a lengthy tour. You can watch their live rooftop video for “Tieduprightnow” below, and listen to the new single “Bemyself” here.

Annie Black is Paste’s social media manager. Follow her on Twitter: @helloannieblack.

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