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March 23, 2023

Passing Parcels – From the Great Northern to Falls

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They’re our latest international success story: a bunch of boys from Byron who’ve cracked Berlin. Louie Swain and Noah Hill spoke with The Echo about the musical homecoming of The Parcels.

So how was it, from Byron to Berlin? What made you move there?

We always wanted to go to Europe. In order to easily play music in multiple countries, to experience and learn from different musical and cultural differences, to live in the city. Berlin specifically wasn’t really thought through. We heard it was cheap, wild and creative and we jumped right in. 

Byron to Berlin was inevitably a culture shock. Byron is a beautiful little bubble but Berlin, in all its seedy brilliance, is an absolute cultural explosion. 

Tell me about your life in Berlin and how you fit into the music scene.

Our lives are constantly diving from great highs to pathetic lows. We spend much time on the road, going to amazing festivals, eating great food, playing music and seeing the world. Then suddenly we’ll find ourselves in sub-zero Berlin sleeping in a hallway and eating only stolen potatoes for a month. 

The music scene is predominantly electronic here, techno is life. So as a live band we aren’t exactly a part of a big pool, but it gives us our own space and we’re slowly trying to carve a more groovy scene here with some other great bands. 

How has living there changed your approach to the music that you make?

We have had some classified experiences here that have completely changed how we view and create music. Also just moving here together changed the whole feeling. Since then we’ve been in it 100 per cent and it consumes our lives sometimes. 

How do you keep your tight musical bonds? Is it like maintaining a family? Are you allowed to see other people?

We’ve recently imposed a ’two-friend rule’; each member is allowed communication with two outside parties but only on weekends and public holidays. Girlfriends and any sort of family are strictly prohibited and there is no eye contact with strangers. 

What are the musical allegiances that have moved you forwards?

Our groovy Berlin pals include Hush Moss, Private Agenda, Malibeau, Von Wegen Lisbeth. We love playing and throwing secret disco parties with these guys. 

Then there’s that sweet Byron scene we grew up with! The Tora fellas, good friend Merryn Jean and (now Melbourne-based) The Lovely Days, who we are so pleased will be joining us for some of our Aus shows! 

Is it hard to crack the European circuit? What has been the attitude to you boys over there? Are you an anomaly?

Any scene is hard. But we don’t think so much about ’cracking’ it. We obliviously spend day and night writing, recording, practising, playing and piling into the van. It feels like its all growing now though, naturally.

The response varies. We play a lot of amazing shows where the crowds get down like it’s 1982 and sweat is the most valuable currency in the room. Then sometimes we play for a crowd of very confused, slightly offended middle-aged European pedestrians.

What’s the biggest achievement so far?

We completed our latest invention the Disco Helmet V2 (see Parcels’ YouTube channel).

Is Berlin permanent? What are the plans for the future? 

Berlin isn’t the kind of place you want to move with your wife Nancy and raise Sammy and Marcia, your two peachy children. But we love it now; it’s perfect and we have no plans other than to keep recording, playing and expanding concepts.

How has your sound changed and evolved since living O/S?

The endless Berlin nights with that non-stop kick drum and that hazy, yet consistent, groove have definitely given us a taste for more driving, punchy music. But we’re constantly being inspired by a hundred genres and artists so inspiration comes from everywhere.

What should we expect for your home show?

A signature five-man disco-funk electro-pop explosion. We want that room to be HOT, like the summer of 74. We want to see those Australian moves raining down like it’s monsoon season. And we can’t wait to wrap our lips around an over-fruity Pacific ale once again!

Thursday 8 December at The Hotel Great Northern. Supported by the Lovely Days.

The Parcels are also one of the many local acts performing at Falls Festival. Local tickets are still available for this 30 December–2 January event. 

Go to fallsfestival.com.au/byron-bay to search out your local tickets.

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