I recently found out about Electric Parlor on Twitter and was blown away when I listened to their debut album. I immediately had to buy a copy. This band are producing some wonderful bluesy rock music that reminds me of the greats from the ’60s and ’70s era. The singer’s voice is full of passion, and the melodies are enticing and addictive. I love the sound.
The first of their songs that I heard was “Last Battle” and I instantly became a fan.
Their excellent debut album is available to stream via their website: http://www.electricparlormusic.com/#music-section
I’m always excited when I discover such great music, so I was keen to interview the band.
Interview with Zachary Huling of Electric Parlor
Introduce us to the band members and tell us a bit about your musical backgrounds.
Monique Alvarez – Vocals
Josh Fell – Bass
Kris Farr – Guitar
Zachary Huling – Drums
We’ve all had music introduced to us at a young age, either through friends or parents, it’s just one of those things that has always been constant in our lives and in our minds.
How did the band get together?
Craigslist, actually. Monique and Kris saw each other’s ads there, and then found Zach’s a few months later. Josh came across the band about a year later on BandMix and the rest is history.
Who are your musical heroes?
This list can go on for a while; each member has his or her personal taste but some common influences are Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, CCR, Humble Pie, etc. Contemporary influences include The Black Keys, Rival Sons, Alabama Shakes. We feel conviction, that’s what makes music great, genuine conviction and elements of music played and performed is key and is what we are drawn to.
Have you always wanted to be musicians?
Obviously as a kid your desires to what you want to be when you “grow up” change a lot. But I like I said earlier, music was always one of the constant things in our lives; it was always there in the background and in the foreground, in our daydreams and in our essence and in our minds. So maybe there was no definitive moment we each of us knew, but we knew to follow our hearts and passion and so here we are.
Who thought of the name “Electric Parlor”?
We were tossing around words, I think “parlor” was one that we all kinda liked, then Kris threw “electric” in front of it, and we thought, “well it doesn’t suck,” and we had a gig coming up so we stuck with it and that was that. Picking a band name is the over-rated thing about being in band; it’s never easy to get some combination of words to come together and convey the same feeling to multiple individuals. Important thing is that the music is good and the band name is completely terrible.
Your debut album is brilliant. Who wrote the songs, and what was the recording process like?
Thank you very much. Songs typically begin with a riff from Kris, an idea, and then we jam on it, form a loose structure to it and decide how we want the feel of it to be. Monique brings in lyrics, which then also help the arrangement of the songs become clearer and more finalized. It’s definitely a group thing as we bounce ideas off each other, share thoughts on how it should sound, and then agree to a final take.
Recording was very live as we recorded analogue to tape, each core of the songs were done in one take. From there we added vocals, a few overdubs of bass and guitar and that was it. We’re making it sound a lot simpler than it really was, it was time consuming getting the right sound out of each drum head, each cymbal, each guitar tone. It took a lot of listening and fine-tuning. We recorded at Big Scary Tree Studios in Sunland, California under Jeb Libson who was great to work with. We recorded on weekends over the whole summer of 2014 in between our work and life schedules.
What inspires the lyrics for your songs?
The majority of the inspiration for lyrics is based of off life experiences. Every song tells a story. Sometimes what has been originally written may be changed to reflect the mood of the particular song and the sound that develops from jamming on it.
In “Last Battle” there is nod to an Emiliano Zapata quote, “I’d rather die on my feet, than live on my knees.” It perfectly captures the angst of the song, about breaking free of the captivity of society or the powers that be. The great thing about a song and the lyrics is that it can be sort of ambiguous and mean different things to different listeners.
Are you working on any new music at the moment?
Of course. We have enough material for a full second album, and we must say, the new stuff is pretty killer, it’s heavier and more refined to what we think our sound is and what it’s going to be.
What have been some of the band’s highlights so far?
Finishing our album ourselves and with the help from a successful Kickstarter campaign is a highlight so far. Getting a chance to play the main stage at House of Blues on Sunset was pretty cool, and then in just over month we have a gig at Surf Fest in Hermosa Beach, which is always a big crowd and a great chance to meet some other bands and people in the area. So that will definitely be a highlight.
You’ve been touring around California recently. What have been some of your favourite shows so far?
As mentioned above, House of Blues was pretty rad. Then there was Woodystock out in the middle of the desert in Apple Valley was very unique and very cool. But also too, any chance we get to play with some other friends and local bands is a treat and our favorite times. Bands like Warchief, Lords of Beacon House, CIVX, and Rivermaker, all rad bands coming up in the scene, and any show with them is a great crowd, great energy, and all rock ‘n’ roll.
Which are your favourite songs to play live?
“Freedom Ride,” “Last Battle” and “Bitter,” are probably our favorites. All three kinda give a good idea of our sound so far and what we’re trying to do.
If you could tour with any other band, who would you choose and why?
Black Sabbath. No explanation needed.
To be invited on tour with any band in your genre really is a privilege, to not only share the stage, but also share the time on the road and hopefully get a chance to chat music and life and see what you can learn from each other.
Are you planning any gigs/tours?
We end the month with a gig at the Trip (3/31) in Santa Monica and then the next night at Rusty’s Surf Ranch again in Santa Monica. You can get a full list of shows and updates on our Facebook page or website: electricparlormusic.com.
The Surf Fest in Hermosa Beach on 4/23 we’re really looking forward to, and then we also have a plan to go out to Palm Springs very soon and do a couple of shows out there. So follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. to stay up-to-date with news.
Any other news for your fans?
We have plenty of band shirts in stock along with CDs, so head over to our site and order yours today! Our new tunes are rockin’ and coming along so stay posted, we love all the support!!
Wonderful to hear you have new music coming. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions! Wishing you great success in 2016! 🙂
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