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Interview: Parcels

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After assuring us that he likes his potatoes boiled, in a salad, preferably with mustard, Noah Hill spilled all.

Image courtesy of Sonic PR

There has been a huge buzz surrounding Parcels’ critically acclaimed self-titled debut, Parcels, which revitalises dizzy disco tracks under the guise of a modern electro-pop framework. Speaking of the album’s release, bassist Noah Hill told The National Student before their show at SWX Bristol, that life has been “pretty chaotic; it’s been one thing after the next and I’ve barely been home, really. But it’s been exciting – it’s been a kind of release in a literal sense, and a relief to finally have it out into the world.”

Although Parcels hail from Byron Bay, Australia, they moved to Berlin, where their floor-fillers rocked Europe. Their music is still received greatly in Australia though, “a while back, I thought that we had more of a European sound, and maybe we do. But then we go home and Australians do still really like it, like, they are really up for a good time – they just wanna dance and get drunk and do stupid things, and we can facilitate that in some way.”

One of Hill’s favourite things about disco music, which he believes Parcels best encaptures, is “really just feeling good. It’s forgetting about the bad things and the negative things in the world. And that’s what it was about the 80s scene, the gay scene in the 80s. It’s just about making you dance.” Disco music is making a comeback in a big way, weaving its way into contemporary pop and synth-heavy chart-toppers, but as is the way of the music industry. Hill believes that its return can be attributed to Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories; “since that album came out, everyone was like ‘oh, okay’, and I really did think that changed the way music was going and it changed our minds too.”

In 2017, Parcels worked closely with the French electro-giants in producing the glossy, bassline beast ‘Overnight’. Hill gushed about the wildly out-of-the-blue experience: “It didn’t really make sense at the time and it doesn’t even make sense now, really. Every day we thought we’d just go to the studio and it’d be empty, scrapped like it didn’t exist, and they wouldn’t be there for the next day. So, yeah, it was pretty wild.” Despite the success that came from the single, however, Hill is adamant that the band don’t want to be defined by it, hence why it didn’t appear on the album nor was it chosen as the finale of the setlist at any of their live shows. “It’s what people would like to define us as. But it’s not what defines us." Hill explained. "It was just a period of the band at that time, but, like all bands, it can always change and evolve. So it’s not a staple – it could be the first thing people go like ‘oh I remember that song, that’s how I got into them first’, but it’s not gonna be defining.”

If there's any defining element of Parcels looking to the future, it's their dedication to their live shows. Before a mesmerising performance at the SWX, where harmonies melted perfectly into the other and collaborative performance seemed almost effortless, Hill told us that “Everything has moved so quick. It’s hard to be certain to go in and know that what you’ve got is good”. Essentially, Parcels want to create a live set that is refreshing and different: “I really wanna play these album songs well and create a live set again that excites audiences...For the album we were like ‘uh, we think it’s good and there you go’ and now for this tour they were just like ‘the album’s out now so go and tour’. We think we’ve got a set and we’re really sure. And last nights show [in Manchester] there were things that didn’t work, so in the next couple of months, not just for this tour, but for festivals next year, our focus is just to work on the live set again”.

To honour the tour now coming to its end, Hill indulged us with one of his most memorable experiences on the road. One so traumatic but comedic in retrospect, he won’t be forgetting about it any time soon... “There was one time that I was almost, kind of left at a petrol station. Last tour we took a bus that didn’t have a toilet, it had beds and everything but you couldn’t go to the toilet. Because of that I’ve got a constant fear now of having to go to the toilet when I can’t, like in all situations. Before I go on stage there’s an hour where I can’t go to toilet, and if I have to, I get really anxious about it now. Anyway, the bus driver pulled over and I ran out to go to the toilet on a tree, in my underwear, because I was sleeping. I don’t know what happened but the driver didn’t see me get out - I just turned around and the bus was like pulling onto the highway. So I was sprinting after this bus, knocking on the window and I was shouting ‘dude’ and then I just saw the face of our tour manager through the bus window and then I got in. But I was so close to being left in the middle of fucking nowhere in my underwear, with no phone - I don’t even know anyone’s number off the top of my head. I would’ve been stranded.”

Noah Hill and the full Parcels outfit are refreshingly humble, and continue to dot their individual quirks throughout both their discography and live performances. We're expecting great things from this band, that is, as long as Noah doesn't get stranded at a petrol station again. 

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