Published Sep 13, 2018Being in a successful band as teenagers is both a blessing and a curse. While you earn a lot of attention for your prowess, you're tethered to the distinction of being a "teenage band" even as you settle into your 20s.
The Lonely Parade know these struggles well. The post-punk trio, who cut their teeth as teenagers in their Peterborough, ON hometown with a series of well-received releases, found themselves at a crossroads following 2016's No Shade. Their social scene as they knew it in Peterborough was collapsing, following a series of falling-outs, and they felt increasingly stifled by the "teen band" label.
How did they deal with it all? They made an album about it and then got the hell outta town.
"I don't think we could've grown much more as a band just living in Peterborough," bassist and co-vocalist Charlotte Dempsey tells Exclaim! about the band's recent move to Montreal. "Everybody saw us grow up, everybody saw us play music."
The new album, The Pits, is a scathing, frantic account of a tumultuous series of events, scoring the accounts of late-night drives, budding romance, new roommates and heartbreak to a tightly-wound, highly technical brand of post-punk.
In comparison to their earlier works, The Pits is highly personal, thinly veiled from their original accounts. According to Dempsey, the songs were written as a way to cathartically process the real-life events that nearly tore the band apart.
"I feel like a lot of the stuff I had going on I didn't really talk about with a lot of people. So it was powerful for me to write these songs and then play them and have to have everyone listen to what I have to say instead of individually going up to all my friends and being like, 'This is what happened to me,'" she says. Dempsey says that the band's other lyricist, guitarist and co-vocalist Augusta Veno, took a similar approach, which allowed Dempsey to better understand her bandmate's perspective through the same events.
"We used to play a lot of music and be really close with the band Beef Boys, and went on tour with them a bunch of times," reveals Dempsey. "Me and Augusta had some bad relationships that year that was all sort of correlated with that friend group. We just fell apart. Things just kind of fell apart and unravelled."
After much deliberation, the Lonely Parade decided to regroup. Dempsey and Veno, at the time both bandmates and roommates, decided to kick out their other roommate and recruited the third member of Lonely Parade, drummer Ani Climenhage, to move in. "Me and Augusta had previously lived together with another friend and he kinda fucked things up for everybody, so we made him move out and then made Ani move in. Ani moving in was nearing the end of the bad stuff," declares Dempsey. "Ani's kind of just like a solid person and they were holding us together."
The resulting camaraderie is palpable on the album. Intertwining Climenhage's propulsive drumming, Dempsey's rumbling bass and Veno's distorted guitars, the trio craft dizzying, urgent soundscapes bolstered by Dempsey and Veno's often-visceral, emotive lyrics. It's a cohesive effort that marks a mature step forward from the band's earlier works, both lyrically and instrumentally.
It's the lyrics that saved the band's friendships, according to Dempsey.
"I think it's a really cool form of communication," she says of songwriting. "I think it's really neat to write songs about the things that are going on in your life, and be able to share them with your friends, because a lot of the time, the music that we write is pretty personal, so it's kind of cool to write that, share that with your bandmates, your friends, and you have to work together and write this song because what your friend is feeling is valid. You have to support them through writing that music because you're a group of musicians."
The Pits is out tomorrow (September 14) on Buzz Records.