PARALLELLE RELEASES ‘A DAY IN’ SERIES
Interview by Linda Schreiter
French-born Amsterdam-based electronic duo Parallelle have been turning heads with their culturally inspired “A Day In” project, which explores sounds and scenes from around the world whilst aiming to emulate each location through many of its individual characteristics and signature instruments.
Following the first two releases, A Day In “Essaouira” and “Real de Catorce”, the duo now tackle a wider radius with the next release, celebrating several locations in their “Asia Pacific” edition. Captivating locations, accompanied by authentic feature artists on each track, Parallelle take us to Fiji, Java, Osaka, Bengaluru and Bangkok through varied genre mediums, including House, Minimal, Techno and even Breaks. Parallelle’s “A Day In” Asia Pacific Edition is available from 24th November 2023 via Klassified.
Parallelle’s unique approach to electronic music has garnered them a loyal following, and this project promises to be their most ambitious undertaking yet. The duo’s ability to blend cultural sounds with electronic beats has the potential to create a new sound that’s never been heard before. Parallelle has recently released a preview for “A Day In Iceland”, click here to get a taste.
“A Day In’ is a video series where we immerse ourselves in diverse cultures through the power of sound. By traveling through different countries around the world, we encountered several locals, discovered their roots, and their musical backgrounds. Together we go on the quest for sounds that we later translate into music. In doing so, we are showing the viewer and listener the importance of exploration and curiosity. Guiding the audience to feel, experience, and fully grasp a specific culture, landscape, local engagement from a musical perspective.” – Parallelle.
We recently had the chance to have a chat with the DJ Duo about the “A Day In” project and their perspective on music and culture.
Firstly, this is a beautiful project. Can you tell me how this idea evolved?
Our passion for sounds comes a long way. It started with our first album ‘A Day At’, where we translated common places such as a kitchen, an airport, and a supermarket all into musical composition. As touring artists, the more we were traveling, the more we got exposed to an incredible variety of sounds that inspired us along the way. This sparked the expansion of the sound recording idea from places to cities and culture. And ‘A Day In’ saw the light.
Alongside the production of music, you mentioned that there will also be podcasts released. Can you tell me more about the content of the podcasts?
Thomas has been writing about each destination, in a blog: parallelmusic.com/blog, telling the story behind each city, with a focus on the importance of music in the culture, the encounters we had, and the realization and inspirations that came from our expeditions. The idea would be to record these writings as a podcast. And through words, immerse the listener into a new city, a new culture. But it still deserves some fine tuning.
Additionally to that there will be masterclasses offered, what educational offer will those contain?
We have given a few talks, there are usually two main topics. The first one is the power of sound. It is about seeing life not through your eyes, but through your ears. In this masterclass, we go through the evolution of sound. How sound affects us, how it can evoke emotions and the universality of music as an understandable language throughout all cultures.
The second one is a more technical one. It is about how we transform these recordings into rhythmic elements, FX sound, melodic sound, through several Ableton techniques, plug-ins and so forth.
Can you tell me about the title of the project? Why did you choose to call it a day in?
It comes from our previous album, where we spent ‘a day at’ a place, recorded all the sounds and made a track from it. The video now showcases the discovery of a city in a day, therefore, ‘A Day In’.
You are talking about the importance of listening; can you individually elaborate what the importance of listening means to you?
Julien: When you take the time to listen to your surroundings, you start noticing the actual sounds of the things we often overlook. Listening truly puts you in the present moment and there is nothing more important than that. You become more conscious and aware of where you are, who you are with.
Thomas: The more you listen, the more you can catch the harmony in everyday sounds that surround us. There is one quote from the poet Rumi that uses the right words to explain it:
Don’t they see that all nature is singing? Everything in the universe moves with a rhythm: the pumping up the heart, the flaps of the bird’s wings or the wind on the stormy night. Everything partakes passionately and spontaneously in one magnificent melody. – Rumi
You already have done some projects. Which one of them has been the most remarkable for you and why?
We’ve been composing music for quite a few years now, and some projects are purely triggered to make people dance on the dancefloor. Which, by the way, is one of the most rewarding feelings. But we admit, ‘A Day In’ is extra special because every sound we use in the composition has a story to tell. For us it represents a specific moment in time, in space and with a specific person. All these moment of curiosity are memories, to which we can go back to through the power of sound, making this project extraordinary…
Can we expect further projects like this?
Yes of course! The world is big, we are still young, and we are curious explorers at heart. We are looking forward getting to know more inspiring cultures, countries and philosophies and getting to know the world as a whole. We feel this our life journey.
Can you tell me about some cultural aspects you have learned and that have had a remarkable impact on you?
Every culture has been so special but Real de Catorce touched our souls. We spent the week with Waxarikan band called El Venado Azul, composed of singers, bubble bass, violin, guitar drums. We were so humbled by their kindness, vision of life, their respect for nature, community, and their ability to let dreams guide them. Immersing in the indigenous Wixarikan culture really taught us a lot. Plus, the project took a bigger meaning where we realized we were recording and filming a legacy that is sadly fading away.
Is there something you have learned throughout these collaborations that improved your individual process of creating sounds?
So many, the tempo counts are different, the rhythm is different. Some instruments were totally new to us. All of these open the scope of musical understanding. They become learning tool as well as inspiration for our future compositions. One realisation is how the world around us can make sound, organic instrument, choir, and so forth. Another one is how powerful sound can be in reuniting people.
Can you tell me about difficulties you have faced during the journeys of the projects?
Each destination had its own unique quirks and set of challenges. Ultimately, it is a matter of adaptation, taking risks, and staying playful throughout the process as there are bound to be blips along the way. It’s also about accepting the state of sounds that are around, as sounds are not 100% perfect when they are being captured. With hundreds and thousands of sounds happening at the same time, it can be very challenging to capture and isolate sounds. However, we try to embrace the chaos, and remain open to other types of sounds. The main challenge though was the language barrier with most of the musicians, we had to use Google translate a lot and get help from our local guides. One thing we notice though, is that once we passed the introduction and started jamming and recording, music was our common language.
Which sound/instrument/cultural aspect or ritual has surprised you the most so far?
The loud and heavy beat of the Taiko drum has impressed us in Japan. And the core philosophy of Taiko that revolves around the concept of “one mind, one heart” has touched our soul. Music really plays such a big role in the different celebrations of life. Karkatikan Indian music has their own melodies depending on the event that is celebrated, same with Gamelan music in Indonesia. The choirs of Fiji will forever be engraved in our memories, so much joy, truth and community feeling.
Why did you choose those 11 destinations?
Because they all describe a new part of the world. They are quite different from each other. North Africa, Europe, Asia, Central America. We are still missing a few and are constantly researching for new episodes to reach 11. 11, being our lucky number, Parallelle obliged.
What would other destinations and cultures be that you still want to explore?
We are so curious about the whole of South America (from Brazil with Bossa Novae, to Cumbia in Argentina or Chile) As well as Central and Southern Africa that has the richest rhythm and melodic touch in the world.
What are you looking the most forward to on your future musical journey?
Uplifting collaborations, though new instruments, new inspiring encounters leading to new ways of composting and playing music
Can you tell me what culture means to you individually? And how did this perception of culture change for you throughout the experience of “A Day In”?
Thomas: Not only the colors, the forms, the smells, and tastes define a culture. The beliefs are predominant in the perception of culture. It gives more purpose to life. I could take the example of India, the culture is defined by an explosion of senses, colors, and forms. And the philosophy behind Hinduism is extremely modern. Three gods, Brahma The creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva, the challenger. The balance between these three gods is the purpose of life.
All cultures have their own specificity, yet you find a lot of common ground, the universal morality of human kind, it just proved again to be we are all seeking for the same thing, a happy loving life.
Julien: A culture is a collective belief from a group of humans. Some cultures have been there for millennia. One thing I notice is the respect each culture has to the earth and its occupants. The oldest the culture the more sacred earth is, which really is humbling and grounding. Nature has its balance and time is its best equilibrium. Patience and acceptance are also two big learnings I had along the way.