EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Partials

Looking for a musical experience like no other? CelebMix has the band for you. Drawing inspiration from the ends of the earth, Partials are changing the game with every track they release. With new vibes every time that’ll get you on your feet, they are truly unforgettable.

CelebMix chatted with Partials about their beginnings, inspiration, and their debut EP, Glossolalia!

How would you describe your musical sound in three words?

Words, words, hook.

How did you all meet and choose the name “Partials”?

We all met each other at different points in our musical journeys. Some of us in college, others in high school and middle school. Partials are like atoms of sound — tiny vibrations that make up everything from synth warbles to guitar scratches.  We chose our name because we like its simplicity and the way it hints at all things hearable.

Were there any other group names that came close to being picked?

We tried out a couple names before we settled on Partials. One of them was a line from Finnegan’s Wake, but it was too hard to yell to people in a noisy club when you’re wiped from playing a set and they’ve been drinking all night.

If you each could be in any musical group for a day, past or present, which group would you be a part of and why?

Thomas – That’s a hard question! If I had to pick, probably Tune-Yards. They’re genuine and joyous without shying away from difficult questions. In a secular age the theatre becomes the temple, and they fill that role with the right blend of reverence and irreverence. Plus, their music draws from the well of the African diaspora which I love deeply. I think I’d learn a lot working with them, and would hopefully be able to contribute something in return.
Ian – Deerhoof! Mostly because of their personality. Their music can be intense. Rhythmically driving and meaningful (or entirely devoid of meaning). But their live shows are goofy, improvisational, and downright fun to watch. They interact like they really like each other. I’d love to run electronics, and/or fill in on sax whenever a tune calls for it, which is fairly often on their latest album.
Busch –  I would love to play drums in the Grateful Dead because I love the Grateful Dead and they seem to have had a great deal of fun.
Jeff – Miles Davis.
Adriana – This is a tough toss up between the Funk Brothers (the guys who play the background music for all the motown hits), Fela Kuti and Queen. I’d choose the Funk brothers because, having covered many of these songs for fun, I know the arrangements and would probably have more fun playing for stars that made these hits famous. At the same time, I’d learn so much about the interesting sociological breakdown of the music industry within that time. Same for Fela. If I had the opportunity to participate in the dawn of modern funk and Afrobeat, I would do so in a heartbeat. And Queen… amazing energy, chemistry, vocals, arrangements… Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
Dane – Radiohead.

Where do you find you find the most inspiration for new music from?

We like to ask ourselves, “What’s next for music?” But not in the sense of trying to predict it. We’re trying to figure out what would be interesting and fun and meaningful but hasn’t been done yet. Many of us are into the idea of combinatorial creativity. Everything’s a remix. Sometimes it’s a remix that combines different musical ideas (e.g., the way Talking Heads “remixed” Fela Kuti for Remain In Light). And sometimes it’s a remix from more distant fields (e.g., the way Schönberg remixed mathematics and Western harmony). Starting from that point, we can ask ourselves “What things haven’t been combined? Or what things have been combined that we could do better?”

Are there any artists or groups whose musical style or sound has influenced or inspired your own?

We often give a shout out to LCD Soundsystem and Talking Heads, but there are other bands that we really enjoy. Radiohead and Tame Impala do great work. In every case, we try to seek what they sought, rather than just copying them directly.

What was the most challenging part of putting together your debut EP, Glossolalia?

The most challenging part has been following through on the entire release process. It requires such attention to detail, and there’s so much work to be done. Even once the music is completely finished, there’s vinyl pressing, legal stuff, etc. Pair that with the fact that we’re not resting on our laurels — we’re going back into the studio in May to record our next EP. Juggling all that is tough. But we’re fortunate to be working with the amazing team at True Blue. It’d be even more challenging without their help.

The album art for Glossolalia  features some very intricate artwork – what was the inspiration behind having it represent the EP?

The album art uses an artificial intelligence technique called style transfer. You feed two images into the algorithm, and it outputs a new image. We made the art for Glossolalia by combining a Tibetan mandala with a very cool piece by Bruno Borges. The EP deals with questions of humanity, machinery, and identity, and the art itself is essentially a collaboration between human and computer.

What is a milestone you’d like to reach as a group?

We’re aiming to have the whole band working remotely in the next few years. That means being able to earn a paycheck anywhere you have an Internet connection, which gives us the chance to travel the world while continuing to pay the bills and make art. We expect to have about half of our members on that train by the end of 2018. It’ll be great to say, “Hey, why don’t we just go write a bunch of songs in Kyoto next month?”

Is there anything you’d like to say to your supporters?

Yes! We really appreciate you taking the time to support us. Music exists by passing between performer and listener, and without you we literally couldn’t do what we do.

You can keep up with Partials on Spotify, BandCamp, and Facebook.

Are you liking Glossolalia? Let us know by tweeting us at @CelebMix!

Written by Kath Jiang

Western University grad, music lover, and pizza enthusiast from Toronto.

Email: katherine.jiang@live.ca
(Please CC hello@CelebMix.com on all inquiries!)