Interview with Parallells

The Parallells duo Julien and Thomas de Bie, former students of the Academy of Music, grew up influenced by jazz and classical music and are now underground electronic stalwarts who are based in Amsterdam.  

They perform at major festivals such around the globe, manage Klassified Records and the Klassified Music Festival and also run “The House of Klassified” in Amsterdam; a creative hub for their artists combining: studios, recording facilities, an art gallery and co-working spaces. Next to this they helm their own A Day In series which takes their musical venture even further by discovering different cultures, tribes and their specific sounds around the world.

They are regulars on Agoria’s Sapiens label and their latest single is a full acoustic version of their own  “Blooming Flower” with a band of seven musicians. Here we speak to the pair about all this and more. 

How have you started 2021?

Fun fact, we started the year in quarantine as Julien got covid. Then we mainly stay in our studio in Amsterdam working on our album and record the acoustic version of Blooming Flower. 

When did you both begin your journey into music, has it always been a part of your life?

Music has played a major role in our lives since our very young age. Our dad is a huge jazz melo-man, we both studied at the music academy and were already jamming with our dad and friends all our youth. It is when we moved to The Netherlands for our studies in 2009 and 2010 that we really got into electronic music and more specifically into the underground scene. It was just a matter of time for us to join forces and created a duo in brotherhood.

Once the music industry returns to some normalcy, what would you like to see change?

We feel that the pandemic has given all artists precious time to be creative. Once the industry returns to normalcy, we would love to see more conceptual performances combining different arts and blowing our minds. 

We also feel that this time off has opened consciousness to organise and celebrate life in a more respectful and sustainable way. We truly hope the upcoming events will be eco-friendly. 

Tell us more about the influence of Amsterdam and how it impacts your music? Whats it like to live there?

Amsterdam is where we feel at home. From its diversity of events, arts and hospitality, to pop-up experiences, the easy access and infrastructure , the soothing walks through the canals and the chillness and openness of the habitants, Amsterdam inspires us every day we bike to our studio. Plus, we have put the headquarters of Klassified here, so Amsterdam has become our cocoon andcreative space where we can collaborate with our network of musicians and artists. 

You have a huge love and passion for big organic sounds and jazz – can you expand on this?

From its complexity, its freedom and its dynamic groove, jazz is the genre that resonates the most to us. The love for organic sounds came through our fields recordings. When you pay attention to listening, you realise that the most musical waves we listen to is the everyday sounds that compose the symphonies of your days. 

You are the guys behind the A Day At series, you travel the world and not only visit locations, but create field recordings and meet local talent, tell us more.

Our “A Day At” series takes unusual places where we capture all kinds of sounds and transform them into pieces of electro music. A wood factory, a hospital, a workshop, a supermarket, a ski resort, an airport, a restaurant kitchen, a greenhouse and even a dentistry has been our creative playground. The sawing of wood, the chopping carrot on a cutting board,  the rustling of plants, the click of a ski shoe and the shaking of quinoa are just some examples of sounds that became elements of our tracks that we will release into our first album “A Day At” and a couple of singles this summer. 

 

“A Day In” is slightly different as we record an entire culture, city or country. We collect sound from these surroundings that we translate into music with the help of local musicians we meet and collaborate along the way. 

Your ‘Blooming Flower’ release is out on Sapiens, alongside some fabulous remixes in Blond:ish and Whitesquare, tell us about the work on the original and how the remixes came about?

It started as a late night jam with our friend Joe (Abundance) where we created the original electronic version that came out last year on Sapiens. Then Sebastien (Agoria) proposed to release it again in a maxi with some remixers of our choice. We thought it was a good opportunity to create an acoustic version with our band. After several recording sessions with Mathilde Marsal on the violin, Robin van Rhin on the drums, Alessandro Mazzieri on the bass, Nicolo Ricci and Julien on the saxophones Alto and Tenor, Joe on the guitar and Thomas on the keys and the mic, the new acoustic version was born. 

Blond:ish came naturally as a remixer, as she represents to us, a strong ambassador of planet conservation with ByeBye Plastic that we are actively taking part in, and  we thought she would resonate to the song. Her remix adds a whole new heartbeat and energy to the original, which will uplift the dance floors to an ecstatic level. We have been following Whitesquare for a while, and have always been admirative of his unique sound. He managed to give a whole new perspective of Blooming Flower, bringing depth and profoundness to our vocals and melodies. 

What more do you have planned for the rest of this year?

Our album “A Day At” will come out on Klassified in September with a few singles before end. We are working on a Parallells & The Band live performance that we will start to showcase this summer.

We are working on two documentaries that will also see the light this year. Our music video series “A Day In” will continue with some episodes in Real De Catorce, Bangkok, Iceland and Oaxaca. 

Performance wise, we have a couple a nice show we are very much looking forward to having, such as Day Zero in Tel Aviv, Nu Jazz Festival in Istanbul and Zamna in Tulum to name a few.

Finally, share a track that has always inspired you.

George Duke – It’s On  and The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Take 5 have always been our whole time favorites since we were young.

Buy the new EP herehttps://smarturl.it/blooming-remixes

Listen on Soundcloud here https://soundcloud.com/sapiensrecords/sets/parallells-ft-abundance-blooming-flower-acoustic-version-blondish-whitesquare-remixes