Tomorrow, Aldershot experimental three-piece Parachute for Gordo release their third record, ‘Possibility of Not’ on Rose Coloured Records. Over the course of six tracks, the trio blend post-rock, shoegaze, math-rock and more with poignancy and conviction. The end result is a thoroughly compelling record.
Ahead of its imminent release, we’ve teamed up with Parachute for Gordo and Rose Coloured Records to premiere ‘Possibility of Not’. However, we’re not just streaming the audio portion of the record, we have the accompanying “visual album” that compliments the record.
The collection of videos were produced entirely by the band over the course of a year, culminating in a visual album that reflects and builds on the themes of their instrumental music to make something beautiful, irreverent and joyously experimental. The entire visual project was created in their local area, with local venues and people, and made with a bank-busting budget of exactly £0!
“This was the hardest we’ve ever worked on an album. Each film was a unique idea that needed to work by itself and also as part of this ‘visual album,’” says bassist John Harvey. “It’s not a linear story at all, but there are thematic, geographic and visual cues that tie the films together. The dynamics and pacing of both the album and the collection of films were very important to us.”
In addition to premiering ‘Possibility of Not’, John and guitarist Laura Lee spoke in detail about each track on the record.
1. Jellied Eels
Laura Lee (guitar): Our good fellow guitarist and engineer Dominik Strutzenberger played second guitar on this track which was a rare treat. I am slightly obsessed with delays and I had this vision to create a weirdo glitch delay. By using a MAXMSP stutter patch which I made and using a re-amping box, we created a “super delay” and echoed through this 100 year old outbuilding. I was a happy lady.
John Harvey (bass): This song was almost lost to time before a spot of practice-recording dumpster diving unearthed it. It was originally the 2nd half of a song called Mr Jelly that we’d been trying to make work but never quite did. It was an attempt to end a song quietly instead of the usual crescendos we build to. This was also one of the first times we’ve used full on studio trickery to add textures outside of our live setup. It just so happened that our engineer Dominik had an accordion laying around so we had him record this two note drone over the end section. We later recorded Mark playing the French horn to flesh out the drone even more. This effect makes the ending of the song sound absolutely massive, and re-creating it live has been a fun technical challenge.
2. Anemone to Manatee
LL: Light and shade. This is an upbeat, frantic song. I had an idea of some singing in the intro and the famous Camberley town was mentioned. In the recording of the vocals, John managed to harmonise his vocals in a single take which I was impressed with as we are mainly an instrumental band. We tend to whack loads in genres into one song. I’m a fan of math rock and the main guitar tapped riff created a treat of interplay between drums, bass and guitar. This collapses at the end of the song into the ‘DeerHoof’ section, (I am a massive fan) and it’s the most silly, funny, explosive part to play.
JH: When I originally described this song to my bandmates I said ‘Imagine the riff we have already is a circle. Well, this other bit is a square and I want it in the top right quarter of the circle’ – I don’t know if they knew what I meant, but it sounds exactly like I imagined it. This marks my debut as a ‘singer’ which at the start I wasn’t so keen on when Laura suggested we should put some vocals in there. But something about the name of the song and how it’s weirdly challenging to say stuck with me and I came up with the vocal hook. Camberley is a town nearby but also rhymes with Manatee and it really is four pounds and fifty pee to get there from Aldershot. The Agincourt (or Ag) is legendary as the only rock club in a 20 mile radius but the music selection hasn’t really changed in 15 years other than adding some dubstep at 1.45 am. Don’t get me wrong, we kind of love it for that too. But it, like my hair, ain’t quite what it used to be.
3. Wallet Moth
JH: Credit where it’s due, this song and its brilliant title was our old drummer Johnny’s (Somersett, now of Moper) final gift to us as the last song we wrote together. We played it at what we thought might have been our last ever show, and it was one of the first songs we bought back when Mark joined Team Gordo. We were super impressed that he was able to take this long, difficult song and really make it his own – he had to come in at the start into this idiosyncratic band and be immediately as good as our old drummer was at his best. That’s a challenge, and he smashed it. Go Mark!
This song itself is a bunch of influences smashed up against each other in rapid succession which is something we rarely do so consciously. This one is explicitly referencing Slint, Fugazi and the 90s Manchester scene in quick succession.
4. Gopher the Throat
LL: Ok, so in this recording I made my little dreams come true. I used the neck pick up on my Telecaster, and had stereo delay on my DL4, with an additional drone created with the Boss Tera Echo with the Fender spring reverb. The stereo delay could be heard bouncing off the walls in the bathroom! A weekend when Mark was away, John and I said ‘okay, let’s get together a write a quiet song’. I had my acoustic, and I even believe John used his acoustic bass and we created a bass melody lead track, and I was playing one chord as just an interplay of dynamics. Doing my MMus qualification, I met James Armstrong who was doing his PHD in spaces and reverb for guitar performers. I said I wanted to explore the space of our local arts centre, the West End Centre in Aldershot, and see if the recording process made a performative impact to the recording in that space, and it did. We then sent this demo over to Mark, who loved it, then did his production magic, and we thought ‘wow’. All recorded in Austria, I was really pleased with this one.
JH: We’ve always been a very grounded band. When we record we use strict live takes, we design songs to work as they would in a live context. When Mark came back with this beautiful, beat enhanced demo we were amazed since it was the opposite of how we’d always operated up until now. It was a great example of ‘wow, this is something that only Mark could do’ and so we ran with it. The version on the record is somewhere between our original recording (internally known as Gopher a Nap) and Mark’s massively banging demo version and includes live drums which serve to ground the song and keep it in our wheelhouse.
5. Cornholio Slaps the Goose
JH: This one is the last of Johnny’s contributions to the writing of Possibility of Not. We actually wrote this song immediately after our second album Ten Metres Per Second Per Second, in fact we played it out on the tour to support that record so it’s been around for quite some time. We play it maybe a smidge slower now because live it would sometimes become a touch incomprehensible (I once defended it by saying “it could be jazz”), but it’s essentially the same lunatic bunch of riffs sellotaped together as it’s always been. I love it. The ‘vocals’ in this song (I prefer to think of them more like tics) are a version of what I tend to do live. It feels a bit weird recording “improvised” vocal bits, but the song sounds naked to me without a bit of vocal enthusiasm so we put them in here and tried to bury them in the mix so it sounds more like how it does on stage.
6. Put Your Hands Up If You Like Sloths
LL: This track allowed me to use every pedal I have. I began writing this track with a TR606 drum machine, and wanted a spooky Warpaint vibe, which I think we got. I recently saw Melt Yourself Down play live too and I wanted this chaotic party feel. In the Austrian recording, the final part was done in one big massive noise improvisation and I got super into it. Loads of delay, DL4, reverb and vibratos with the hypnotic bass and drums – probably the most fun I had in the whole experience.
JH: In early versions of this we’d maybe only play the ending for a minute or two, I think the original demo was maybe three minutes of freakout. But when we recorded it we must have been possessed by woodland spirits or something because we went for a full 10 minutes on the ending alone. I won’t lie to you, some of it was shit. But some judicious editing bought it down to a more manageable level and made it sound even more intense than it was in the room. I love the way it keeps peaking and getting more dissonant. Laura’s guitar here is mind blowing every time, there’s a bit that sounds like a robot dinosaur. I mean, come on, that’s brilliant. Pure pedal control. The insect sounds right at the end were recorded by Mark in the beehives at the back of the studio just as we were about to leave.
‘Possibility of Not’ by Parachute For Gordo is released on 13th March on Rose Coloured Records.
13 Green Door Store, Brighton (with Wild Cat Strike, Post-Heather and Jumanji)
15 Tooting Tram and Social, London (with Kilkovec and Patchwork Natives)
18 West End Centre, Aldershot (with Joe Booley and Vinyl Staircase with artists Slow Clinic, Karina FraserandorChillman, Aimee-Sofia Brown and Ellie Stroppenheimer Harvey)
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