For the last year or so, Parallel Colors have been making some of the most compelling instrumental indie/metal in the city. The band have a knack for big compositional ideas that evolve naturally, jumping genres along the way. You can draw comparisons to Don Caballero, The Fucking Champs, or to a lesser extent Cheer Accident, but bands comprised of virtuosic playing and extraordinary craftsmanship. You can listen to their debut, Terminal, below, and catch them this Friday night with BRXTN, Chase Skinner, and Jet Black Orchid at the Mercury Ballroom for Mercury Rise, a benefit The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Louisville’s Out of the Darkness Walk. We caught up with guitarist Chase Bensing to ask about their origin, cliquishness in the scene, and bad dates.
Never Nervous: How did the band start? Tell us your origin story!
Chase Bensing: Curtis and I started making music as a “project” for experimentation. The music grew into a sound that we were both passionate about so we decided to pursue it with more effort bringing Ben into the fold on drums.
NN: Has it been difficult getting shows? If so, why?
CB: We are very much a DIY band and we do not feel that it is super productive to play locally on a constant basis. We’ve only played two shows thus far and our third is right around the corner. Our first show and the last performance were set up almost entirely by our band. We have had a bit of a struggle with setting up shows out of town. It seems as if promoters are reluctant to throw bands at a developmental stage similar to ours on to shows. We are hopeful to start getting out of the city more frequently in the near future, however.
NN: Relative to that, do you find the scene cliquish in any sort of way? How do you maneuver that, if so? What do you see as your place in the music community? How would you like to be perceived?
“Louisville’s music scene does not seem to have cliques. There are definitely divisions that come just by the nature of genres though.”
CB: Louisville’s music scene does not seem to have cliques. There are definitely divisions that come just by the nature of genres though. Bands also seem to become close with other bands just on a friend level which could lend to an illusion of that. Our place currently feels like one of growth. We wish to be looked upon as skilled creators and artists who are honestly expressing themselves as best as they can.
NN: What can you tell us about Terminal? How did that record come together?
CB: Curtis and I conceived of Terminal almost entirely prior to Ben being in the band. We were working with programmed drums to help flesh out the music in full during the creation process. Bringing Ben into the band really helped to make the music sound right. We had a vision to sound as true to life as we could and the programmed drums just made it sound far too produced. The first song that we made, ironically enough, was Departure, the final track of the album. The second song was Elixir. Hearing how drastically different the two tracks were we knew we should make music that would tie the two movements of the set together, without losing each of the pieces individuality.
NN: Is there a cohesive narrative to the music, or is it a collection of songs? For that matter, how do you impart emotion into your music without lyrics (trust me when I say I know you don’t need them)?
CB: All of the music wasn’t initially constructed with a narrative in mind. We also try to leave that aspect pretty open ended. Each member of the band seems to have their own interpretation of each track and the composition as a whole, some favoring a more literal interpretation and some leaning more towards raw expression. Explaining an emotional connection with music that does not utilize lyrics is, expectedly, a difficult idea to express in words. This is something that we believe most people experience though. Films would fall flat for the lack of a score. Life is the same. Each person’s life has a score. We attempt to articulate our own for others to enjoy with us.
“Explaining an emotional connection with music that does not utilize lyrics is, expectedly, a difficult idea to express in words.”
NN: How do you compose? Is it riff or jam based? Is it the work of one person or a collaborative effort?
CB: We build our music from several angles. Generally, one of us will bring some partially constructed melodies to the other members. From there the rest of the band will build their layers onto that frame. Depending on how finished the piece is feeling we will begin to expand from there.
NN: When should we expect a new album?
CB: We just started working on new music about two months ago. This time we are shooting for a full length album. We hope to have it finished and recorded for a release around mid 2018.
NN: Why does anyone believe that the world is flat? Like who would even benefit from that conspiracy? Big Sphere-a or something?
CB: People like our drummer are easily convinced of ideas like this. He is so full of gas that he has his own atmosphere. This doesn’t aid him in trusting in science however.
NN: Tell me about the worst date you’ve ever been on.
CB: I don’t think this counts as a date, but the first time that I hung out with my now fiancée was at a party where our friends were trying to set us up. She avoided all interaction with me and was wearing a piece of jewelry that looked like a ring pop. Somehow this same person wants to marry me now.
NN: What non-musical things get you riled up lately and why? Have you watched, eaten, drank, or read anything worth hooting and hollering about?
CB: I recently had a hernia surgery which had me hooting and hollering in another way. During that recovery time I watched way too much TV. I watched the second season of Mr. Robot, The second season of True Detective, the first season of Vice Principals, and the current season of Game of Thrones. Vice Principals is hilarious, by the way.
NN: Last and always last: a music question. If you all were on tour, what would you listen to, and how would you pick it?
CB: I recently did a mini tour with my other band and spent most of the drive time inside of headphones mixing the new Midnight Channels album. We are really tight with those guys and think we could all agree on rocking out to that.