Parquet Courts’ headline appearance at this year’s This Must Be The Place festival in Leeds catches the Brooklyn band between the release of their fifth album and the recording of their sixth.
“Parquet Courts never think of touring as being cycle-based,” says Andrew Savage, the band’s co-lead vocalist and guitarist. “It’s just something that we do and we like playing live. It’s meant to happen in rock ’n’ roll – in my opinion anyway.
“Every tour is a capsule of a moment in time for Parquet Courts so you’re getting us in between records. It’s just a snapshot of who we are in August and September 2017.”
The band’s 2016 album Human Performance did mark a change. “People’s contributions were definitely higher in quantity,” notes Savage, who along with Austin Brown had previously been Parquet Courts’ main songwriters. “It’s the first time that Sean [Yeaton, bassist] and Max [Savage, drummer] had put a considerable amount of material out there.”
Critics also noted the songs was less cerebral than on previous records. “I would say there’s as much emotion as before,” says Savage, “but maybe a different kind, occupying a different spectrum on the emotional wavelength. I can’t think of a Parquet Courts song or record that I could really qualify as having less emotion but maybe Human Performance has more vulnerability.
“It addresses a similar but different range of topics and emotions – a lot of those being songs about love – and so it feels like a different record in that regard but there’s still anger, happiness, sadness, these are all emotions.
“Possibly it was more challenging. The way I see it I’ve always just written the songs that come out of me and that’s what was coming out of me naturally at that moment in time. I don’t know if it was harder, it could have been, but it could have just been the circumstances weren’t always present for my song writing in the past and that was a point where a certain type of song came more naturally to me.”
Collectively the band do seem to have felt a sense of life changing as they entered their thirties. “We were all really young men when Parquet Courts first started – most of us were 24 except for Max, he was 18 – so a lot happens between 24 and 31, especially living the lifestyle of a band that’s been touring for seven years, of course your life is bound to change.”
This autumn Savage releases a solo album, called Thawing Dawn. “I’ve spent most of the year writing songs for that and the next Parquet Courts record. There was never any doubt for me as to which songs would be on which record because I think they’re drastically different songs. I’ve got a very good idea at this point of what the next Parquet Courts record is going to be like, Thawing Dawn it was different.
“There were a handful of songs that I’ve had for a long time that never fit particularly well with any band that I was in and I started to revisit this collection of songs that I’d amassed and was able to see a pattern and a sort of style that was happening and just be cognisant of this body of work that was kind of communicating with each other, each song. From there I was able to concentrate on writing new songs and use that as a starting point for what the tone of the record was going to be like.
I can’t think of a Parquet Courts song or record that I could really qualify as having less emotion but maybe Human Performance has more vulnerability.Andrew Savage
“They’re going to be two very different records, but Thawing Dawn will come out in October.”
In September Parquet Courts will be heading into the studio themselves. “We’re going to spend pretty much the whole month working on the record,” Savage says.
Parquet Courts play at This Must Be The Place at Belgrave Music Hall on Sunday August 27. http://www.belgravemusichall.com/this-must-be-the-place-2/