Left to Right: Louis, Jeremy, and Alex
Parlovr has always been the type of band to play by their own rules—or at least bend them into all sorts of unidentifiable shapes. Take, for instance, the fact that there's no proper pronunciation for their band name. Or the fact that they make a scrambly, mish-mosh of pop music that's basically an aural spillover of all their uncontainable rage and excitement about life and love and shit. They got scramblier than ever for their latest release, Kook Soul, which is a self-proclaimed "avant-garde lyrical minimalism rock record.” Though not at all an accurate description of the album, there’s really no good way to describe it besides “catchy as fuck.” Take a listen:
During this word vomit of an interview, the band and I talked about their hometown of Montreal and the city’s greatest export and import: VICE Magazine and hollering hobos. We also discussed their mundane day jobs, which pale in comparison to their wacky dream jobs (priest, Tim Wallach, and zoo animal, to name a few), as well as the concept and meaning behind Kook Soul. Most of the time, I felt like I was getting trolled though, and understanding that makes this music video that much better.
Hey! You guys are from Montreal, right?
Do you read VICE a lot?
Louis: You mean your motherland? We used to read VICE.
Alex: Back when it was a Haitian community magazine.
Louis: Back when the sarcasm was honest. [Laughs]
Is VICE, like, so over back home?
Naw, it's still cool.
Alex: Irony died and got resurrected really differently.
Anyway, your new album Kook Soul is so rad. Tell me a little bit about it.
Louis: It's taken from the best of the worst of relationships, I guess. We didn't reach too deep into the bag of tricks for this one, but it's about all the terrible shit that happens in relationships.
But not this relationship, right? The band relationship?
Oh yeah, it actually stemmed from that. [Laughs] But then we looked outwards and we started blaming women, you know? Classic man thing.
Men! All the time!
No, no, no.
Alex: It's a rock record where we limited our vocabulary to only 26 words throughout the entire album. It's a minimalist rock record that speaks about love in the most economical way possible.
Ah, lyrical minimalism.
Yeah, lyrical minimalism! Some people mistake it for cheap pop, but it's actually really avant-garde.
I'm gonna go home and count the words now.
Louis: Yeah. We have 15 words for love, so there's 15 gone right there.
[Laughs] What are the other 11 words?
"Day job." That's two more.
Ha! Thanks for that segway. So, what are your day jobs?
I work as a sales admin for a toy company, so I receive orders from school boards and fill them out all day. Real fun. Their claim to fame is the Prismacolor pencil crayon that you should have had as a child.
Alex: If you grew up in Canada, yeah. They're the Crayola of pencil crayons.
Jeremy: [Laughs] I thought Crayola was the Crayola of pencil crayons.
I know, right? Does your work keep you young at heart?
Louis: I just started it a few months ago.
Alex: And since then, he's aged like ten years.
Louis: I'm the first to get hired in seven years and I work with nine other women who are in their 60s.
Is it hard to keep down a job when you have to tour?
It's OK. You just tell them you're going on tour and if they fire you, they fire you. Fuck it.
Rock n' roll. What do the rest of you do?
Jeremy: I'm trying to make it as a musician, so I haven't had a job in a while. I do this band and another band and the very occasional studio gig. I do odd jobs while living really, really poor, which is easier in Montreal than here, but I still have to look like this.
What's the oddest gig you've done?
I sold yarn and did a bunch of telemarketing. It's really soul...hurting.
For some reason I've noticed that a bunch of bands do telemarketing!
Louis: My current job is the first non-telemarketing one I've had in ten years, actually.
What is it with musicians and telemarketing?
Jeremy: Hours are pretty flexible. They don't really care if you don't show up.
Alex: You can go to work wasted or hungover and it doesn't really make a difference to the client. I work at a job that does a lot of telemarketing, but it's not a telemarketing company.
Louis: Is this your day job, Kristen?
Well, sort of, I guess. Wait, this interview isn't about me!
What if you're in a band? Join this one!
Alex: Then we'll interview you!
I should! I've always wanted to be on the other end of these interviews, so yes.
There you go.
Anyhow, what's the strangest thing about America?
Alex: "AMERICA!" You said that with a drawl.
Jeremy: New York feels different.
Yeah. I've been to Montreal and I loved it. A lot of hobos though.
Alex: [Mockingly] "A lot of hobos!"
[Laughs] I didn't mean to offend. It's a beautiful city, but there are a lot of hobos that holler at you.
Yeah that's one of the weirdest things about America. Hobos here are way more respectful. Hobos in Canada are generally pretty entitled. They're like, "GIMME SOME FUCKING CHANGE!" and you're like, "Fuck you, man!" and they're like, "FUCK YOU WHAT THE FUCK WHY DID YOU SWEAR AT ME FUCKING ASSHOLE!" You don't get that here. If you don't have change, they're like "No problem! Thank you, sir."
Yeah, not as much hollerin’.
I thought Canadians were supposed to be the polite ones...
[Laughs] Maybe all the American homeless people came up to Canada because we're polite, and the Canadian homeless people went to America thinking there would be jobs here.
Louis: A little trade-off.
So turns out Americans were the rude ones after all.
Hmm, what's a weird thing about America? What is it, 8 PM right now? In Montreal, it gets loud as fuck around 8.
Alex: There are student protests happening in Montreal right now. They're very upset because they're gonna get shitty-paying day jobs after they graduate. The government wants to raise tuition and these people are mad about that—rightfully so. So at 8 o'clock, they bang pots and pans. It sounds like a soccer game across the city.
Damn. Did you guys go to school?
Jeremy: Yeah...a little bit. I'm a music school dropout.
Well they're the ones that go out and do music, so...
Alex: I went to a liberal arts college, so I studied old, stuffy men.
You studied old, stuffy men?
Books written by old, stuffy men. [Laughs] Yeah, not old, stuffy men. A special medical school!
Only in Canada.
Louis: I studied aircraft maintenance, but 9/11 happened right after I graduated. So I said, "Drugs, alcohol, and self-pity!"
Bad, bad timing. What did you want to be before school, before music, yadda yadda ya?
When I was a kid? I wanted to be a zookeeper or a priest. I don't know why. Those were the two things I thought were really, really good options. I wanted to be a tiger guy!
Alex: I wanted to be an animal or an altar boy.
What? You two could have worked something out. Priest and altar boy, or zookeeper and animal. You could have been his tiger!
Louis: Can you be a baby boy tiger?
Alex: It's kind of what I already do.
Jeremy: I was gonna be third baseman for the Expos. I was basically gonna be Tim Wallach.
Nice. By the way, how do you pronounce your band name? Parlour? Par-lover?
Alex: Either one works. We're deliberately stubborn.
How did that name come about?
Louis and I lived in a loft called the Parlour and we didn't want to get any more creative. We spent all our creativity on making music, so...
And what about Kook Soul?
It means white kids faking soul music.
Jeremy: We all have very different tastes in music, but we all agree on soul.
Louis: It's the future of emo.
Alex: 21st century emo.
Were you guys all emo kids back in the day?
Louis: Fuck no.
Alex: Is Weezer's Pinkerton emo? Then I guess so. I don't know musicology.
Louis: Well that one's just emotional. He went for the whole fucking thing.
Alex: Definitely did not dye my hair black and pretend to slit my wrists though.
I'm glad. What does the future hold for Parlovr?
Louis: We go home to our day jobs now.
But then we go on tour.
Jeremy: Book of poetry.
You're writing a book on poetry?
Louis: On poetry. As a poem.
So it's a critique of poetry in poem form.
Yes. You may end up reviewing it yourself.
Jeremy: Oh shit.
Jeremy, I guess you gotta go back and find a day job.
Alex: [Laughs] Oh yeah!
Louis: Oh shit!
Or you can just be a hollering hobo.
He'd probably end up in New York 'cause he's a nice guy.
Right, 'cause they're all secretly Canadian.
Jeremy: I'm gonna export hollering hoboism to New York. Gonna start wandering around here yelling at folks.
Louis: "I LOVE NEW YORK!"
Jeremy: "WHERE IS YOUR IGLOOS, EH?"
Check out June tour dates for Parlovr:
06/13 - Mavericks Bar - Ottawa, ON
06/15 - The Silver Dollar Room - Toronto, ON
06/16 - NXNE @ Young and Dundas Square - Toronto, ON
06/19 - The Lo Pub - Winnipeg, Manitoba
06/20 - The Exchange - Regina, Saskatchewan
06/21 - New Wunderbar Hofbrauhaus - Edmonton, AB
06/22 - Dickens Pub - Calgary, AB
06/23 - Sled Island Festival Outdoor Stage - Calgary, AB
06/24 - Medicine Hat Jazz Festival @ Riverside Park - Medicine Hat, AB
06/25 - Amigos Cantina - Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
06/27 - Empty Bottle - Chicago, IL
06/28 - Magic Stick - Detroit, MI
06/29 - The Mansion - Kingston, ON
06/30 - Club Lambi - Montreal, QB
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