Hot off the heels of their sophomore release, XXI, Parallels’ leading lady Holly Dodson is sounding fresher and more excited than ever. Her sugarcoated Lauper-esque vocals sparkle and shine all over syncopated synth sounds and danceable drum beats. Based out of Toronto, Dodson is the daughter of Rich Dodson, frontman for Canadian rock mainstays The Stampeders (they had a hit in the ’70s, look it up!). A very musical family indeed. She has enlisted the help of her brother Nick Dodson on drums, who replaced ex-Crystal Castles member Cameron Findlay on the last record. The trio is now rounded out by Artem Galperine on keys and the result is refreshing and sexy electronic pop that is guaranteed to sweep you away on the dance floor. Just hear it for yourself with studio and rehearsal footage (filmed at Marigold Studios in Toronto) from their track “Time Will Crawl” below!
On the road for the second time this year, Parallels prepare to make a stop in Vancouver at Library Square on Thursday, August 2 as part of BeatRoute Magazine’s Higher Learning live music weekly. We caught up with Dodson somewhere in the middle of the prairies to find out what she’s been up to.
BeatRoute: You were originally playing with Cameron Findlay (ex-Crystal Castles) but recently took the reigns for the release of XII. Was it a difficult transition?
Holly Dodson: I wouldn’t say it was difficult…it seems like the kind of thing a lot of bands go through after the glitter fades from the first album. Cam and I hadn’t written anything new together for quite a while since our first album cane out so when he decided to go solo, it forced me to get in the studio with some new ideas I had been working on. I had never jumped into doing Parallels with the notion that we would only record one album, there is so much room to try new things and I love the potential that our genre has so the line-up change gave us an opportunity to do that and play with the foundations we built with the original sound.
BeatRoute: What can people expect from your live show now that you have undergone a lineup change? Is Nick Dodson your brother?
HD: Haha Yes! Nick is my brother/the best drummer I know so it was an easy decision. I’m very grateful to have two killer musicians joining me on stage, including Artem Galperine who joined on keyboards and background vocals… He might as well be related to us too. Three is the magic number at the moment; we’ve found a dynamic that works. I love playing dance music with live musicians especially, because it adds an energy you don’t get with pre-recorded live sets that the genre is notorious for.
BeatRoute: Where does Parallels sit in the Canadian music scene? Do you relate more to the live indie music scene scene or are you more comfortable at DJ/dance parties?
HD: Well we are both indie and love to make people dance so we can be chameleons in that sense! As long as people are dancing and having a party, we feel like we’ve done our job.
BeatRoute: Your dad, Rich Dodson, is a Canadian rock icon, being the primary member of The Stampeders. What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from him?
HD: Yes and he’s still touring 40 years later! Musicians never retire, he’s living proof. He’s advised us to stay away from hard liquor, don’t believe hype and love what you do because when it works, it sure beats working.
BeatRoute: Does your dad have a lot of cool rocker friends? Have you ever met The Guess Who?
HD: Haha. Yeah I guess he’s pretty cool by association! He did have a hit in the ’70s after all. But yes I’ve met Randy Bachman. Canada has produced some amazing talent!
BeatRoute: As an electronic pop artist, what are some things that you think are the most important to staying relevant in a constantly evolving genre?
HD: This is SO cheesy but I truly think that no matter what, staying true to yourself is the most important thing because that’s what drives creativity in the first place. There’s a lot you can do within a genre. Relevancy is in the ear of the listener…it’s overwhelming how much is going on in music but putting your own swing on a sound is the fun part.
BeatRoute: What kind of things get you really excited to be alive these days?
HD: Oh, there is so much. I’m so excited to be in the middle of our second tour this year, with hilarious band mates and a new album we are really excited about.
BeatRoute: What is your favourite part about the most recent incarnation of Parallels?
HD: I love everything about it!
Check out Parallels on Thursday August 2 in Vancouver at Library Square as part of Higher Learning.
By Glenn Alderson