'Running Alongside the Free Association of Ideas'
You know those bands you hear about, that hit the town as a whisper, then leave amidst the roar of thunderous applause? Those cats that make you say, ‘Hey, I remember back in the day when I used to see them play at (insert 150 person venue here) and they were cool”, but the next time they come around it’s like $50 a ticket to see them and the guest list is already taken at (insert BIG MAMA venue here)? Yeah, this is one of those bands. So listen NOW, and pay attention, because this is the first time you will hear them but definitely not the last.
Electronics, rock, ephemera, and mood make New Jersey’s The 303s an ingenious meld of power and fragility. Ingrid Dahl and Parixit Davé learned most of their musical savvy together, unknowingly creating their own reverb-eclectic pop sound that resonates with intense attention to detail. The 303s music overflows with loud yet sweet aural
dialogues that showcase Ingrid and Parixit's shared attractions to anxiety, love, experimentation, and letdown amidst all of their jarring guitars, complex rhythms, shoegazy fuzz, and synthesizer harmonics.
Both partners in The 303s grew up as most musicians do; surrounded by music moments full of color, these little moments that would carry them to be the band they are now. One was in a straightedge punk band at 16, Parixit Dave’, and would use this as a way to divest himself of the angst and expression within. Ingrid Dahl on the other hand, started a band at 18, using it as her outlet for her own frustration with the lack of women in rock n’ roll.
This brilliant duo met while at Rutgers, and have been intertwined, musically, ever since. Sharing the same ideals and being of the same rebellious cloth, they knew that this was where and with whom, they were supposed to be. Don’t confuse this for a love mingling, this is a passion connect. Not of the between the sheets kind, the kind that inspires lyrics and guitar riffs.
"Lines of Parallel Minds", the beautifully produced (by Stephen Hindman of Lismore) debut album, creates something new; a fluid balance between lo-fi and majestic, between careful and random, between indifference and sincerity. They have both participated in the journey that is the best of parallel like-minded minds.
Chatting recently with both Ingrid and Parixit, and acknowledging that their powerful beat-ridden, reverb-eclectic pop sound was surely welcome in this bland musical day and age, I first wondered where it had all begun for them as a band? Ingrid - "Well, it began differently for both of us. I remember being introduced to Parixit at a Denali show at Rutgers University by Vasil (our original third band member) back in Fall 2002, and he suggested that we start a band together. I had been in two New Brunswick bands prior (World Without Maps, Tinderglass) and at the time was not working on music. I remember that fall being pretty rough, and for a while I ignored phone calls from Parixit until they stopped coming. One day it just dawned on me that I needed to give that endeavor a try, so I got hold of his number, called him up, and shortly after, we began meeting up in Vasil’s studio creating what is now The 303s. I remember we all were pretty baffled at how powerful things were right from the beginning, and how we quickly became a family; eating together, consoling one another, and committing to our creative outlet. Each person had something unique to bring to the table: Vasil his electronic beats and love of ride, Parixit’s drum skills and love of the cure, my vocals and riot grrrl love. Early on, Parixit and I started learning guitar together and that’s how we currently play live."
Parixit - "It started with just that, the feeling that music was becoming bland, everything was just taken the piss out of. I wanted to start something that would incorporate electronics with the warmth of britpop/shoegaze. Meeting Ingrid at Rutgers and listening to her sing provided the warmth needed for the cold, sterile electronic sounds that were in my head."
What has been the most challenging aspect of maintaining The 303s and ensuring a wider audience of listeners? Parixit - "Finding members who share the same passion as Ingrid and I towards this band. That seems to be the most difficult task right now."
Ingrid "Haha. The most challenging aspect of maintaining The 303s is most certainly two main things: first, keeping committed band mates (we have gone through several, many of which we loved but who moved on to get married, pursue other endeavors, one got engaged, and a third left to pursue a relationship and beauty school) and second, not killing each other! I think a wide range of listeners will feel the honest emotion and the rage in the songs, which we all can relate to. Sometimes when I listen to the songs they speak to me in a new way and leave me feeling empowered."
Your album title 'Lines Of Parallel Minds' is an interesting choice for sure, but what does it mean to you personally? Parixit - "An album title that captures the heart and soul of two individuals who make music together."
Ingrid - "'Lines of Parallel Minds' came from the musical connection that Parixit and I have, as well as the connections we’ve had with all our contributing members, in particular, Stephen Hindman. It’s as though we were all on the same plane, drawing dotted lines that kept us creatively at bay. I think it also refers to the agony of parallel minds, like what twins experience before they reach maturity."
Talking of explaining things, for those that don't know where does your band name The 303s originate? Parixit - "The tb-303 was a synth/sequencer made by Roland in the early 80s. At that time I was heavily influenced by the warp records catalog. Just hearing the 303s go crazy on LFO and Aphex Twin records sent shivers down my spine. Vasil who was in the original 303s line up had a tb-303, tr-606 and tr-909. We would meet up every weekend hook up distortion pedals to the two tb-303s, set up the tr-606/tr-909 and pretend we were in a big old factory with 500 kids tripping on acid dancing along."
Ingrid - "The 303s band name originates from a few places. Its funny, the tb-303 we played at our first show died! When we were figuring out whether we should just keep the name or not, we pretended to get serious about it, jostling ideas like “JFK was shot with a 303 caliber bullet.” But really, it just made us kind of laugh because we are very silly people behind very sincere music. Don’t let that deceive you …!"
If there was one track on this new album that truly encapsulated The 303s at their musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? Parixit "'Jade.' The way Ingrid sings with sincerity and hope can simply reduce me to tears."
Ingrid - "Only one? Can I pick five? I am very proud of the record, but man, I think they take turns as if set on random; dependant on the day, the mood, occurrence, experience, even the weather. Right now I really enjoy and think “I Win” and “Voyeuristic Fits,” encapsulated our music but yesterday it was “Waves & Generation” when I heard it play at a café, and the day before that it was “Treaties” and “Red Line.” When I prance around in my room in my undies, I blast “Beyond the Lines.” Lyrically speaking though, I’d suggest listening to “Jade” too – Parixit and I wrote that when we felt very alone after our 1st band mate took their leave."
Parixit, Please tell us more about your days in that straightedge punk band at the age of 16 "Being a straightedge punk rock band gave me a sense of belonging, which is what every 16 year old is looking for. I was slightly out of step at 16. The idea of getting drunk, being incoherent and obnoxious was not my top priority. Straightedge made me feel I wasn’t alone there was group of like-minded individuals that didn’t believe in drinking, smoking and just fucking. I met some of the most compassionate, honest, positive group of friends whom with I shared amazing experiences with that I will truly never forget."
Ingrid, Please tell us why you had such an angst with the lack of women in rock that you started your own band at age 18! "I was really saddened when I realized at fourteen that none of the music I gravitated towards had any dominant female role models or members in them. I began challenging the messages that rubbed off from such a realization. Can women rock out? Do they? Do they play music that speaks to me? Where are they? And so I began collecting 7 inches of all the underground girl bands I could find at the time (Copper, Discount) and creating an alternative universe at my stereo where women really rocked out. Mind you, I had no idea that Riot Grrrl was going on at the time. The music scene in central jersey was very much focused on local bands that came through New Brunswick, so I missed out on that National movement (until I began working on the Rock n’ Roll Camps for Girls). When I was 17/18, I decided that there was one thing left for me to do and make that universe I created fit me into it, and into the reality of a male dominating field. So I began writing songs with my then best skateboarding bud B.K. and created the band Imagine Being. At first it was very intimidating, and many of the local guy bands gave me a hard time. I often felt silenced or that because I wasn’t screaming into the mic I was less passionate or less empowered. And for a while I believed it; that singing pretty was next to killing someone. And how the hell could I resist that? (That was a small joke). Imagine Being stopped when B.K. got recruited for a boy band and I felt like I had just lost a long battle. At the time, I would have LOVED to play with other female musicians, but from my point of view, there weren’t any and all the girls in high-school seemed to dislike that I did “boy sports” and hung out with “boys.” I often darted threats of having my ass kicked because of it….but if they only knew it helped to make more space for them …"
Being that this debut album has been awaiting its birth for a while now, how easy was it to narrow the chosen 12 tracks down ... Ingrid - "Parixit and I plowed through the remaining six songs on the album after our label gave us a pretty strict deadline to finish the record after we had our 2nd band mate take flight and reverted to our original duo. Which was great, and produced some very interesting tracks. We used most of everything we had and incorporated a lot of material into pre-existing songs. As we went, we’d listen to a song for a while, hear additional parts, go back and record them, and that was how we completed the record. The pressure was pretty intense, and even when we weren’t getting along we had to write, so a few songs are actually Parixit and I communicating with one another through the music. We were dealing with loss, confusion, and emotional turmoil; thank god we are so stubborn and determined because it pulled us through and pushed a lot of expression into our record."
Parixit - "It was getting to be pretty stressful the final days of recording. Our label had given us a deadline to finish the album by. I just remember thinking “fuck we only have 6 songs done”. We didn’t have the luxury to pick 6 more songs out of a list. This was also a blessing in disguise because we were able to go back and hear songs that we worked on 2 or 3 years ago. Hearing those tracks just got the creative juices flowing and we started plowing through songs. I believe this is how I Win came into existence. Such a beautiful song that might have been completely forgotten, if it wasn’t for the situation we were in."
... and what happens to all those that didn't make the final cut? Parixit - "Oh they’re in our hearts and heads. Maybe they’ll be given a new chance on life."
Ingrid - "Songs that don’t make the final cut mostly get. But we work to use as much as we can of pre-existing material and that’s captured on the tracks. They definitely offer inspiration and a vault of fond memories when they are replayed!"
For fun, and taking the titles of some of your new album tracks, please answer these questions as freely as possible:
'Red Line' - If you had to paint your bedroom in just the one color, what would it be ... and why?! Parixit - "Any gentle form of green. According to the ancient Vedic color symbolism; green represents eternity, family, harmony, health, peace, and posterity."
Ingrid - "If I had to paint my bedroom color any color it would be olive green. Something about that is so calming & hot. Hey Parixit I didn’t know you liked the same color! High five!"
'AirTravel' - Are you a good flyer and if not what helps you get through the flight?! Ingrid - "I fly often and I fly well. Both Parixit and I have traveled a lot while making the record. He has gone to Madagascar, India, New Orleans, and many others. I’ve gone to Taiwan, Japan, Germany, Mexico, San Francisco (I was dating someone long distance for awhile), Canada, and several cities in the U.S."
Parixit - "Oh God, horrible flyer! I always get the feeling I am going to plummet to a painful death!"
'I Win' - When you play board games and such, are you the one that has to win?! Parixit - "Winning isn’t everything…it’s the only thing!"
Ingrid - "Yes, I like winning, but I like laughing more and seeing friends kick ass at board games! Would you believe that I love monopoly and have played a star trek and horse lover version? Man, I am a dork!"
Who did all the artwork for your new CD and such? Ingrid - "For a long stretch of time I frequented the Chelsea Flea Market in NYC almost every weekend. Which was awesome, because I was able to obtain some great stuff there like my Fender Rhodes and an old folding bike, but I always noticed this table that had these rather over-priced pages, gorgeous vintage designs of constellations and orbits from an old science book. The images always stood out to me. When we were coming up with ideas for the album cover, I knew exactly what to get, and was very thankful that they were still at that same table! Nick Keifer of Killer Designs Group incorporated the constellation designs onto our album art and Stephen Hindman of Cult Hero Records put some finishing touches on it. The original pages of the constellations are now framed in my apartment."
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! Parixit - "The Smiths – “The Boy With A Thorn In His Side”. Aren't we all boys with thorns in our sides?"
Ingrid - "I would love to cover “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper and make two separate music videos for it: One where I get to make out with a bunch of girls, hang out with Shane from the L word, and just laugh a bunch high-fiving ladies. A more serious music video would juxtapose how girls really do want to have fun and live their lives freely, but we live in a world that often abuses and mistreats women via disrespect, sexual violence, and belittling their intelligence and capability. Perhaps this is more of an art piece I should do this year …"
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! - Parixit - "Penguins have the coldest feet in the animal kingdom; it's no surprise that under their elegant tux beats the warmest heart of all. That alone makes them wonderful in my book."
Ingrid - "Penguins are awesome because they are always dressed for the occasion. If you ever see us live, you’ll see what I mean. And their babies couldn’t be freakin’ cuter…Can you imagine having a pet penguin? My roommates had a pet turtle that roamed freely around the house. His name was vertigo. He would always eat the cat food. I bet a pet penguin would do the same thing!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of The 303s' brand new CD, just answer this easy question: Please name the other band that Ingrid plays bass?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before May 15th with your answer and the subject title 'THE 303s SIGNED CDs' to: email@example.com
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