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Over the course of seven years, Amsterdam’s home grown brand, DGTL, has continued to push boundaries through music, art and sustainability. With ambitious goals they aim to be the first circular and climate neutral event by 2020. Taking their concept globally, DGTL has expanded around the world, and has remained one of the most forward-thinking festivals in terms of its musical selections. Their mix of well-known and fresh names attract a solid audience of music lovers, but it also educates them.
Cover photo by Lily Rault
There are a few debuts that shouldn’t be missed this year, such as the live performance of Parallells, two brothers, who have quickly grown in the dance music scene in recent years. Coming from a musical family they started learning music at a very young age and have worked around the clock in every aspect of the music business. They run their own successful label, Klassified, they have hosted their own festival, they promote events around the world and have a vast touring schedule. On top of that they are working on their debut album which is set to be released later this year. I recently caught up with Julien and Thomas from their home in France to talk about their upcoming debut at DGTL. Be sure to catch them at the Filter stage on April 20th!
Electronic Groove: Hi, guys, nice to see you. I know you have been very busy, what are you currently working on?
Parallells: Hello! Too many things! We have the album release of ‘Mâhfoud’ on Klassified, which means we are handling all the promo for it. We are also currently working on our first album, which is different music than the live act for DGTL, and many other projects. During the day it’s office work and during the night we work on projects. When one of us is sleeping the other one is working so we manage to get a lot done.
EG: Can you tell us a bit about the album?
Parallells: The album will be called ‘A Day At’, the idea 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. In that sense, it is completely organic.
EG: Where did you collect all your sound bites?
Parallells: We have visited various places such as a dentist’s office, a green house, ski station, a kitchen, among many other places.
EG: What’s the concept for the album? It is more something you’d listen to at home or more for the dance floor?
Parallells: Depending on the energy of the location where we collected the sound, the song can be up or down tempo, for example in the greenhouse it is more a chilled track surrounded by nature, on the other hand, the dentist track its more upbeat just like you heart rate! We hope to have it ready by the end of the year.
“The album will be called ‘A Day At’, the idea is to spend a day recording sounds of unusual places or jobs and to translate the setting/scene and its components into music”
EG: What’s your plan for DGTL?
Parallells: For DGTL we have made a completely new live set, almost like a concert with the sax, piano, guitar, singing and more. It will be 70% new music and some tracks that have been released on labels like Bar 25 and our own Klassified label, but even those will be new version.
EG: For those technically inclined, what will be your live set up?
Parallells: We will be using a Nordstage 2 keyboard, an Ableton push 2, an Akai APC 40, two Novation Launch Control XL, an Electric jazz Guitar Ibanez, a Saxophone alto, an Audio interface RME UC, an Allen & Heath One 92 mixer and several pedal effects.
EG: Impressive! So you play the saxophone too? When did you learn to play all these instruments?
Parallells: We started playing music when we were six. Our dad is a steel drum player so he encouraged us to learn instruments and put us into classes after school. We started with classical but quickly realized we were made for jazz. On top of that our French grandma who sings all the time, taught us the French Variété.
EG: When did you start making music together and why the name Parallells?
Julien (Parallells): Once we moved to the Netherlands in 2011 we started making our own music. Thomas was more into producing and I was more into DJing. Then we combined our skills together and then we started Parallells in 2014. The name comes from the fact that we are two brothers living parallel lives with the same destination.
“For DGTL we have made a completely new live set, almost like a concert with the sax, piano, guitar, singing and more”
EG: Have you been to DGTL before?
Julien (Parallells): Almost every year! It was actually one of the first electronic festivals I’ve ever been to. This event was a big inspiration for me to push further into this type of music. The after movies were always the most inspirational one. The way it is so sustainable, in ways we would have never imagined of before.
We started to get to know part of team at Whoosah Beachclub back in 2010. The team is also passionate, they work day and night to make their events happen. It is really a dream come true to be able to play at DGTL.
EG: What are your plans after DGTL?
Parallells: We will play at Afrikaburn and then spend the whole month of May in South Africa. We will be shooting a documentary about the relationship between music, animals and people.
EG: Wow that sounds amazing. Good luck with all the projects and see you at DGTL!
Parallells: See you, guys!