Interview: Parquet Courts discuss raw, hardcore-influenced new album

Parquet Courts discuss raw, hardcore-influenced new album

After a productive but musically mellow 2017, next year’s set to see the fiery return of the New York quartet. Guitarist Andrew Savage fills us in.

Antagonistic New Yorkers Parquet Courts may have spent the majority of their 2017 in uncharacteristically mellow form – releasing their long-in-the-making collaboration ‘Milano’ with Italian composer Daniele Luppi and offering up guitarist Andrew Savage’s reflective debut solo offering ‘Thawing Dawn’, but their 2018 looks set to be an altogether more rampant affair. “I wanted to get back to writing raw songs. Things you can dance to and things I could harness my anger into, which is plentiful being in America right now,” explains Andrew, calling in from a studio break, mid-way through mixing their as-yet-untitled new record – tentatively set for a May release. “I didn’t write any love songs [for it]; it’s all rippers.”

Rippers they may be, but don’t go expecting a happy clappy burst of positivity and sparkle from the Courts just yet. Taking the outward-looking, political themes of 2016 track ‘Two Dead Cops’ and much of 2014’s ‘Content Nausea’, their newest is a record that squares up to the agitated realities of modern life; if it rips, then those rips are pulling at the threads of a world already unravelling. “Whatever inner turmoil and unrest was happening [on 2016 LP ‘Human Performance’], that’s been mooted and replaced by an outward turmoil and a general state of unrest at living in the US,” continues the guitarist. “I think that honesty of one’s own time is what people are connected to in art. It has to speak to the current condition or else it’ll have a very short shelf life.”

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“I wanted to get back to writing raw songs.”

Andrew Savage

Recorded for the most part at Sonic Ranch Studios – a rambling 3,000 acre pecan farm on the outskirts of Texas, with a producer that the band are currently keeping under wraps (intriguing…), the album’s tracklisting is still being finalised but will almost certainly include new track ‘Total Football’. A tribute to the guitarist’s youthful love of American hardcore and a musing on “collectivity versus individualism and how, now more than ever, it’s important to celebrate what happens when we come together,” the guitarist labels it the “anthem” in a record seemingly characterised by this sense of constructive rallying against the problem. “If there’s one thing the record’s against, it’s nihilism. There’s way too much of [that] in my country and society at large at the moment,” Andrew concludes. “I think that anger can be constructive. And there’s some unrest, for sure. But that can be positive. It’s not gonna be like a Lars Von Trier movie or anything…” Well, at least there’s that.

Taken from the December 2017 / January 2018 issue of DIY. Read online or subscribe below.

Photo: Mike Massaro / DIY