Parisman talk of influences, recording and their new EP...
There are a great number of bands that just don't seem to get the recognition that their talents deserve. There are bands and artists that plug away for years, wowing the local scene, yet through often no fault of their own, never manage to translate that into chequebook waving activity from the nation's (or should we more sadly and correctly say London's) A&R community. It's a crying shame but even round these here parts, for every Music, Parva and 10,000 Things there's a hundred other acts vying for attention and not every potential next big thing is going to get their message across.
Formed well over five years ago, Parisman have most definitely been there and done it all before, yet somehow never got that buzz going in earnest. It's not for the want of trying or lack of notable successes along the way. No, the hypnotising Batley 5-piece have graced stages at BBC Sound City and the Carling Festival, finished runners up in Futuresound 2000 and last year scooped the loot (£1000 and five days studio time, no less) at the York Evening Press Battle of the Bands. More recently, this summer they had the opportunity to play with and poke fun at the aloofness of The Libertines at Scarborough's H2002 Festival.
We cornered Mike Saville (Guitars and Vocals), Shaun Halloran (Bass and Vocals), James Scholes (Drums and Vocals), Ian Cassidy (Keyboards) and Anthony Lachucik (Guitars, Synths and Drum Machine); behind the table football machine in a nameless Leeds watering hole. For some reason, be it the keyboards and dance beats, murmers of 'a bit like Doves ain't it?' from the audience last time we caught them and a vague recollection of a bit of attitude we go for the controversial opening gambit of 'So what's it all about then, you're all a bit Manc aren't you?' Whoops. Black looks abound and each one of the five remonstrates. "None of the Manchester bands are our influences. Maybe early New Order." Says Shaun. "We're certainly not striving to sound Manc!" Confirms Anthony. "It's a Flaming Lips kind of thing, without actually sounding like them." Explains Ian.
Right, OK, sorry.
"What we do is different to a lot of bands." Says Shaun. "There's bands out there like Simian and Athlete that use keyboards and loops that are kind of what we're about. Only we've got a harder edge. In the last day we've been listening to Grandaddy and The Streets. They probably don't come across at all, but he (pointing at Anthony or 'Hoochy' as he's known) listens to them."
"Yeah, but he reads the NME so don't worry about him" Derides Mike. So the NME isn't where it's at then? Like that question needed to be asked. "They're just saying that I seem to be influenced by what journalists tell me really, but I don't think that's true at all. I just like what I like." Pleads Anthony.
Well this journalist isn't going to tell Hoochy what to do with his music because he and his bandmates are making a pretty darn fine stab of things their own way. And they're always developing their innovative indie-dance-rock hybrid and right now their songs are rapidly heading in the direction of perfection given the performance they put on twenty minutes later.
"We stick to a pretty tight set." Explains Shaun. "We like to be confident in what we do onstage. There's a couple of new songs we've just recorded in the set. We've got a new demo/EP coming out soon. We're just finalising the artwork so it will be out in the next couple of weeks. We're hoping to get a few more gigs sorted to promote that when it's ready. We really enjoyed gigging the last demo and we got some really good feedback from it so I think this new EP will be another progression in the direction we want to go."
So what direction is that then?
"Keeping all the elements we used before, keyboards, dance, mixed up with guitar rock and samples. It's now more concise, typical 3-4 minute pop songs. Condensing all the ideas down rather than going off for about 8 minutes and being muso arses. It's a lot more interesting for the listener. We really enjoy playing and now it's just a case of getting that across better.
So the Parisman sound is different live to that on record then?
James: "When we've had time in the studio we've had a lot of time to work on it, so the backbone is basically what we recorded." "We can't play exactly how the songs are recorded but it is pretty close." Continues Anthony. "Live we've got a really big sound" Says Shaun. "With our last demo people said 'It's good but it doesn't emulate what you are live', so with this one we've worked hard with the producer to try and compress it down - we asked him to try and get it like Mercury Rev or The Flaming Lips and get the drums sounding live."
"So far we haven't had the time or the money." Explains James honestly. "If we had more of both, we'd certainly be even more productive. We're really happy with what we've got but we know with more time we'd do even better. Hopefully in the future we'll be financed and really do these tracks justice".
Onstage the band don't come across as the most demonstrative characters though, there's something fascinating about the intensity of the performance and the quality of the songs that makes sure your eyes are glued to Parisman when they play. Shaun: "We're just insular onstage, it's not that we're arrogant."
"We're just not flamboyant people." Says a thoughtful Ian. Shaun continues: "We do talk to people though! We are sociable. We're not part of any scene though, we're outcasts! We play as we do in the rehearsal rooms. We're not putting on any act."
What's the plan for the band in order to get back onto people's radars?
"We're in need of some management or at least something out of our hands so we can concentrate on the music." Says Shaun. "We're very poor communicators when it comes to venues and record companies. We don't go looking for gigs, so we just end up getting phoned up by other bands and venues. We're looking for management who will back us and believe in the music as well. In the New Year we'll get a string of gigs together and promote the new demo and make sure our name's still out there."
Whether you're potential management or not, keep a lookout for Parisman in the forthcoming months. Could this new demo open up a whole new chapter for a band that have gradually developed into one of this region's interesting and talented acts? Maybe so, what is of course always true, the best things come to those who wait.