INTERVIEW: Canyons | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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“We’re unashamedly a pop band. We really try to write hooks and focus on melody. We’re trying to put our own spin on pop music; we’re all about rich textures, fuzziness and reverb. There’s an openness in our music that’s offset against quite insular and often dark lyrics.” Speaking to guitarist and vocalist Jim Parkins, the themes of honesty and sincerity are something which comes up frequently when talking about his band Canyons. If one were to pin a genre on the four-piece, ‘honest pop’ would best suit; there’s a very humble, open quality to Canyons music that makes it impossible for the listener not to form a connection, no matter their musical preference.

Formed in the summer of 2014 and also consisting of Helen Sparrow on bass and vocals, Jonny Sabiston on guitar and Richard Burridge on drums, Canyons are about to release their first official single, Iso, ahead of their Sweet Decay EP, due in October. Described by Parkins as a “big, dark pop song about feeling vacant and lonely, and the strains that can put on people around you”, Iso is actually incredibly uplifting despite its subject matter. Sweetly nostalgic and tinged with delicate Americana, it’s driven by richly layered guitars and lush vocal interplay between Parkins and Sparrow. Though incredibly easy on the ear, Iso bypasses whimsy with its bare bones emotion, allowing the listener to truly identify with Canyons’ musical spirit.

“There’s an openness in our music that’s offset against quite insular and often dark lyrics”

“Identity is a theme that runs through a lot of our music, or a lack of identity rather,” explains Parkins. “The versions of ourselves that we’re portraying in these songs are almost always yearning for a sense of belonging, of fitting into something else; something cultural, romantic, political. We’re all just about the same age, in our early twenties and in that period where you’re trying to define yourself, and I think a lot of the lyrics are about that struggle. I definitely think that there’s less for people to attach themselves to these days. I know that seems like a bit of a pessimistic way to portray things but it’s only really the background. In the forefront is a sort of romanticism: quite a lot of the time the general message in these songs is that no matter how bad or uncertain things are, at least we have each other. I’m just trying to portray my own experiences and to be as honest about them as I can and that’s what I really hope comes across in the lyrics.”

With the North East music scene truly thriving right now, what sets Canyons apart from their contemporaries? “I think it’s just a real honesty and sincerity to our songs,” says Parkins. “We really want to make a connection with whoever listens and give them something to relate to. And that’s not some big bombastic sounding chorus about nothing, we want people to sing along when we play but to be thinking of their less triumphant moments when they do…and finding comfort in the fact that it’s those experiences that make them human.”

Canyons release Iso on Saturday 4th July.


 

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