I think that only good things can come from honestly seeking to understand. It’s important that we don’t make decisions as if we’re rooting for a sports team. This is not a new idea, but sometimes we need to be reminded that life is not just one way, or the complete opposite of that way. It’s my belief that we need to have compassion and really try to put ourselves in other people’s shoes, or have conversations with people who look, act, or believe differently than we do, before coming to a conclusion. Fear is a great motivator. Powerful people know this, and often exploit it for financial gain. It’s important that we educate ourselves and don’t rely on a single source of information, regardless of religion or political affiliation. No one should be looked down upon as weak for being compassionate.
As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Lance Black of the band In Parallel.
The band, which consists of members of Celebrity & Hopesfall, released their debut album “Broken Codes” in 2018, which yielded seven songs — touching on themes of power, control, and human connection.
The new “Fashioner” EP was recorded over the course of 2019 in the band’s home studio, and was mixed by Ken Andrews (Failure, Year Of The Rabbit).
Guitarist Ryan Parrish tells Brooklynvegan: “We’ve been big fans of Ken Andrews’ work for nearly two decades. When it came time to mix the EP, Mark asked who would be at the top of the list and we jokingly threw Ken’s name out there thinking there’s zero possibility it would ever happen,” Ryan tells us. “Unbeknownst to us, Mark tracked down Ken’s email address and sent him a few songs. Ken wrote back within a day or two and said he’d love to work on it — we were blown away. Sonically speaking, he really shaped and added to the depth of Fashioner. We could not be happier with the end result.”
The seeds of In Parallel were planted late at night 5+ years ago in the back room of a picture frame shop. With nothing more than a looped electronic drum sample and a few guitars, the first notes became the framework of the song “Bridge and Tunnel.” This particular song and its lyric “walk through waves and wade where others won’t — choose your words, say what others don’t” became a mission statement of sorts — a musical rebirth for its four members.
It took multiple recordings for the band to get all the sounds on their debut EP ‘Broken Codes’ correct — so much so that they scrapped the first two versions entirely. The band was inspired by their love of dark 80’s pop and 90’s shoegaze and post-hardcore — creating a sound that aims to balance contrastingly melodic, expansive and ambient moments.
In Parallel consists of Lance Black, Jesse Fine, Ryan Parrish and Mark Nash. The band recorded their debut EP in Nashville with the help of their most devoted fans from previous projects (Celebrity/Hopesfall) through a crowdfunding campaign. Bypassing the traditional structure of the music industry gave the three-piece group the freedom to lean into technology, ultimately treading new territory both sonically and lyrically.)
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Thanks for the interview! Yes, I’ll try to simplify it. I grew up in California as the oldest of 5 kids. I was born in Los Angeles where my parents lived as musicians, touring coffee shops in the area. The family moved around a lot because my father worked as an artist and we’d go where the work was. We made the decision to leave L.A. when I was 11 because we had lived in a high crime area, experienced a few close calls, and my parents decided it was time to get us out. My aunt and uncle owned some land in Northern California where they let us live in a small cabin that sat on a hill in the center of their wooded property. It was a big change from where we had previously lived, but it was pretty cool as kid to experience the freedom to run around and explore what felt like a foreign land. We lived there for a few years so that my parents could get their bearings until they eventually moved closer to the city, but life in that cabin are some of the best memories from my childhood.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Yeah, so living in the middle of nowhere is where I discovered my love for music. My brother, Shane, and I would sit on the floor together and share a speaker on my parents boombox while we’d listen to whatever played on the FM station with the clearest signal. We’d sit for hours and hit record on the tape deck if we liked the song, and then listen back to them later and write down every word. We grew up in a very religious home so we had our moments when it came to what my parents would allow us to listen to, but it never stopped us from searching for good music. I learned to sing in church, and since my parents were musicians, we had guitars at home and that’s where I learned to play. I joined my first band when I was 16 or 17 and, when I was old enough, I’d drive to Sacramento to see bands like the Deftones and Far in a tiny venue called “Cattle Club”. Seeing those bands perform there sealed it for me. I knew it had changed the trajectory of my life.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I was once in a band that opened for MC Hammer in a bandshell at Daytona Beach, FL during spring break. The man was so kind, and he actually invited us up to his penthouse suite after the show, where we had dinner with him and his family. I feel like that could be classified as an interesting experience. Beyond that, I’ve had some less fun experiences that involved being physically attacked, stranded in a blizzard, walking a trailer through traffic in NYC, etc. — I feel like that’s pretty normal though. Right?
Can you share with us an interesting story about living in Nashville?
I moved to Nashville with a band that broke up about a year or so after we landed here, and they all moved back to California except for me. By that time though, I had met Jesse Fine and Mark Nash while touring with other bands and, only a year or 2 later, I met Ryan Parrish (all now members of In Parallel). I had started a new band with Jesse and his brother Matt, called Celebrity, and Mark took on the role of producer/manager. During that time, Ryan was still playing in a band called Hopesfall and happened to be a fan of Celebrity after getting a hold of our debut EP, “Sleep”. After Ryan left Hopesfall, he had heard through a mutual friend that Celebrity was looking for a guitar player, so he drove to Nashville from Charlotte, met with the band, ran through some songs with us, and was an immediate fit. Later, that band dissolved and Ryan, Jesse and I started In Parallel, with Mark officially joining the band this year after having produced and mixed our debut EP, “Broken Codes”, and acting as producer and engineer for our latest EP, “Fashioner”. All of that to say, I came to Nashville to live and tour with a band that I thought would be very successful at the time, but the band immediately broke up and I ended up doing so much more musically than I thought was possible. I’m so grateful for my experiences and the friendships I’ve made in this city.
Can you share with us a few of the best parts of living in Nashville? We’d love to hear some specific examples or stories about that.
What makes Nashville special is its community of musicians, and an infrastructure that has supported us before and since I moved here 22 years ago. The pandemic has changed things, obviously, and all of us are worried about the future of some of the country’s most iconic music venues that reside here in Nashville, and the musicians that rely on and generate revenue for those venues. Outside of music, though, Nashville is a beautiful city with great food and entertainment that has felt to me like a well-kept secret for a long time… until becoming the “it” city over the last decade. The shear number of pedal taverns, flat beds hauling drunken bachelorette parties through the city, and tourists on scooters navigating sidewalks and traffic, are a bit much for locals. Also, many long-time Nashvillians are being pushed from their once quiet neighborhoods inside the city, to the suburbs in order to get away from the explosion of Airbnb’s in support of the growing bachelorette party scene here. The people haven’t changed though. The community of musicians has grown if anything, and we need each other’s support even more now.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The first time I ever had a “big” meeting with a record label, was right after we had signed a deal and they had taken the band to a fancy restaurant with the president of the label, A&R guys, and other label executives. Everyone at the table was getting settled in and talking so I thought it would be a great time to run to the bathroom quickly before navigating introductions and my own social anxiety. As anyone would, I washed my hands before leaving the bathroom, but the water pressure was more than I had anticipated so it splashed perfectly onto the zipper on my pants (of course), giving the appearance that I somehow couldn’t hold it and awkwardly wet myself. I did my best to sneak back to the table and slide into my chair unnoticed, but as soon as I sat down, I was asked to stand up and introduce myself to everyone at the table. It was something I had already dreaded doing before the water incident, and now I was the guy who definitely wet himself. I froze at first, but I decided it was better to lean into the situation, so I stood up and said, “My name is Lance, and I’ve peed my pants”. I didn’t intentionally mean to rhyme. Anyway, everyone laughed (with me I assumed — not at me), and I sat back down like a big boy. I still think about that moment though. More than I’d like to admit. The lesson learned here is, you’re never as smooth as you think you are, so don’t take yourself too seriously.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m most excited about my current band, “In Parallel”, and the release of our second EP, “Fashioner”. We recorded it last year, and we had the great fortune of working with Ken Andrews (Failure, Year of the Rabbit) as our mix engineer. “Fashioner” is available now (as of September 4th) on all streaming services and the 12” vinyl can be purchased through our label’s website: wiretaprecords.com.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Remain authentic — Imitation is a form of flattery but it’s boring when it comes to art. In my opinion, the best art (music or otherwise) is something that pulls you into someone else’s world. For me, that can be something you’ve never heard or seen before, or something familiar but with its own mark. Try to be objective and write something you’d want to listen to.
- Longevity is key — Most of the musicians I know that have had any level of success have become better at what they do over time. It’s not immediate. It’s hard work, trial and error, humility (sometimes humiliation) and persistence that will help you achieve what you’ve set out to do.
- Don’t make artistic decisions based on money — It’s easier to say that now than it was when big record labels we’re handing out large sums of money regularly. It’s a thing though, and it will eventually come up when making decisions as an artist. If you let it, money will hurt friendships and change the way you write. True talent will show itself, so trust your gut instincts and don’t let money change your direction.
- Leave your ego behind — I feel like this makes my friends and bandmates unique. We don’t argue when we’re writing or recording songs. We’ve built trust over time and when one of us says, it doesn’t feel right, or I think you can do better, we take their word for it and they’re usually right. We all want the same outcome, and we’re willing to work hard to get there.
- Surround yourself with musicians who challenge you — The band I’m in now consists of my favorite guitar player, my favorite bass player, and a producer/coach that constantly pushes all of us to be better at what we do. What this does for me is, when I’m writing a song (structure, chords, melody), I’m always aware that Jesse is going to write a bass line that I could never write myself, and Ryan will come up with a guitar line that is way out of left field but fits perfectly in the song. I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility to write in a way that allows them to use their strengths to create bass/guitar lines that make the song better. Also, after hearing the parts they write, it challenges me to make sure that my melodies or other parts are on par with theirs.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
All of the examples listed above and, allow yourself to be uncomfortable. Writing, recording or performing can eventually become monotonous or anxiety inducing if you allow it to. I’ve found that taking risks while remaining authentic can bring you the greatest joy. When I’ve done this and it turns out to be a mistake, I usually know pretty quickly and I’m not afraid to scrap the idea, move on from a song, or rewrite some parts if it’s worth hanging onto. Usually though, it’s a calculated risk and if you’re working with people you know and trust, it can be a fun process, it works out, and you’ll continue to learn and grow as a musician.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
This question feels dangerous now that almost everything is political. I think that only good things can come from honestly seeking to understand. It’s important that we don’t make decisions as if we’re rooting for a sports team. This is not a new idea, but sometimes we need to be reminded that life is not just one way, or the complete opposite of that way. It’s my belief that we need to have compassion and really try to put ourselves in other people’s shoes, or have conversations with people who look, act, or believe differently than we do, before coming to a conclusion. Fear is a great motivator. Powerful people know this, and often exploit it for financial gain. It’s important that we educate ourselves and don’t rely on a single source of information, regardless of religion or political affiliation. No one should be looked down upon as weak for being compassionate.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I love this question. Mark Nash is that person for me. Before joining In Parallel, he’s played the role of cheerleader for every project I’ve been involved with over the last 20+ years, and he’s also pushed me to be better in anything I do. He’s a great vocal coach and producer in the studio, and he’s helped me through a lot of personal situations as well. More recently, he floated the idea that we put together a list of our top 5 mix engineers and reach out to see if any of them would be interested in mixing our latest EP. We did, and he sent emails out with links to the rough mixes and, within a day or 2, the first name on our list, Ken Andrews, reached out and agreed to mix the EP. It’s by far the best sounding recording I’ve been a part of, and it wouldn’t have happened without Mark’s influence.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Something my father said a lot when I was a kid, and it stuck with me as an adult, was, “Think before you speak. It’s better to be a man of few words.” I always took that to mean, don’t react to something before thinking it through. And, if you use fewer words, it forces you to be deliberate with the words you choose. That has helped me as a husband and father to be thoughtful rather than reactionary, and hopefully if you listen to the latest record, “Fashioner” by “In Parallel”, you’ll notice the intentionality of the words chosen in each song. ☺
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Walter Schreifels. He’s the singer/guitar player in a band that I’ve loved since I was kid, called Quicksand. I’ve seen them live a few times and Walter always seems like he’s having a great time, and it’s infectious. I follow him on Instagram, too, and he just comes across as a solid human being.
How can our readers follow you online?
Please go to www.inparallelband.com, and there are links to our social media accounts, streaming services, and our online merchandise stores.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!