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Interviewed by
Danielle Street
Wednesday 30th July, 2014 11:37AM

This Friday will see Auckland hardcore punk outfit Parents play the first of four shows to mark the release of their new 7-inch record Low Life. The 8-track EP follows the group's self-titled album which came out last year, and is a more immediate recording with heavier focus of rhythm and aggression. They have already shared two tracks, 'Bored / Boring' and 'Let Down' which are sonically poles apart, so we caught up with guitarist Jono to find out what to expect from the rest of the 7-inch...

UTR: First off, can you please tell us a little bit about Parents?

Jono: Parents is Jono, Simon, Will, and Brent. We started in 2009 and were mainly influenced by 90s screamo bands such as Orchid and Swing Kids as well as 80s hardcore bands. In 2012 we changed our approach as we began to work on our album and became more serious about putting out releases and touring. Our tastes changed as well – but overall, we just aim to play heavy music that is thought out and dynamic.

The two songs you have released so far, ‘Bored/ Boring’ and ‘Let Down’, are fairly different in terms of tone and pace, which way does the rest of the Low Life EP lean?

The rest of Low Life is similar in feel – but faster. We wanted to put out an EP that was a little more straight-forward and focussed on rhythm and aggression. As opposed to our self-titled album, it’s a lot noisier. We were listening to a lot of powerviolence and grindcore when writing this EP. I also thought a lot about the way Fugazi use rhythm when writing these songs.

What are the key elements that make up Parents’ sound?

Loud, chaotic, and discordant music. We focus a lot on dynamics in our songs and emphasise key phrases by framing them in ways that will give them a lot of impact. We want our music to be heavy but also emotional and cathartic.

Can you tell us a little bit about the recording process for Low Life?

We wanted a simple process and recorded Low Life over a couple of nights at the Winecellar with Tim Shann (The Eversons). Tim is great at capturing heavy bands’ live sound and we recorded the instruments live with vocals afterward. Most of our focus was on having great tones and getting everything sounding natural.

How did it differ from when you recorded Parents?

Recording Parents was similar, but we took a lot more time recording vocals especially and mixing it properly. As our first vinyl release, we were pretty cautious. With Low Life we were much more immediate. For me, a 7-inch is such a classic and straight up format for punk music – the recording reflected that.

What was the main thing you took away from doing this recent recording?

Recording is always strange for us because it feels at odds with how we play live. Playing live is very visceral and immediate, but recording is thought-out and calculated. I think this recording was about finding our sound in that space, and becoming more comfortable with the process in general.

What do you find the most challenging about capturing your sound in a studio environment versus live?

Live, we are very loud and energetic. It’s difficult capturing that energy while also having recordings that are clear and dynamic. For us, it was about not going overboard, knowing our gear and how the sounds work together – and then having Tim knowing what to do to make everything gel.

Both releases have been self-produced by you guys, what does that mean exactly, and how important is it for you to retain that role?

It means that we fund, release, promote, and distribute our releases as well as organise tours ourselves. Sometimes close friends will help us out with artwork or something but overall, DIY is our process. DIY is partly a necessity for us to get these records out the way we want – but like many punk bands, it’s a big part of our approach and it works for us. The internet has made it a lot easier to operate on your own as a band, but putting out your own record is still tough and we are really stoked to do it completely ourselves.

Your last record saw the single ‘It Crawls’ do really well in local charts, did you find it surprising to that a hardcore punk track got so well received on-air?

It was definitely a nice surprise, although a couple of heavy tracks had done well recently, so we knew it wasn’t completely out-there. Overall, we just really appreciate people being interested in our band and hope that they enjoy the release and come out to the shows.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the hardcore punk scene in this country? And what could make it better?

There are a lot of great and diverse hardcore bands throughout New Zealand. All ages shows have always been important to the hardcore scene in New Zealand, and I think a lack of affordable all ages venues has had a negative impact.

Who are some local punk/hardcore/screamo acts that you recommend people check out?

There are too many to mention. Caroles, Slavedriver, and Graves are all killing it live and have awesome music online. South Island bands, Winter who play melodic screamo and With Teeth who play grind-influenced hardcore – are both great. Society were one of the best bands I saw over the last year and have an EP that is amazing. I am really excited to see Old Loaves at our release show on the 1st.

What have you got up your sleeves after you finish up the Low Life shows?

We are having a short break as our drummer Will goes overseas but we are hoping to play a bunch of shows here and in Australia again over the summer. We will also start writing for our second LP which we have some ideas for.

See over here for ticketing information for Parents' upcoming shows.


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