Exclusive Interview: Lonely Parade

Words by Jasmine Bourgeois
Photo by S. Garfield

The first time I heard Lonely Parade was through the floors of a crammed west Philadelphia show house. Even muffled through the floorboards, I could tell this band ripped. When I went downstairs and shoved my way to the front, I didn’t want them to stop. They were clean and polished on the surface, but had a charming grit to their sound that was uniquely, genuinely raw. Hailing from Montreal, the trio have been playing music together for a long time (explains why they have such a refined, solid sound) — they make it look easy to balance excellent technical musicianship with a stylish coolness. This year was a big one for the three: signing onto label, first a U.S. tour, dropping a full-length album that’s garnering some rave reviews. Keep an eye out — this band is going places fast.

Tom Tom got a chance to talk to Lonely Parade about touring the U.S. for the first time and dropping a new album.

Tom Tom Mag: Basic intros: What are your names, ages, pronouns, respective instruments?

Lonely Parade: Charlotte Dempsey, age 20, she/they. Augusta Veno, age 23, she/her. Frank Climenhage, age 20, they/them.

TTM: How’d the band form?

LP: We have known each other since we were wee lads. Our parents had become friends and we started playing music with our younger brothers at each other’s houses for fun. Augusta and Frank’s younger bros Rhys and Ambrose started a band before us and booked a show at a café/bar called The Spill in downtown Peterborough. We wanted to play too, so the three of us learned some cover songs together and jumped on the bill. They were 10 and 11 at the time, and we were between 13 and 16.

TTM: You guys toured in the U.S. for the first time this summer, yeah? What were some of your favorite spots? Was there anything that particularly stood out to you about touring in the U.S. vs Canada?

LP: Our best show was in Brooklyn where we played with Stove who were super rad. While in New York we took the ferry to Staten Island and visited the Alice Austen house which was a definite tour highlight. Detroit was our favorite city to visit. We got to spend two days there and we ate at White Castle for the first time, went to the Detroit Institute of Art, drove across to Bell Isle, walked around the Heidelberg Project and had cherry pie and coffee at Sister Pie. So much cool shit! Detroit rocks.  America is definitely a lot more densely populated than Canada. In Canada, it can take up to two or more days to drive through one province and you probably won’t stop in any medium to large cities with punk/rock music scenes in that time. In America, you can drive through several states and handfuls of large cities with active scenes in a day. This means more shows and less money spent on gas. Plus gas is cheaper and the Taco Bell menu is better!

TTM: You guys have been playing together for a few years now, and have put out a good chunk of material. How do you think your style has changed from your first few singles versus your newest album that came out in September?

LP: We’ve definitely grown into our boots. When we started playing music we focused a lot on seeming impressive and technical and writing about things we thought people found interesting. Nowadays we write music that we find fun to play and have grown into a style that really reflects who we are without trying so hard. We have been writing and playing more for ourselves and worrying less about what others might think. Our style has changed from jazz-based material to more pop, but we’ve always tried to hold on to our punk roots throughout.

TTM: I’ve seen your music described anywhere from punk to riot grrrl to math rock — how much do you think about genre and labels when you’re making music?

LP: We don’t really think about genre a whole lot. Individually we listen to very different music. There are really only a handful of artists we can all agree have influenced us as a band. Though “post-punk” might describe our style best at this point, it feels pretentious to say so we try to avoid saying anything.

TTM: Your latest album The Pits came out in September. Congrats! Did you have a grand songwriting vision that influenced the arc of the album, or was each song written on a more individual level?

LP: The songs were written individually by both Charlotte and Augusta over the course of a year and a half. The songs ‘Bored,’ ‘Olive Green,’ and ‘Night Cruise’ were the first few. They were written at a time that could be described as happier, when everyone was feeling more hopeful — a transition period. However, listening hard to those three you can hear the foreshadowing written into the songs. The next bunch of songs on the album are all really sad and angry as everything in our social circle seemed to fall down around us. Funnily enough it was happening to each of us in parallel time which definitely helped with the cohesion of the album’s songwriting.

TTM: Between signing on with Buzz Records, touring, playing festivals, and dropping an album, you’ve been really busy the last couple years. What have been some of the biggest things you’ve learned as a growing band? What’s coming up in the next year or so?

LP: Yeah! Some things we’ve picked up mostly solidified our previous inclinations about music. But one of the biggest ones is that you’re not just going to immediately start making money because you’ve signed to a label. Our horizons have definitely broadened, and we’ve met so many people and had so many experiences because of our involvement with Buzz, but we’re all really just squeaking by and we all still have day jobs. On top of that, we’ve all really learned how to think on our toes when traveling, and hopefully gotten much better at driving! In the next year or so we’re hoping to tour some more in the States, and also maybe tour Europe if we get the opportunity. We also really want to press The Pits to vinyl, so keep an eye out for that!

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