Parallells are Thomas and Julien de Bie, jazz musicians who run their own label Klassified, as well as their own creative powerhouse studio of the same name in Amsterdam. The duo, who hail from the South of France, have a mesmeric live show and have plenty of wide influences to draw on musically. They recently served up a big new remix of Pupkulies & Rebecca’s “Fou de Toi” which was another masterclass.
Here we speak to them about lockdown life, their journey into dance music, what inspires them and ask about their special Day At series which finds them recording in weird and wonderful places.
How is life in lockdown treating you? Are you in lockdown?
Maybe we can call it synchronicity, but we had already planned April to lock ourselves in the studio in order to finish all our projects. So lockdown arrived just in time, if we may say!
Even though, all measurements have been put in place, Amsterdam is not in complete lock down. The Dutch government has a more liberal approach towards this crisis compare to other countries. So to tell your the truth, except the fact that social distancing with family and friend and travels aren’t possible anymore, we embrace the reset button for the sake of ecology, humanity and our inner self.
How was the year before this broke out? What had been good for you?
Last year had been a crazy roller coaster! We’ve been working on many projects, from a new live set, to the album of “ A Day At”, to the documentary “A Journey in the Bush” in South Africa, the shooting of “A Day in” in Azerbaijan, Essaouira, Bangkok, and Mexico; touring in 4 continents in the most amazing shows such as DGTL, Wonderfruit, Fusion, Afrikaburn, Burning man with the Mayan Warrior and Robot Heart crew, moving back to Amsterdam, building the House of Klassified, releasing so many powerful tracks on Klassified, pre-launching our earplugs Innear, and the list is still long…
Tell us about how you first got into dance music – where, when?
This is when we first moved to The Netherlands for our studies in 2009 and 2010 that we really got into electronic music and more specifically into the underground scene. The Dutch have been pioneers in this field with the rise of massive outdoor festivals and indoor events. Experience such as Awakenings or Welcome to the Future have blown our minds.
What parties and DJs inspired you? What sounds turned you on?
For me (Julien), I was studying in The Hague and a place that really got me hooked was a beach club called Whoosah. This is truly the starting point of my love of electronic music. One specific night that marked me was Agoria on a Sunday night. A friend of mine had to interview him and, as I was speaking French, asked me to come with. And funny fact, we are now releasing our next single “Blooming Flower” on his imprint Sapiens haha.
Anyway, I really had the best times at this place where Dixon, Âme, Joris Voorn and so many more artists played for their first time in The Netherlands.
In my opinion (Thomas) It’s hard to pin-point one particular DJ or event, my taste in sounds evolved throughout time, and so many artists has been influencing that tastes. From Jazz club, pop concert to more underground cubs. But back in the days, one club that really changed my perception of electronic music was ‘Trouw’ in Amsterdam, the best-curated club, vibe and music Amsterdam had to offer. This has definitely shaped my musical direction towards a more electronic one.
How long till you started making and collecting your own music?
We are from a jazzy background, both trained at the music academy, and were part of bands where we were younger. Therefore, we’ve always created and collected music.
Julien started Djing and dig for the best records while Thomas started to dive into Ableton. Five years ago, we decided to share our knowledges with each other and start a new music project, Parallells.
There’s very often a strong melody, or sense of it, in your music – why is that?
We strongly believe in meaningful music, music for purpose and melodies are triggers of emotions. Therefore you will most likely find strong melodies in our compositions in order to express the concept. We mostly produce uplifted tracks, that either make you dance, or make you smile.
Tell us about your live shows – how planned are they, how improvised are they?
Since we did our first live show in DGTL last year, we’ve been constantly changing and improving the set up, the structure. It is a constant learning and a constant push of boundaries. Our live sets are structured in a way that each track allows improvisation. We are actually working on a complete new one, that will combine some of our favourite Jazz classics together with a touch of electronics. In this one, we will perform much more as a concert and improvisation is the number one factor in that case.
Tell us about your A Day At series. How do you plan those? What other ones have you got coming up?
The idea, behind the ‘A Day At’ concept, is to spend a day recording sounds of unusual places or jobs and to translate the setting/scene and its components into music with analog instruments. Ranging From a kitchen, green house, ski station, wood factory, an hotel, a dentist, a supermarket, an hospital and lastly an airport, all the sound characterizing the place is used to make the music, in that sense, it is completely organic. This will be our first album this year.
We started shooting and recording the second series “A Day In” that translates a city or culture into music. The first episode has been shot in Essaouira – Morocco with the sound of the Medina and collaboration with local Gnawa legend, Maalem Omar Hayat. Bangkok, Mexico is in the making with more hidden treasure and culture, all of which in captured by the talented lens of the film-maker Arnaud Moro.
What will be the first thing you do when lockdown is over?
First thing is booking a flight for our Italian granddad to finally come visit us in Amsterdam. Second thing, and this goes without saying, is the planning our the most memorable first party in a while!