' makeup is a simple one: Two artists forming one streamlined band, lean but efficient. The Canadian synth-pop duo is comprised of Holly Dodson and Cameron Findley. Dodson is the vocalist, Findley the drummer. Both compose. Both produce. But each one is responsible for their respective parts.
The band was originally Findley's brainchild, born of a love for electronic music and a desire to compose his own tracks. "I've actually been into electronic music for a while now," says Findley. "I went to school for about a year and a half in Toronto taking electro-acoustics, which was sort of an electronic music production course."
"I was sort of always into it, since I was 17 or 18," he recalls. "So I've had these demos sort of built up since then. And then me and Holly got together and I showed her some of the stuff that I'd recorded."
Which isn't to say Findley was merely an inexperienced bedroom producer when he and Dodson first linked up via email. He put in some time on the road with a band well known to many Crossfade readers -- Crystal Castles.
"I was just back from Toronto and they asked me to play drums," he recalls, then quantifies, "before they really got really big."
Comparing the two experiences, he goes on, "It's totally different on almost every level. Their music and ours, I don't think, are very similar. Now it's just a lot more fulfilling working in a band where I've added some creative contribution."
Indeed, Findley's creative contributions to Parallels aren't just the backbone for their synth-pop sound. It's the wellspring of the band's origin. From those first early demos, Parallels was created, when Findley sent Dodson some tracks to lay lyrics over.
"We got together after I'd done quite a few of the recordings on my own. I just sent her off some tracks to record over and that's how it happened," he recalls. "Initially they were just intended to be instrumental tracks. We had both been working on our own separately up until that point."
"The first track, 'Ultralight,' was just recorded with a vocoder on top of it," he explains, "sort of illustrating what I wanted the vocal parts to be, and just a rough sketch of what I thought the track should've sounded like."
And that's been the formula for their workflow ever since.
"When we work together, it's just kind of a back and forth. I do one part, and she does another. And we go mix all the tracks and oversee them together."
That workflow seems to work well for them. Thus far, since the band's inception only three short years ago, they've managed to produce a pair of EPs in 2009's Ultralight and this year's Salome, as well as a their 2010 full-length, Visionaries, which rereleased in the U.S. in an extended version with bonus content.
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Though Findley does reveal that Visionaries brought the duo face to face for the process. "Most of the time was spent in the studio, me and her, mixing and going over the tracks and polishing them up a bit."
"It was a good process," he goes on. "Because up until that point we hadn't really sat down together to work on anything. So that process was interesting. We got to go produce our own record, and work in the studio. And it was something we'd always been looking forward to."
Parallels with a DJ set by Mike Simonetti of Italians Do It Better. Saturday, May 21. The Vagabond, 30 NE 14th St., Miami. The show starts at 10 p.m. and tickets cost $10 via wantickets.com/vagabond. Call 305-379-0508 or visit thevagabondmiami.com.