Buy a Record, Make a Difference is a new series we have created to help local musicians generate income during COVID-19. It is based on the principle that we should support and reward the hard work local artists have already put into recordings, as it is an immensely difficult undertaking to be creating new material under current circumstances. There is currently a lot of emphasis on livestreaming and innovation in our industry, and while those things absolutely have their place, we think it’s also important to boost projects that have already been completed.
In each post, we’ll ask a local artist a series of the same questions, give them the opportunity to talk about recordings they’re proud of, and ask them to talk about other local musicians whose work they admire. It’s our hope that you’ll take the time to listen to & purchase the work of local artists, or at the very least share their work with others.
1. Who are you?
Steph and Lee are married and have a small black cat (the original Parlour Panther) named Waldo, and a new furry member – a sweet little puppy named Bigsby. Steph and Lee write Parlour Panther songs together, collaborating on musical and lyrical ideas. Steph is a true force who records, produces and mixes Parlour Panther’s music; they also design and create the band’s photoshoots and videos.
Steph grew up in Lakefield, Ontario, playing multiple instruments like guitar, bass, drums, banjo and mandolin, to name a few. Steph rocked and sang in various musical projects from a young age and moved to Vancouver twelve years ago. Lee is a pensive soul and vulnerable lyricist, always searching for deeper truths. They grew up mostly in Powell River on the Sunshine Coast and have lived in Vancouver for thirteen years. Lee began singing on stage as a young child and was trained as a classical singer. They developed some serious harmonizing muscles from years in professional choirs. Lee then discovered an ultimate love for synthesizers, bass guitar and rock & roll. Steph and Lee began writing Parlour Panther music six years ago and it has evolved into the dark dreamy pop it is today.
2. Describe your music as best you can.
Parlour Panther is a dark dream pop duo living in Vancouver on Coast Salish land. Steph shreds on the electric guitar, makes sharp and punchy beats, and strikes you with powerful vocals of great depth. Lee swoops in with powerful vocals to match, crisp high harmonies, retro synths and crunchy bass lines. Parlour Panther’s music is a medium for pride, resistance, truth and ultimately, a celebration of their queer love. With influences like Alabama Shakes, Tame Impala, St. Vincent, and The Black Keys, Parlour Panther carves out a rich new sound that is both dark and gritty, and a beautiful dream.
3. What’s your latest recording (or a recording you’d like to promote)? Where can people get it?
Parlour Panther released a couple singles over the last year, “Closer” and “Empty Gesture“, are both available on their Bandcamp. There you will also find Parlour Panther’s first full-length album Hot Magic, which was named by BeatRoute magazine as one of Vancouver’s top 25 local releases of 2018.
The duo was going to release a new full-length album this year and tour it across the country, but due to COVID19, this venture was postponed until hopefully 2021. Meanwhile, the duo wrote a quarantine inspired four track EP that will be released through Coax Records this fall/winter.
There is some excellent music available on Parlour Panther’s Bandcamp, Soundcloud and YouTube channel, and much to look forward to in the next year! Follow them on Instagram or Facebook to avoid missing any new video or single releases!
4. Is there another local musician whose work you’d like to give a shout out to?
Two musicians come to mind. First is Shirley Gnome, a fellow Vancouver-based artist whom we met on tour in B.C. She is a dear friend and a fellow boundary pusher whose music is both high caliber, clever and hilarious! Both Shirley Gnome and Parlour Panther will be participating in the “Best of ArtsWells” night on August 14th at 6pm as a part of the Philadelphia Folk Festival.
Second is Rae Spoon. Parlour Panther discovered this non-binary artist also at ArtsWells and they have inspired both Lee and Steph through their music and books. Rae writes about their non-binary experience, as well as other songs of protest that bring you empowerment, great musicality and hilarity to boot – Rae has excellent stage banter. One of their hits “Do whatever the f**k you want” is an anthem to live by. Rae also runs Coax Records, a non-profit record label that supports marginalized artists, and which recently brought Parlour Panther on board! Thanks Rae!