Parcels chat new single ‘TheFear’, upcoming live album and the “unified feeling that you get on the dancefloor”

Parcels stop by Happy Mag to dish on their imminent album Live Vol. 2, night club culture, and their quest to “take ourselves away from the limelight.”

Earlier this week, Byron Bay five-piece Parcels released their new single TheFear. Recorded live from a secret gig at the Parisian nightclub, le Palace, the single is the second to be lifted from the band’s forthcoming live album, Live Vol. 2. 

Steeped in the club culture of their new residence in Berlin, TheFear serves as a celebratory homage to dance music, and is accompanied by a video recording of the band’s le Palace performance.

Parcels interview 'TheFear'

The mesmerising cut follows Reflex as the second taste of what’s to come on Live Vol. 2, which is set for release on October 20. Billed as a continuation of their live album efforts on 2020’s Live Vol. 1, the upcoming project will span the 12 tracks played by Parcels at the Parisian nightclub last year, alongside a 62-minute film of their performance in full. 

Fresh off the release of TheFear, and with the remaining album set to drop later this month, we caught up with Parcels bassist Noah Hill for a chat about Live Vol. 2, his “love/hate relationship” with his hometown, and the band’s intention for their album to recreate “that unified feeling that you get on the dancefloor.”

Catch our full interview with Noah Hill, and listen to Parcels’ new single, below. Be sure to catch the band’s much-anticipated live album, Live Vol. 2, when it drops on October 20. 

HAPPY: What are you up to today?

NOAH: Today, I went for a run-up to the lighthouse, a jump in the ocean, and a few coffees. Then I’ll make my daily migration to the studio to work on music.

I’ll do that pretty much all day and then see a friend in the afternoon for a catch-up and a few drinks. Wholesome, productive, healthy. My new moto. It may not be rock and roll, but it’s working.

Parcels via Facebook

HAPPY: Tell us about where you are from? What’s the scene like in your neck of the woods?

NOAH: We all grew up in Byron. Many people know what it’s like, I’m sure. It’s a strange, perfect paradise that is seemingly living in its own bubble. I have a love/hate relationship with it.

I sometimes despise it for its lack of perspective and insulating cultural landscape, the way bad ideas create a feedback loop here. But in the end, I love it too. The ocean, the cafes, my family, my friends.

Having traveled and seen a lot of the world over the last few years, there’s still nothing as good as I have to say. It’s an easy place to be happy and healthy here, that’s for sure.

HAPPY: Describe an average day?

NOAH: I pretty much did by describing my day today. I can’t talk for the other guys, obviously, who are mostly in Berlin. It’s probably a whole different life. We’re not touring at the moment and are in the writing phase for a new record.

It’s allowed me to establish a routine for the first time in 8 years. Australia, the ocean, surfing, being in the studio during the day and seeing where the inspiration takes me.

If I’m getting stuck, I tend to just leave for a bit, see a friend, another swim, and switch the perspective. It’s a pretty privileged life at the moment, I can see that. It definitely beats living on the tour bus, too, that’s for sure.

parcels interview happy mag charlie hardy
Photos: Charlie Hardy

HAPPY: What did you listen to growing up that fuelled your passion for music?

Music was a big part of my family dynamic, a few being musicians themselves, so it was a natural initiation. But when things really clicked for me, I think bands like Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers, and groups of that ilk made me really find a passion for songs and singing.

Perhaps because it was a slightly modern version of the folk music my parents would play growing up, it felt familiar but also had a new flare that I could resonate with.

That set a few of us Parcels boys on the journey of singing, harmonies, and playing in groups. But passion changes, and your tastes change, too, thank god. And even if they aren’t my favorite bands or music these days, everything needs a spark.

Parcels Live Vol. 1

HAPPY: Live Vol. 2 showcases a fusion of traditional and dance renditions of your music. Can you share the creative process behind this unique approach and what it was like to transition from traditional performances to a full-on rave atmosphere during your tour?

NOAH: I think, despite our first denials that Berlin had taken its toll on us musically, Live Vol. 2 has become a real acknowledgment of the experiences we’ve had over the years in Berlin clubs.

Dance music, at least in our circles, is what drives the city. It’s what makes it special and gives meaning to the somewhat desolate environment. In conjunction with that influence, we were touring a lot and naturally bringing these elements into the live set.

We realised that we could play the things we’d heard so much in the club with our instruments. That felt super exciting to us. This idea of replacing the DJ, of creating a nonstop dance party.

We had already experimented with our transitions and doing long instrumental dance breaks, but this felt like going one step further and with a greater intention behind it.

HAPPY: Could you tell us about the significance of the secret club gig in Paris for Live Vol. 2? How did the atmosphere of the venue contribute to the energy of the performance?

NOAH: Live Vol. 1 surprised us by how much it connected to people. Perhaps it was about the sincerity and pureness of that live set and our inspirations at the time.

We really wanted Live Vol. 2 to be different but equally reflect our current inspirations. For that, we needed a crowd, a small dark club, and an atmosphere that was in alignment with the album’s intentions.

The night of Vol. 2 was chaotic, intense, and unpredictable, much like any memorable night out. And to us, dance music is about the crowd, not the DJ necessarily. It’s about that unified feeling that you get on the dancefloor.

That faceless comradery that exists in a dark room. We wanted Live Vol. 2 to capture that and to purposefully take ourselves away from the limelight. And through that, to give power to the energy of music above anything else.

Parcels interview 'TheFear'
Credit: Spyros Rennt

HAPPY: Parcels has been together for quite some time, with roots in both Australia and Berlin. How has your sense of place and cultural influences evolved over the years, and how do they shape your music today?

NOAH: It feels like these days, we’re not even credited as being Australian. It’s weird. Because many of us so deeply feel the pull of our homeland. Inspired by the natural beauty, the vastness, the dark history, the quiet, and the noise.

We definitely seem to be in no man’s land because of the time we’ve spent in Berlin and Europe overall. I think there is a deep pondering in us regarding that, and something we touched on in the songs on the Day/Night album.

About who we are. It’s quite evenly split amongst the band, I think. For some of us, I can see moving back to Australia long-term as a natural home; for others, I can sense that it isn’t part of their identity anymore.

I think it’s that global approach and reflection of home/abroad that can often be a good thing when it comes to making art with a group.

HAPPY: Collaborating with Daft Punk on “Overnight” was a major milestone. How did that experience impact your artistic direction and what did you learn from working with such iconic figures in electronic music?

NOAH: There is a sacredness about the experience with Daft Punk in those early years that can rarely be adequately put into words. Every time I try, it seems to come up short.

Safe to say, they are operating musically on a level that is unique and unknown to almost all. The words shared and time spent with them (at most, only weeks at a time) have stayed with us and guided us. It has given us self-belief in our ideas. Because in the end, if you don’t believe in your own ideas, who else will?

HAPPY: Your reference points span across various musical eras and genres. How do you approach incorporating these diverse influences into a cohesive sound that is uniquely Parcels?

NOAH: There are a few ways in which to amalgamate many influences and styles. And we’ve toyed with a few. In the early days, we tried to fit everything into one song or idea. Trying to compress all of the things you like into one piece.

But as time goes on, you realise that perhaps that isn’t necessarily the best way, and what is more advisable is to just let things breathe and be as they are. To follow the purity of the idea at its origin.

I think that is something that we try to do more now. Follow a song or inspiration, and ask ourselves, what is it, and what does it want to be? And follow that. And accept all the different aspects of music that you love. It’s an evolving process though, of course.


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HAPPY: The band’s chemistry is palpable. How does your long history as friends and musicians contribute to your creative process, both in the studio and on stage?

NOAH: I’m very proud of all of us as individuals. To have been friends and be in it this long. I think that is something that is easily lost in the world of bands over a long period of time.

I think it has come down to our ability to be honest and to also evolve in our process. In the early days, we had a strict way of working, in which all 5 of us had to be in the room for everything, all photos had to be the 5 of us, every credit for everything was shared, etc.

And while that maybe served us at the time, we’re beginning to realise the utility of changing that up. We’re individuals with individual strengths and weaknesses… allowing them to shine and help others up when they need support.

It’s putting us as people first and then the quality of the music second, no matter how it comes about. But maintaining respect and love throughout.

I think there are many examples to live by and not to live by in the history of music, and we try to find a way to stay true to being mates in the end. That’s what makes the best art. When it’s all said and done.

HAPPY: Live performances hold a special place in Parcels’ identity. Can you share a memorable moment from your tour that particularly stands out to you and why?

NOAH: For me, Paris Rock en Seine was a particularly pungent memory. The biggest festival appearance of the year, the most pressure. And I had, on a personal level, one of my worst days I’ve ever had in the group.

A year of touring, fatigue, family there, and tensions really high from some questionable behavior from myself. I was balling my eyes out 30 minutes before going on stage and had to apologize to the group.

The guys accepting me, us moving through it, and us playing one of the shows of the year… It was a testament to the dark days on the road and how if we’re there for each other, we can make it through and do amazing things.

Image: Press

HAPPY: The release of Live Vol. 2 signifies a new chapter for Parcels. How do you envision the evolution of your sound and live performances in the future?

NOAH: There’s been a lot of talk amongst us about this. Ideas of being a dance band, moving into new realms of live electronic music.

I don’t think you can get rid of the pop elements out of our souls, so we’ll see. We haven’t been making music in a room together for a few months, and it’s coming up soon, so only time can tell.

HAPPY: What can fans expect from the full album and film release on October 20? Are there any specific themes or messages you hope to convey through this body of work?

NOAH: I get a sense that they can expect what they don’t expect. I’d like to think that this album helps continue to throw away the idea that you know what’s next for Parcels.

Intrinsic to the message of this record is party. It’s love. It’s ecstasy. It’s letting go. Letting go of the guys you thought were disco surfer dudes with long hair, or whatever your preconception was. It’s realising that’s gone.

Not forever, but for now. But of faceless euphoria. I think we wanted to facilitate that feeling for a crowd, much like a DJ does. But it’s us. See us as a single sausage, as we like to say.

HAPPY: What makes you happy?

NOAH: Happiness right now comes in the form of new creation and the prospect of new things. Writing new music that is inspiring.

But it’s also coming in the form of the mundane, the routine, the small joys. Happiness feels like a slippery fish you’re trying to hold, but it’s always outside your grasp. Best to keep on flowing, it seems.