Parlour 9 Recordings
“The Sound Of ‘Lo-fi’ Superior Vol 1” is a new compilation with a difference from Manchester-London label Parlour 9 Recordings:
This is the sound of Lo-fi Superior: dangerously up-close recordings straight outta rehearsal rooms, garages & attics from across the UK . . . NO post production polish – NO fancy recording techniques – NO overdubs & absolutely NO fake claims to authenticity”
“Vol 1” feature 3 tracks apiece from Salvo (raw-power-punk-rockery), Empty Vessels (PiL-shaped-nursery-rhymed-punk-rockery), The Betes Noires (song-strong-punk-rockery) & Dolium (psycho-punk-rockery).
Hiding this release in the Reviews Section would not only be a disservice to the diligent folks at Parlour 9 - it would also be gross negligence on my part. Believe me, trakMARXists, you could all use a bit of Parlour 9 action in your lives. Trust me.
The following interview with Jimmy 9 of Parlour 9 Recordings has been conducted with your specific interests at heart. Who better to lift the lid on something very special than the one of the people responsible for creating it?
trakMARX - How long has Parlour 9 been in existence & how did it all kick off?
Jimmy 9 - The label was actually born shortly before the turn of the century when Reece Adamo & Ms De Vine (aka Dolium) were busy searching for a truly punk rock way to release their own recordings. The label steadily grew from there on, the duo cautiously recruiting new people to help move things along.
trakMARX - Manchester & London haven't always been the best of friends have they?
Jimmy 9 - True enough, but the more memorable P9 quibbles have been fought-out solely between our folks in North London and South London! If there is any London v Manchester tension under the surface, it's surely about to be diluted by the fact that we're currently setting up a brand new and much better office in Sheffield!
trakMARX - Tell us about that 'Lo-fi Superior' sound.
Jimmy 9 - We could babble on for ages about the sound of 'Lo-fi Superior', but for the flow of this interview, we'll try and keep it brief! Have you noticed how recordings just seem to get louder and louder these days? Have you also noticed how crucial dynamics are suffering just for the sake of that volume? The problem with this and many other requirements brought about by the modern day music industry is that bands can easily begin to sound artificial.
We all probably know of at least one band that we've loved the demos of, but when the studio recording is finished - ouch! - disappointment sinks its teeth in... It would be completely unfair to write that band off and say that they weren't capable of making a good record. It would also be unfair to blame the studio for the lack of apparent energy in the recording. It might be fairer however to say that something was 'lost' or at least, never quite 'found' in the studio process. Forgetting the quality of the songs for a moment, every band has its own unique sound, be it powerful or weak in essence. The tricky part is capturing that essence and making it a real strength in the final recording.
Like it says in the album sleeve notes, Parlour 9 Sessions are dangerously up-close lo-fi recordings made 'superior' (in our humble opinion) by Reece Adamo's ability to capture the 'real essence' of each artist. It's hard for us to believe just how quickly and cheaply the sound is achieved, but like they say, the proof is in the pudding!
trakMARX - So, basically, you take your equipment into each group's garage/rehearsal space - set up - & press record.
Jimmy 9 - That's the idea, although the rehearsal space becomes a kind of makeshift studio and the bands are asked to approach the situation like they're making a proper record. There are no overdubs and very few second chances though. The whole process is fast and furious, with very little time to spare at the end.
The whole thing stems from how Dolium record their own music. Their much praised debut album 'Kisses Fractures' for example, was recorded in a cold, dark attic using unbelievably cheap and seemingly half-broken equipment. In fact, the Parlour 9 Sessions almost seems quite hi-tech in comparison!
trakMARX - Could Parlour 9 recordings be interpreted as a (post) modern equivalent of the 'field recordings' made to capture ancient Blues artists - Punk Rock being the (post) modern blues, & all that?
Jimmy 9 - Absolutely. The sound is as raw and as unobstructed in its path from artist to listener as you're ever likely to hear nowadays. There's been mention of those old blues recordings in relation to what we're doing now, so I guess you're right on the mark.
trakMARX - What's the ethos behind Parlour 9?
Jimmy 9 - In short, our aim is to discover, capture and deliver gloriously heartfelt and truly spirited punk rock recordings to the unsuspecting masses. It's important for some lo-fi/underground purists to realise that it is actually essential for a record label to sell records and furthermore, that this can be achieved without selling valued principals!
trakMARX - What's the story with each of the 4 groups who appear on "Parlour 9 Sessions: The Sound Of Lo-Fi Superior Vol 1"?
Jimmy 9 - Each band was handpicked for inclusion on Volume One for a variety of different reasons. Firstly, session artists aren't actually signed to the label, so there's no real input from us regarding the presentation of their act. At the P9 Session stage, we're not really looking at band image, sales potential and/or current popularity amongst the generally stillborn A&R community.
Instead, we're looking for that certain spark of something extra good. It's the untouched sound we're after, something we can work with at root level in order to bring a rock & roll uniqueness direct from the underground and into public awareness at whatever level that may be.
Empty Vessels were actually one of the first bands to ever send us a demo (one that 50% of the label weren't too sure about!). Salvo got involved somehow or other and The Betes Noires simply sent in a demo and got the session. Dolium obviously recorded themselves for the album.
Another great thing about these sessions is that all the bands tend to pull together and help each other out by selling pre-purchased CDs at gigs. It's logical, but if each artist sells a handful of CDs at every show, the other bands on the compilation will undeniably benefit by reaching lots of potential fans that they might never have otherwise reached.
trakMARX - What have you got planned for Vol 2?
Jimmy 9 - Our Sessions A&R have been busy looking for the next wave of bands and there are more and more demos pouring in each week from future Session hopefuls. We're looking to put one or two of these compilations out every year, depending on the quality of music we find.
Volume Two is shaping up already with sessions expecting to take place this Summer. The line-up hasn't been fully selected yet however, so now is the time for interested bands to get in touch!
trakMARX - Are Parlour 9 working with anyone that didn't make the CD?
Jimmy 9 - Sessions aside, we are a small, yet fully functioning record label with the real intention of putting out non-rushed recordings by individual artists. We do have fixed artists on our roster (check out the website for more details), but we are currently looking for new acts to sign, although the first stage in working with the label is to record a session and see how it all goes from there on. That's not to say that we're about to forget any of the artists on Volume One though. We'll certainly be keeping a watch on them all throughout the coming months...
trakMARX - Is "Vol 1" available on vinyl?
Jimmy 9 - The first few Dolium singles and EPs from both Yugo and The Clinically Depressed were put out on vinyl. It is also the label's policy to purchase vinyl test pressings of every release for the P9 turntable. However, vinyl is currently not on the cards due to prices going through the roof at our manufacturers. To put it plainly: as soon as we can afford to satisfy vinyl lovers such as ourselves again, we will certainly do so.
trakMARX - Where would Parlour 9 like to be by this time next year?
Jimmy 9 - We tend to do things backwards. We already have folks in London, Manchester and Sheffield and there's recently been talk of doing something overseas. I think what we need now is a nice healthy flow of record sales! Dolium have grown well over the past 12 months despite minimal coverage and Adamo & De Vine are about to give us a brand new era of music with the launch of their new band (which at present, even we don't know the name of!)... I think that if this time next year we have another strong Sessions compilation in our discography, more Dolium sales and at least one other new signing doing well, we should all be very happy bunnies indeed!
Jean Encoule – tMx 24 – 03/06