Parlour Flames is the new band from Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthur’s and Manc singer song-writer/poet Vinny Peculiar, and after what started out as an EP the duo decided to take it all the way by putting an album together which is due out early next year.
An interesting pairing that sees the ex-Oasis rhythm man delve into a wide collection of influences, sounds and arrangements backed to the beautiful tones and humorous writing of Peculiar, very interesting proposition indeed.
So LTW hooked up with Vinny and Bonehead to ask how Parlour Flames came about and putting the album together…
LTW: So how did you and Bonehead come together then Vinny?
Vinny: It goes back to an earlier Vinny Peculiar album ‘the fall and rise of Vinny Peculiar from 2006, Mike Joyce was in the band and a friend of Boneheads so we met through him.
Bonehead also played with the Vinny Peculiar band on some European dates in 2007, we always said it would be interesting to work together, and here we are…
LTW: And the name, Parlour Flames, sounds kinda vaudeville, where did that come from?
Bonehead: Well, it was a bit difficult trying to find a name, two or three words that sounded right. So we were thinking for ages and had a list of them but it was Vinny who came up with ‘Parlour Flames’. We got it down on paper and it looked good and sounded good as well, you know so we had it.
Vinny: I liked the idea of the the Parlour as an old school performance space, from a simpler more direct age, the flames in the hearth, the family gathered round, the lava lamps on the piano… like Bonehead said we had a few names but whenever we half liked something it was taken. It’s all worked out OK though, the reaction to the name has been pretty positive, we’re happy with it…
LTW: Where would you both say you meet musically, what are the groups and artist your both into?
Vinny: My favourite groups are XTC, Be Bop Deluxe, Talking Heads, Simon & Garfunkel, Bowie, Joni Mitchell, The Auteurs, the church is broad, – I also love a good hymn and a choir…
Bonehead: I think were both quite varied really in our on tastes but we also share a lot as well I mean, I’ll listen to stuff some people probably never heard of, I listen to classical music as well and when you listen to the album you can hear all these different influences like with the cello’s and piano’s on on there. Our respective influences sit well together, my playing and his lyrics I feel like were onto a winner.
LTW: Sounds like you both work well together, so you find it easy working on each others ideas?
Bonehead: Well, Vinny’s quite a prolific writer really, he’s always coming in saying he’s finished ‘that’ off or ‘I’ve come up with ‘this…Vinny just bought in the song Pop Music, Football & Girls which blew me away, we are just about to record it for the record, it’ll be the last one we do.
Vinny: Yeah, It works real well, Bonehead’s got a whole raft of musical tracks, arrangements and ideas, we deconstruct them, reinvent them. We seem to inspire each other to try different things, we have quite a relaxed methodology,
Bonehead: A lot of the original tracks changed a lot from how we initially put them together to what they are now- and some of those changes have been quite dramatic really. But initially the plan was just to get into the studio, get these tunes down and go from there, we first thought of putting an EP together but then the EP turns into an album and next were thinking ‘we can get a band around this, get it out and tour it’ and that’s what were doing.
LTW: So you took the songs to the studio and and added players like drummer Che Beresford and Ollie on Bass to get that ‘group’ sound, yeah?
Bonehead: Ollie’s not actually played on the album, Che played all the drums on it and the rest we played, Vinny played pianos and I played a bit of keyboard and cello and we both played the guitar parts so its pretty much a team effort between me and Vinny really.Â But the line up itself is all pretty new, we’ve only had a few rehearsals.
Vinny: Yeah Ollie came in at the later stages and has just done a couple of rehearsals with us, we’ve known Che for longer. They are both great players and we’re properly excited about getting out and playing the songs live.
LTW: Where did you record the album?
Bonehead: We recorded most of it at my place and recorded some guitars at a studio in Northwich called @Project9, but the majority was recorded at mine, one room, very much a DIY project really. It’s been something of a learning process too but rewarding all the same.
LTW: Like you say, you both have a wide taste in influences but do you feel maybe, especially from the younger Oasis fans, that there might be an expectancy for you Bonehead to sound something like your old band, that type of style and sound?
Bonehead: Well, I’ve been asked many different questions to be honest because there’s a lot of people who are intrigued to what it will sound like and yeah some people might think its going to sound like early Oasis or some thing alike, and so just to let you all know it wont be, yet I suppose there are elements of it in there about like many of the other influences we’ve talked about. I mean its my style of playing so there’s going to be that element in there.
Vinny: Your guitar tone’s definitely in there and it sounds great
Bonehead: It is, yeah, so like I said there are elements in there that you might pick out. But if people come to the gigs expecting to hear some thing by Oasis there not going to get that so they’ll be let down I suppose – you know I’ll always get stuck with that though at the same time it is something I’ll always appreciate and its something I’m real proud of being part of, though I will say I think its only that which I ever get respect for.
LTW: Songs you’ve written in the past Vinny like ‘Two Fat Lovers’ and ‘Man about the House’ carry plenty of humour don’t they, is it some thing you’ve brought to the songs on the album?
Vinny: Lyrically yeah, a bit of dark humour on some of the songs for sure. There’s a song called ‘I’m in a Band’ which talks about the invincibility of musicians, it’s all about belief beyond rationale, beyond reason, it’s about team work and keeping on keeping on. Sometimes a few delusions are necessary to get things done and maintain a self belief!
There’s also a song called ‘Jump the Brook Ruth’ about a childhood prank that goes wrong, it’s kind of creepy, it’s given our sound engineer Dave Fyfe terrible nightmares.
LTW: And lastly when can we catch you two playing, what touring plans do you have?
Bonehead: We’ve just done our first gig in Brighton which was a thrill. Low key, small venue, it felt good to get it under belts and we move on. We have a couple more shows coming up and are looking to tour the UK in March 2013 and should be announcing dates soon. Our new website goes live very shortly – gigs, sounds and video will be added as soon as.
Catch Parlour Flames at live onÂ Friday 30 November at The Kings Hall Herne Bay, Kent.
Vinny writes a weekly fly on Parlour Flames on his blog.
Interview by Carl Stanley. You can read more from Carl on LTW here.