With a brand new record in the works, Vancouver-based band Tourist Company is gearing up for a show at Bo’s March 5th along with Long Range Hustle.
Taylor Swindells and Brenon Parry, who launched the band back in 2013, are relishing the feedback from their new and instantly infectious single Conflicted/Restricted.
Looking back, they released their debut record Apollo in 2016 to critical acclaim and toured it relentlessly across the nation and the world. Throughout the ethereal, at times dream-like tones of Apollo, the band explores the parallels between their own lives and the vast mystery of outer-space.
No one crafts tunes quite like these two – deeply imaginative, quirky and fun but also insightful, thought-provoking and observant.
This time around they’re keeping both feet firmly planted on earth, choosing instead to follow a more introspective route, noted their bio. That said, the new disc, expected later this spring, is another concept-type record.
“It does a similar thing that Apollo did, but uses a different set of imagery. I’m definitely excited for people to hear it because it’s been a couple of years since we put out a record,” said Parry, adding that sonically, fans can expect a few shifts. But the guys certainly haven’t wandered far from their compelling musical ‘roots’.
“We don’t like to hang out in the same area too long. There will be some familiarity on the record, but I do think we go in a couple of new directions here, too. As a music listener myself, I enjoy it when bands make you feel comfortable with the new music but they also kind of push the boundaries of what you might expect from them as well.
“We very actively try to do that. It’s a logical departure in some senses, but I think it still sounds like us.”
Fellow musician Jordan Klassen, who the band also shares studio space with, helped produce some of the tracks.
“He’s been one of our big advocates since we started this project five or six years ago,” said Parry. “He’s kind of been onboard through all of our recordings as someone who is in the studio with us. With the Apollo record, he was there directly producing the entire time.
“But with this record, we did the majority of it with a producer named Colin Stewart out on Vancouver Island. We did about 70 per cent of the record at his studio and brought some of it back to Jordan’s studio,” he added. “We respect him a lot and we think he’s a fantastic artist, so we are always looking for his input.”
How the band came to be was indeed one of those unmistakable twists of fate.
Parry is originally from Tuscon, Arizona and first met the guys who would form the first version of the band when they all worked at a summer camp on the Sunshine Coast near Vancouver.
“We didn’t really have any kind of pre-conceived ideas or plans on where we were headed. We just had these songs that we wanted to record and play ‘live’. We just kind of took it one step at a time, and in a sense, that’s kind of still what we are doing.”
It’s quite serendipitous that Parry ended up in Vancouver at all, as he also had a chance to study music in Los Angeles. But ultimately, an opportunity to head further north won out.
“I had to make the decision whether I was going to go to LA or Vancouver, and on a whim, I decided I was going to come up to Vancouver for the summer. It was one of those big ‘fork in the road’ moments of my life and it radically changed the course of what I was doing.”
It’s been a terrific journey ever since. Not only creatively, but he also met his wife in Vancouver as well.
Looking back further, it was during his growing up years in Arizona that a passion for music took root. Any parents that purchase their eight-year-old a drumset are clearly dedicated to helping shape musical expression, he said with a laugh. It was even set up in the living room.
“Good on them for not wanting to shut it out! So yes, I had the privilege of growing up in a very artistically-minded house.”
For Parry, there couldn’t be a better path to follow.
“It isn’t as glamorous as a lot of people think. When you start a band, you are basically running a small business – there’s so much that goes into it.
“But there is something about playing a show to an audience – whether it’s 10 people or 10,000 people who are receptive and there to enjoy what you are bringing,” he explained. “There’s almost a moment of transcendence where you get to escape all the other stuff and tap into what it is to be an artist, and to connect with the people.
“It’s like the runner’s high – you go through the pain and the training. But when you get through a race, you tap into something that is almost other-worldly. It’s about chasing that feeling.”