The Parallels - Interview with Vancouver’s Indie Group
Dictionary meaning of parallels: an arrangement or state that permits several operations or tasks to be performed simultaneously
Last month, my colleague and I were fortunate enough to attend two great gigs - The Magic Numbers, and their opening act, The Parallels. I was immediately struck with The Parallels’ raw energy; their get off your ass and start moving riffs and their onstage ‘we’ll have fun with or without you’ confidence. They performed like veterans of the touring route and I was surprised to learn they had only been together for less than a year.
The group consists of four members: Mike Flintoff (guitar), Mike 'Mick" McDiarmid (drums), Tyler Mounteney (bass), and Jarrod O'Dell (organ & guitar)). After their gig I immediately approached them to find out where they were from and was pleased to note they are one of Vancouver’s ‘own’ home grown. We discussed possibilities of an interview but soon realized that an online approach would work best. After determining an assortment of questions I was soon on my way with Mike Flintoff and Jarrod O’Dell stepping up to answer the questions presented.
Swanktrendz: First of all, thank you for taking the time to converse with us, and let me add that we are thoroughly enjoying your cd, 1961 McLean. I'd like to get right to the cd. Could you please let us know who plays what instrument(s) and sings which type of vocal (ie: lead, etc.)?
The ParallelsWithin The Parallels there is no specific "lead" vocal. The vocals are shared by Mike, Jarrod and Tyler.
ST Where did the name 'The Parallels' come from? How did the group arrive at, and agree upon, this name?
TP It just looks good on a poster, doesn't it?
ST What are the ages and marital status of members in the band?
Mike Flintoff 25 - Almost there
Tyler Mounteney 25 - Married
Jarrod O'Dell 25 - Married
Mike "Mick" McDiarmid 26 - Spoken For
ST The title of the cd is '1961 Mclean' and the insert states the cd is dedicated to Frank William Flintoff. I assume the Flintoff in question is related to Mike. Could you please explain the significance of the cd’s title?
TP The title of the CD "1961 McLean" refers to a warehouse where The Parallels formed and wrote this record. While recording the record we moved on from the warehouse and felt the need to document that ‘era’ of the band. The dedication of the record is for Mike’s grandfather, Frank Flintoff who passed on during the making of this record.
ST Well that clears up my preconceived notion that 1961 was a significant year in some regard.
ST I've also noticed that 1961 McLean is the first release for the Upstart Hi-Fi Logo. Are you associated with and/or or shareholders/owners of Upstart Hi-Fi? If you are involved in the company - what is its purpose - recording studio, producing facility, etc?
TP Upstart Hi-Fi was, at the time of ‘1961 McLean's’ release, strictly a vanity label meant to draw interest for what was ahead. In November, 2005, construction began on the Upstart Hi-Fi studio based in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Fully owned and operated by The Parallels, Upstart Hi-Fi are looking to be fully operational by February 2006.
ST Be sure to remind swanktrendz of the grand opening ( when the date is set) so we may advertise it to Vancouver’s musical community.
ST Who writes the lyrics/music? How does the writing process evolve, and in which area do you write the best (ie: jamming session, or a song will come to one of you and you bring it to the rest... or...)
TP As for the writing of the music The Parallels work as a collaborative effort. The main source of the songs comes from Mike, Jarrod and Tyler, however once the band has its hands on the tracks, the songs evolve so that each members’ personal contribution is fused.
ST What Major musical influences did you have while growing up?
TP British R&B, Soul, Ska, Reggae, '77 Punk Rock.
ST What are the band's personalities like? Is there the ‘introverted one’ or any other stereotype you can think of? Who is the main spokesman for the group?
TP No single member of The Parallels can shut-up long enough to allow for a single spokesman. Everyone speaks for the band, and usually at the same time. The Parallels are essentially one person split into four! Energetic, spastic, and passionate about music and culture to a fault.
ST What do you think of the comparison Swanktrendz made between the Parallels to ‘Joe Strummer meeting the Blasters’?
TP The comparison to Joe Strummer is quite flattering as it strikes a strong chord for all members in the band. As for The Blasters we can understand the hint of R&B and the energy produced by the band. However, there are no members in The Parallels that are avid listeners of The Blasters.
ST Do The Parallels have a following as yet and what type audience do you want/hope to attract?
TP Most members of the band are avid scooterists and culturalists, from the Mod scene to Skinhead Reggae to "indies". Nonetheless, The Parallels aren't aiming to please one specific crowd. We've been fortunate to have support from a wide range of audiences within Canada and are humbled by the great response we've received in recent months.
ST Any other opening gigs for 'important' (depends on your definition of important) bands? Ie: Magic Numbers is garnering acclaim everywhere and no doubt will go on to bigger and better things. Is there anyone else you've opened for and thought, ‘Hey now, this group is going places?’
TP We would consider Ted Leo and The Pharmacists an important act that we have opened for. Opening for The Magic Numbers was a pleasant surprise, we didn't know too much about the band until the coming weeks before the gig. The Magic Numbers are definitely a band garnering acclaim, turn on the TV and you'll see them on Conan O'Brien.
ST Conan, in my opinion, is a perfect ‘recognition’ platform for indie bands as his producers seem to recognize the ‘just-on -the-edge-of-full-blown-success’ factor. It’s almost equivalent to Johnny Carson giving comedians high profile by inviting them to ‘join him’ at the desk. Saturday Night Live tends to showcase bands AFTER they’ve made a name for themselves.
ST Any favorite local Vancouver acts at present?
TP Our favorite local Vancouver acts at present are The Transmitors,
The Jolts, and Vancougar.
ST What is your present touring schedule so that we may publish it. Also, provide a contact number to book a gig.
TP The Parallels are currently focusing on setting up the Upstart Hi-Fi recording studio. Over the remaining winter we will be compiling new material for our live set and our next record. Tour dates will be available for the New Year! Stay posted at Upstart Hi Fi and at www.theparallels.net. For booking and general contact: theparallels at upstarthifi dot com
ST How long did it take from inception to end product to create 1961 Mclean?
TP While recording "1961 McLean" the Parallels were in a transitional time. The record originally had two sides; one side Rock 'N Roll and the other side Ska and Reggae. During post production we found ourselves evolving and leaning towards the Rock 'N Roll side of things. From inception to end the process took just under a year.
ST What category, in a music store, would you like to see your cd placed under?
TP Rock 'N Roll
ST It was a pleasure meeting you and watching you perform. I would also like to thank you on behalf of the swanktrendz community for allowing us a glimpse into ‘The Parallels’ world.