Ryan Parmenter is a Silverlake-based multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who enlisted the help of David Lee (guitar), Brian Blake (bass), and Abraham Kim (drums) to shape his live act, which aims to bring a complete audiovisual performance to the stage. Together these artists are the band Former Faces and they will be releasing their EP "Swimming In Circles" very soon. We connected with Ryan to discuss the EP, the significance of the name "Former Faces", their typical live performance and much more.
After reading this exclusive Q&A with Ryan Parmenter, be sure to follow Former Faces on social media and listen to the band's new single "Weekend Mountain Man" below. Last but never least, stay tuned because we'll be publishing our review of "Swimming In Circles" early next week.
Tell us about the name "Former Faces"; where did it originate and what is its significance?
The name echoes a phrase I came across while reading Borges' The Draped Mirrors. It signifies the distortion inherent in any effort to recapture the past.
In three words, how would you describe the music that you create?
Describe a typical Former Faces stage performance. What techniques and effects do you incorporate to take the audience's experience to the next level?
Despite the serious and oft times melancholy tone of our songs, we have a really fun time performing! We're a new band and have only played a handful of shows so our stage performance is still evolving but I've prepared hours of hypnotic visuals (similar in style to our music videos) that we are excited to incorporate into our live show in the near future. In the meantime we rely on our chemistry, musicianship, and slinky dance moves :)
If your music was designated to be the soundtrack to any movie, which movie would you select?
"The movie adaptation of the sequel to your life." (Couldn't help it, thanks Malkmus!)
What are you most proud of with your upcoming EP "Swimming In Circles"? Have you had the opportunity to perform any songs from the EP for audiences yet?
I'm most proud of the song 'Back Up a Minute' and to have completed something that required so much sustained focus and effort. We've played all the songs on the EP (as well as several others) for audiences and I'm happy to report that the response has been extremely positive!
Describe your songwriting process. Do you need to be in a quiet and serene location to write or does a lot of ambient noise get your creative juices flowing?
My process varies from song to song - some begin with a drum beat and bass line recorded at home, others with a melody hummed at the beach or in the woods. Rarely do I have a complete vision for a song before I start it. The process and song inevitably and unpredictably evolve together. I try to nurture creative moments into meaningful ideas whenever or wherever they're born.
How does the "Swimming In Circles" EP differ from your earlier work? And what message do you aim to convey to the listener with the EP's five songs?
The difference is that I'm singing! This is my first foray as a lead singer and primary songwriter, so while I've been making music for years, this project is uniquely rewarding. I wouldn't say we are aiming to convey a particular message so much as hoping to provide a soundtrack that elicits reflection. The songs on Swimming in Circles are very personal but purposely open to interpretation.