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June 2020

Parquet Courts: "We want to have songs that people can dance to. It should be a party"

Five albums in and Parquet Courts are still breaking new ground, this time with the help of producer extraordinaire Danger Mouse.
Published: 9:37 am, May 17, 2018
Parquet Courts: "We want to have songs that people can dance to. It should be a party"
Parquet Courts are one of the hardest working bands out there. Gearing up to release their seventh full-length ‘Wide Awake!', the New York by way of Texas four-piece have essentially released a record a year since they've been going. But perhaps even more impressive is the fact that nothing ever seems to falter; they only get better.

Which is why, when a new addition to this current formula was revealed - producer extraordinaire Danger Mouse - fans were a bit cautious. "We definitely didn't go into it thinking we wanted to have something more polished," bassist Sean Yeaton ponders over the phone.

"But I think it had come to the point for us, especially after working on that record with Daniele Luppi [2017 collaborative album ‘Milano'], which was our first experience working with a producer, that it adds a lot to the creative process.

"To have this other set of ears to help out with creative differences that come up, and by having another person there who isn't playing the parts but is hearing you trying to work them out, provides a good sounding board.

"Danger Mouse was integral because he never tried to take ownership over the idea, or the feeling of songs."

'Wide Awake!' dives headfirst into this new shared territory by amalgamating the band's urgency with a new channelling of purpose.

"I have fond memories of recording and touring on all of [the albums], and in a way, it's kind of like a lot of pressure is taken off by the fact that it's not like our first rodeo. But I do think that so far it's our best rodeo," Sean chuckles

Their burning fire of creativity comes from one simple idea: they're just some guys in a band. There's no overt symbolism, nor is there a grander idea that tries to station itself above everyone else. They're four people that did it, and keep on doing it.

"We found some common ground where we're all very much willing to put all our energy into this band and exhaust ourselves," Sean says earnestly.

Their determination resulted in three albums' worth of material, he says. "There are a lot of songs that if we hadn't individually pushed ourselves to be better, they might not have come out as well as we all think they did."

While not explicitly the idea, ‘Wide Awake!' could easily be an interpretation of the way they see humanity going. The first half feels like the party before the end of the world, and by the time you reach the halfway point of ‘Normalisation' into ‘Back To Earth', they're dealing with the consequences.

"It's not about this grand subtextual meaning, but we all went into it thinking we want to have songs that people can dance to. It should be a party, and we don't want it to be too ethereal and hard to swallow," Sean considers.

"But it's also hard for us as individuals and artists to not draw a lot of introspective stuff out of ourselves and put them into songs. It ends up happening no matter what."

There's a joy to be found in a band who are nearing double-digits in full-length output and are always on the warpath to create.

"You get, I wouldn't say bored, but you get used to playing a lot of the same songs night after night for a while," Sean reflects. "Your muscle memory starts begging you to throw in some new stuff, which, at least for me personally on this record, really came across.

"Ultimately, we're four guys, writing songs together, and even if we put out an old country record like technically it would be Parquet Courts, but I figure it'll be another seven albums before we get to that point!"

Is there ever a worry that this runaway train will come to a halt?

"I never take for granted that we have a chemistry between the four of us that has allowed us to have as much output as we do," Sean muses.

"And I guess, sure, there could be a point where the four of us get together and be like, ‘Well, we've got nothing!' I hope at the very least we'll be able to be aware of it enough to not burden people with having to listen to four musicians ‘trying' too hard.

"Every song on some level is a type of communication that we have with each other, and I think that keeps us all on our toes with every new thing we put out.

"I can guarantee every record that we've done is one that we've done for a reason and one that we've all felt passionate about. That to me is the most important part of it, because it could all end someday, maybe we'll all come crumbling down!"

Taken from the June issue of Dork - order your copy below. Parquet Courts' album 'Wide Awake!' is out 18th May.

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