Interview – The Parlophonics

The Parlophonics recently released an album titled A Day In The Life, which we reviewed. I loved the album and felt it sounded very unique, with the band also having quite an interesting writing and recording process. I decided to have a chat with the band to find out more – read on below for more information!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a new album titled A Day In The Life. What can you tell us about the album?

Robert Horvath: As a musician and songwriter I have always been a sideman, a lead guitarist and co-author. I have contributed to many songs, but the songs usually drifted in a direction I was not entirely happy with. They all came out great, just not my cup of tea.

So it was about time (and I am almost as old as Noel Gallagher) to make all the things happen, that have been resonating in my head for years. It was pure luck to have met Fernando Perdomo and Hugh Macdonald (aka Fairhazel) – two excellent musicians and songwriters and to get their “hell, yeah” when I asked for help with the first song It’s Alright. I believe the lads were quite impressed – that an unknown songwriter from far away Germany approached them. So The Parlophonics were born and we grew together song by song.

Fernando Perdomo: My bucket list has gotten smaller lately – one of those goals was to join a German Band.I am a sucker for good songs and A Day In The Life is chock full of earworms, great chord changes, melodies and sweet lyrics. This was exactly the project I needed while I was immersed in progressive rock. My love for music started with The Beatles so this music really brings me full circle to the beginnings of my addiction to making music. Robert delivered great song after great song to me. Hugh is one of the best singers I have ever worked with – I envy his clear voice!

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

RH: A guitar, a note book and the right mood to process and digest all the things that happened to and around me. I believe it is the most common approach out there to write a song. Fortunately I didn’t have to start from the scratch. I have drawers full of song ideas which I have collected over decades. With some good ideas at hand we were able to start work on the album. Of course there are some new songs like Paper Smile or Feel The Light (where Hugh helped me with the vocals) as well. Further on I have chosen two songs I had co-written many, many moons ago with an old school mate – A Day in the Life and Higher Ground. They were released earlier by a different band, but I kept them closer to the version I had in my head initially. I do not know if it’s legit to call them “original” songs but they definitely have parts of my DNA inside.

God Speed Helena is a cover song originally released by Fairhazel. This song got me hooked immediately and I felt Hugh would be the right voice for The Parlophonics. So it’s kind of funny that Hugh contributes to a cover of his own songs.

So when it comes to recording, I am creating some guide tracks (acoustic guitar, midi drums, piano and guide vocals) in my home studio. I define the structure, the backbone if you will, of the song and send it to Hugh via Dropbox. He then returns a stellar vocal performance with lots of lead and backing vocals. He has a perfect talent for sophisticated and catchy vocal arrangements. Then I beef up the pilot tracks with a raw mix of Hugh’s input, so that Fernando can add his extraordinary drums and guitars.

FP: This record was made during the pandemic – pretty much every profession suffered from the lockdown. One that actually bloomed was remote recording music. I started hustling my services as a drummer and guitar player and Robert found me. We have never met, believe it or not. I turned my studio into a Covid bunker and I worked on so much music alone in my studio. Robert and Hugh sent me tracks and I blessed them with my parts. Robert challenged me to be a better player and engineer – I even re-recorded a drum track because my stool was squeaking. I bought oil and it did the trick.

Do you plan to release any singles at any point in the near future?

RH: Oh yes. This project has unleashed forgotten dreams. To have songwriting credits with Fernando is on my list as well. So an album is feasible.

FP: We may do some co-writing in the future and expand the palate – I’m sure Robert has more golden songs coming.

We read that you’ve never actually been in the same room together. How does that work when making music? Do you plan to meet up anytime soon?

RH: Unfortunately that is true – so far we have never met in person, we are spread all over the globe: Germany, UK and USA. All communication is done via mobile phone, FaceTime, chats or emails. We have a common ground when it comes to music and we can solve a lot even non verbally. Just like a band that has been touring together for decades – it’s amazing and I did not expect to get to this level so incredibly quickly. I hope we will meet one day, maybe making a video and who knows, even some concerts aren’t out of the picture.

FP: Maybe its for the better. In the history of rock and roll, the only bands that have broken up have been bands that know each other. People get sick of each other – the way they smell, there’s always the guy that talks too much, the guy that is always drunk, the guy that is always late to rehearsals.

Being a virtual band just may make us immortal. Let’s not ‘fuck with the formula’ – Mike Love.

What/who influences you most as a band? We heard quite a 60s influence on the tracks on the album.

RH: You are quite right – it all starts with the Beatles, a little Pink Floyd, The Who and The Rolling Stones, T-Rex, The Style Council, Paul Weller, Talk Talk, Crowded House, Tears for Fears and on to Oasis – I love the songwriting of Noel, both pre and post Oasis – then a little Ocean Color Scene and so on. There are plenty of influences out there, even though it’s not directly noticeable in our music, they brought us to where we are and it’s shines through in the songs we make. It is fair to say that our roots are strongly founded in British classic rock.

FP: Todd Rundgren, Jason Falkner, Jon Brion, The Cardigans, King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Curved Air and The Lemon Twigs with a dash of Michel Legrand and Jean Luc Ponty.

What have you been listening to recently that you can recommend to our readers?

RH: I hope it is ok to mention the work of my bandmates as I discovered them only about a year ago and immersed myself into their worlds. I love Hugh’s I Sold My Soul For Fairhazel album and Fernando’s Zebra Crossing he recorded at Abbey Road. And I am still trapped in the 60/70s – so I have recently enjoyed the late Elvis TV shows of the 70s, and George Harrison’s All Things must Pass.

FP: Silvertwin Self Titled and Kasim Sulton’s 2021 are the 2 best records of 2021 so far, both perfect in every way.

Have you started work on the next album/EP yet, or is it too soon?

RH: Yes, I have opened up the drawer and started to prepare some new songs for a follow up album. No need to hurry as the debut album is still very young, but 2022 is a nice goal.

Has the pandemic hindered the work of the band much?

RH: To be honest, without the pandemic there would probably be no The Parlophonics. The seclusion of the pandemic gave me the courage to ask Hugh and Fernando if they would want to help with an album. The technical possibilities – each one of us has a professional studio at home – gave us a real chance to make it come true. In normal times I would have probably refrained to ask. I‘m glad I did. The Parlophonics are a tiny positive ray of light in a time of sadness and grief.

FP: The end of the pandemic is gonna hinder our band – just kidding – Covid can go away forever, but we really should just make the next record the same way. A Day In The Life is our BOSTON – time to make Don’t Look Back. 

Do you plan to tour in the future?

RH: No plans so far but we will see.

FP: Lunch, Dinner…

Any last words for the fans?

RH: It is incredible how fast we were discovered by music lovers, who started to love our music and want to know more about us. I do my best to answer all messages reaching us. A big and heartfelt “thank you” to all our supporters out there.

FP:  We love you, we want to meet you.