Lonely Parade exudes urgency. Even on their more upbeat songs, the dissonant riffs, shared between bassist Charlotte Dempsey and guitarist and lead singer Augusta Veno, plead for more out of life. Just when you think their dynamic can’t get any more impressive, Ani Climenhage’s drumming comes in, oscillating within the complex maze of chords. The band’s experimental sound didn’t just from anywhere, though. The three childhood friends met in their small Canadian hometown of Peterborough, where they became enthralled with the experimental music played in their local venue. When they started making music together at the age of 14, they worried their youth would keep them from being taken seriously. They compensated for the stereotype by taking on difficult musical endeavors like writing songs five beats to a bar instead of the standard four. These adventurous tactics give their music its calculated yet frantic math-punk sound.
Their new album, The Pits takes a poppier route while still incorporating their signature frantic sound. This is especially evident in their fantastic new track and video that we’re super pumped to premiere today, “Night Cruise.” The band told me more about the song, turning their mistakes into art, and why you shouldn’t call them a girl band. After you fall in love with them, see where they’re touring next at their website.
THAHABU GORDON: Can you tell me about the song and how you came up with the idea for the video?
AUGUSTA VENO: It was written at a time when I was falling in love with somebody and we were living in Peterborough. I had my drivers license and was ready to drive around and cruise, and gas was way cheaper. The thing to do in Peterborough, instead of going downtown, is drive around. I had this crush on this person and I would be like “Let’s go drive around” all the time, and we’d make stops like in the song: “let’s go play basketball,” “let’s go do this.”
ANI CLIMENHAGE: And then the video. We’re just obsessed with the Giant Orange in Montreal, at least I am. It’s a weird old fast food restaurant where you get orange juice. We shot the video there because we wanted it to be fast food-related, to embody the drive-through and stuff you do on a “night cruise.” That’s really all we brought to the table, and then Shawn Kosmo, the director, helped us.
CHARLOTTE DEMPSEY: We filmed it in a night. We were up till about 3 AM, it was all between our work days. It was a true night cruise!
You guys have been making music together for six years. What’s it like to watch each other grow while you’re playing in a band?
Augusta: I think it’s totally huge. We were babies when we started hanging out. I’m three years older than Charlotte and Ani, but I don’t really notice the difference because I’ve kind of been a late bloomer my whole life. Now we’re all getting to the same place because they’re 20 and I’m turning 23 soon, so it’s really nice to have them surpass me in most ways now. It’s like I’m kind of slowing down and they’re still growing and speeding up. Our dynamic has always been the same, but it changes a lot too. We’re three friends, so sometimes it’s two against one, which is funny, but can get very irritating in arguments. We definitely have a lot of sibling energy.
Charlotte: Yeah, definitely the vibe is more like we’re siblings or cousins. Ani and I were in the 8th grade when we started this band, so it’s been a trip for sure! Almost all the big milestones in my life have been with this band.
Ani: A lot of people think we’re really mean to each other, but it comes from a good place.
I read that you’re all divided on the issue of being called a girl band. How do you feel about that now?
Augusta: I used to not really care about being labeled as a women’s band. I was like “Yeah, that’s fine, I’m proud to be a woman!” and I still understand that idea and that way of thinking, but at the same time, I really would rather people not value me [just] because I’m a woman. I wouldn’t want people to come to our shows just because they wanna see a “girl band.” Especially because we’re not even a girl band.
Ani: Yeah, now that we’re more in the public eye, I’m definitely making a point of saying that I don’t identify as a woman or femme or anything like that. So that makes it weird when people label us a girl band. I don’t really feel connected to this community–I support it, but I don’t feel connected to the girl band community on a personal level. I don’t think I would have ever thought twice about who I am until I realized that we’re all grouped together and viewed as one. So then I was like, “Well, I guess I have to think a lot more about my identity,” because I don’t feel great about being lumped in with my bandmates when we don’t identify the same way.
Augusta: I could talk for hours and hours about how I’d rather people didn’t measure my band by the amount of femininity it projects, because it doesn’t really matter. Just watch me play my music.
Charlotte: And we don’t really write songs about the female experience. It’s not something that we try to do so it shouldn’t be imposed on us. Guys can write songs about feeling like garbage and being depressed, like we do, and no one says those topics are exclusive to men. No one’s calling them “man bands.”