Parcels are a band that are paving their own way through a common mission to make people dance. The five-piece from Sydney, Australia has had a unique trajectory to their career, all culminating now in their debut self-titled album that was released in October.
The group had an impressive breakout, employing the help of the friend of the band Daft Punk on a more recent single. After they came to their first show in Paris, they were introduced to the band and a collaboration with one of the most sought after acts in the world ensued. Nearly two years after the release of "Overnight," the guys have told the story so many times they can barely find the words to recall the details of it anymore. "The experience follows us and it shaped us in a way and we are very grateful of that," Jules Crommelin, the band's lead singer, told us during soundcheck of their recent sold out show in Los Angeles. "At this stage, we've moved on, just releasing our first album, and there's actually a lot more brighter things happening right now that are keeping us going." "We shared a mutual love of groovy music," Crommelin says, reiterating the band's common goal of making music we can all dance to.
But while working with a mammoth of a duo like Daft Punk might hinder some careers and leaving them trying to repeat their initial success, Parcels has shown us that that's just one outcome of a start like that. "Overnight" was an exclamation to their already established funky style. But for the members of Parcels, that wasn't always a known goals. Keys player and singer Louie Swain explained that before the members met in school, they had played in a variety of bands – funk, folk and metal. But when they got together, they knew immediately what they wanted to do. "We were young and we wanted to get out of our small town. Because we were all together, us five, and we wanted to start the project of Parcels it was easy because we had a motive and we had each other to make the move happen. The one thing we all connected on was making high energy music – making people dance, making groovy music. "
Quickly after forming the band, the guys left for Berlin. "We went with the intention of starting Parcels," Swain says, "and it wasn't so hard to make the move," since most of them were living at home with family and went straight to the plane to start their new lives in Berlin. There, they were eventually signed to Kitsuné Musique, a French label known for its uniquely local fine tuning of electronic music. They've been in Berlin for approaching four years now, now speaking enough German to order a coffee and feel comfortable. Unlike those who seek out Berlin's specific music scene, for Parcels, it has been the way we've been able to travel everywhere and feel that comfort, enough to survive and do what they love.
Parcels hasn't been able to be successful from just one song and a hope of creating something groovy, though. They've been able to carve a niche for themselves, and to create music that has a unique contemporary blend of funk, disco, soul and inflections of rock and roll's origins for modern ears. They cycle through their inspirations – The Brothers Johnson are their new favorite at the moment, but Quincy Jones, Rodriguez, Megadeth, Crosby Stills Nash and and Young, and "Crosby Stills and Nash without Young are my personal favorite" jokes Swain. Their success at this is demonstrated in multiple ways – their chemistry on stage, unity in their commitment to their 1970's wardrobe full of vintage leisure suits and haircuts that leave you wondering if George Harrison looked so young when he sported the same looks, and an obvious devotion from fans. In LA, this was clear at their show at The Troubadour, where they commanded the stage despite still being jet lagged from their initial trip from Europe.
It's not all about the past for Parcels, though. Get them talking about Drake or debating music and they light up. "Parcels as a collective has a complicated relationship with Drake. Some of us find it really hilarious and some of us find it really serious and actually like what he's doing," Crommelin says, "We are always arguing about Drake." "The scope of the whole thing is what's so fascinating, the impact that it has on the world versus what it actually is is pretty insane," and something to aspire to, at times, but more importantly learn from, right?
Parcels marks a huge milestone for the band, as their first long form projects following some singles and EPs. "It's been a huge learning curve for us from where we were before to where we are now," Crommelin says, "I feel like we have really come a long way. Making the album was a"strenuous time" for the group, as they set goals and pushed themselves as artists. "We put a lot of pressure on ourselves," says Swain. "It was one of the only things we've done as a band where we set this big goal for ourselves of what we wanted the album to be and that we wanted to do it all ourselves." He goes on, "We needed to do it in a short enough amount of time that it would come out this year, but we did it and we worked and got to the and and felt so satisfied."
Parcels is out now via Kitsuné Musique, and their latest single "Withorwithout" debuted its corresponding music video and short film featuring Milla Jovovich earlier this month.