XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Colin: We’re touring North America in a couple of weeks with Swedish prog kings Evergrey and our fellow Texans in Shattered Sun. Our first full is length nearly done and we’re planning to release it this fall.
XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?
Colin: We released our debut EP last September so we’re coming up on our first birthday as a band.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Colin: Ashleigh and I have a long history both together and apart in music. TULIP made sense specifically because of her opera background – she has an incredibly powerful and clear voice which is well suited for belting over heavy guitars and bone-crushing drums.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Colin: I love creating new music, recording, and production. Ashleigh is more of a live performance animal.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
Colin: Not yet, but we hope to have a bunch soon!
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Colin: Because I usually share the MIDI (digital notation) arrangements of our songs for the guitar players in our audience, occasionally people will ask that we release our music as an 8-bit video game soundtrack. Maybe for the full length, we will.
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
Colin: Haha, that’s a complicated question. My parents have certainly been supportive of my musical aspirations over the course of my life. Ashleigh’s parents don’t speak to her, so likely not.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Colin: My personal favorite is Irresistible because it’s so bouncy and melodic. Ash likes Limited because of the drama.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Colin: Ashleigh grew up going to see a lot of broadway shows, so she caught the performer bug early in life from shows like Ragtime and Bye Bye Birdie. She is really into great vocalists, so she’s always referencing jazz legends like Nina Simone and Billie Holiday, but also plays a lot of Springsteen and Steely Dan around the house.
As a teenager, I gravitated towards improvisational guitar players like John Frusciante from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. When I discovered metal, it was all the Scandinavian melodic death metal stuff – like In Flames, Children of Bodom, Scar Symmetry and Soilwork. These days I like listening to what’s current mostly for its production value since I do a lot of recording and mixing. After The Burial, Devin Townsend, Meshuggah and Gojira come to mind as some of my current favorites.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Colin: Probably just Devin Townsend, but we also really like what Baroness is up to these days. Their latest record is very cool.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Colin: Well, much of our EP was recorded while I was living in an industrial unit. There was a lot going on in our life at the time but it was important that we finished the album in spite of it and we did.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Colin: I work as a consultant engineer today. Our music will always be a passion project. Ashleigh would make an amazing music supervisor for a television show or a movie, cause her musical brain is like an encyclopedia, having studied and performed in classical music for years, and also loving to watch Ken Burns Jazz in its entirety once a year. It’s like 20 hours.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Colin: Oh, this one will take a while. Probably the most important note on this would be that I play 6 string baritone guitars that are tuned to B-standard with the lowest string drop-tuned incrementally right down to F# depending on the song. I play a Les Paul style baritone which was especially tricky to find but I prefer the Les Paul neck shape and body to the other more common long scale metal guitars.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Colin: I think music today is the same as it was at any other point in history – there is a good and bad in every genre – there just happens to be more of both because of the internet. The internet makes it a lot easier to create music and get it out there, but it also means that there is more noise so it’s harder to get your music in front of the right audience. The metal community is special though in the sense that there is a strong appreciation for musicianship and live performance. If you write good music and play it well live, the metal community will find you.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Colin: Probably that we have 4 kids.
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Colin: Groovy symphonic metal with soaring female vocals.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Colin: Just to look for our full length this fall. If you liked the EP, you’ll love the LP. It’s heavier, bigger and more interesting without giving up any of our pop sensibility.
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with XS Rock!
Colin: Thank you for taking the time to ask us about our art!
Colin Parrish – Guitar
Ashleigh Semkiw – vocalist