words by Liz Watts
If you haven't heard yet, LA-based band Former Faces have just released the single "Weekend Mountain Man", from their new EP Swimming In Circles-out June 2nd! Listen to the track on Soundcloud below to get a feel for Former Faces' ambient/atmospheric indie rock vibes. Luckily, we got to pick the brain of front man Ryan Parmenter so read below and get to know him and the band a lil' better!
How did the project come together?
It started with simple beats and bass grooves I created at home. I then asked some friends (William Knott and Michael Henderson) to provide feedback and their guitar skills. Before I knew it, we'd created a sound that seemed worthy of further exploration. I met Brian soon thereafter and we teamed up to write lyrics and develop my voice. After a few months working together we decided to put all of our creative energy behind the project and see how far we could take things. We were extremely fortunate to then have Abe and David come aboard and we began performing earlier this year.
What was it like to transition from playing bass in a more folk- driven band, KG Bird, to fronting an ambient/indie-rock project?
The transition was natural in some respects and foreign in others. I'd been in experimental indie rock bands in the past and had created dozens of ambient instrumental pieces over the years so the vibe came naturally. Finding my voice (lyrically and sonically) has been more of a process but I'm very satisfied with how it's evolving. As for fronting a band, the guys around me are so talented my job on stage is quite easy.
Did all of you come into this project with the same mindset of what sound/vibe you were going for, or did your individual thoughts and ideas collectively turn into the Former Faces sound?
At the project's outset, and for much of this EP, our sound is mostly a reflection of my thoughts and ideas. But since the band came together and we began rehearsing and performing, our sound has definitely taken on a more lush and organic feel. You experience some of that on Swimming in Circles but will really get a taste of it on future releases.
You guys released your first song just last October and have your debut EP coming out this summer. What kind of feedback have you all received since then?
The feedback has been very positive! It can be quite difficult to feel like your making a significant contribution to the musical landscape in a city chalk full of talented songwriters, musicians, and producers, but we've already managed to garner the respect of local tastemakers and avid show-goers. And, equally importantly, we've gotten a great response from people who've just happened to stumble upon our music.
Are there any feelings of nervousness or doubt as the band approaches the release of the EP, or is there more of an excited feeling to finally be able to get your project out there for people to hear?
It's a mixed bag. I vacillate between nervousness and excitement every time we share a new song but it gets easier with each release. As for doubt, I have none. I really believe in this project and its future!
Have you been able to use your experience from past projects to get things rolling for Former Faces? Has there been any advice or inspiration you have received that played a role in your success so far?
Absolutely. From past projects I've learned the value of collaboration, of trusting those you work with, and of acknowledging your own strengths and weaknesses as a musician and a leader. I am also now well aware that longevity and strategy are key components to success.
As your first complete artistic statement as Former Faces, what will the EP Swimming in Circles say about the band? What can listeners expect to feel from your music?
I hope the EP expresses that we strive to make meaningful and thoughtful music for listeners looking to be taken on a unique and reflective journey.