Quiet Parade shows intimate side

Hailed for his “bleeding heart pop songs,” Trevor Murphy is able to carve out a certain “easiness,” if you can call it that, with his band Quiet Parade.

Murphy also serves as a member of rock n’ roll combo Sleepless Nights, so while he is no stranger to the world of indie rock, Quiet Parade affords him the opportunity to be master of his musical domain.

In listening to the newest record from Murphy and Quiet Parade entitled Please Come Home (We Hate It Here Without You), the listener is bound to quickly notice the intimate, stripped down nature of many of the record’s tracks. A big part of the subdued recording, which shows influence of notable singer-songwriters including Hayden, Nick Drake and Elliot Smith, came thanks to the location where the record was made – a cabin in the country in Yarmouth County, N.S.

“Dan (Ledwell, the record’s producer) and I were stuck out in the middle of the woods with no transportation and only five days to make an album so we were kind of thrown into a setting that dictated how quickly we had to work,” Murphy begins.

He admits that previous Quiet Parade efforts were largely made at leisure so being given a limited amount of time in which to work was a new but not a necessarily unwelcome change.

“I never felt rushed in the recording process. Dan and I had a nice leisurely pace that usually involved us getting up around 9 a.m., cooking breakfast, and then starting to work on a song. It was the middle of the summer in rural Yarmouth and we were right on a lake, so needless to say we took some swimming breaks. Feeling very at ease during the whole process made the album sound a lot more natural and subdued, which is what I was aiming for.

“I ultimately wanted to make a Quiet Parade record that was quiet, something that reflected both what I do when I perform solo and with a band. Prior to this album, Quiet Parade had been more of a louder pop-rock band and with this record, I wanted to take things down a notch to be more reflective of who I am as a songwriter.”

Murphy says Ledwell, of In-Flight Safety fame, had no shortage of unique ideas when it came to the making of the newest Quiet Parade effort.

“Dan has a great knack for coaching,” Murphy shares. “Before we recorded each song, we would sit down and just play them together in the kitchen of this cabin and he would give me notes. Plus, he has an incredible ear for harmonies so he coached me through a lot of that. I had never worked with a producer before, so the process seemed daunting at first, but the second we started working on music, he put me at ease.

“He’s just so damn nice and so good at what he does. He really believed in getting organic sounds and using unorthodox methods whether that meant banging on a wood stove for percussion, using a Strongbow can filled with dirt as a shaker, or playing a terrible guitar I found at my parents’ house really loud to get a particular tone. We ended up really meshing when it came to the tonal vision of each song.”

Murphy says that when he had the idea to form Quiet Parade, he has intended the group to be a pop group first and foremost which in turn inadvertently pushed the reflective material he was writing to the backburner.

When assembling material for Please Come Home… however, a lot of the songs he had pushed away over the course of the past few years were given new life.

“The song Bury My Bones was written approximately six years ago while the final song on the record, An Island, is approximately two years old,” Murphy says. “When I had decided that I wanted to take a different route for this album, I dug up a lot of the older stuff and sifted through my back catalogue to find some old favourites.”

Article published in June 24, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript