A Conversation with Troubadour Parade

I recently got to talk with Dustin Lau of Troubadour Parade about their debut EP, eating food whilst abroad, and some future plans for the band.  Read on…


EJ: You’ve recorded music under your own name with more of a singer-songwriter feel to it.  What inspired the change in name and style?

DL: I’ve always liked the idea of music being a more collaborative effort. More of a shared experience.  So when the opportunity opened to make a record, I invited friends that I was playing with already in other projects to be a part of the songs I was writing at the time.  Since it would feel more of like a band making music together, I didn’t want to just have my name on it. So we decided on Troubadour Parade.

The change in style was really just because on this one we had a band making the song together, and I had been exploring new sound possibilities in programming and sampling. As well as digging deeper into synths.

EJ: What is the meaning behind your name?

DL: I read somewhere that the Troubadours were a group of singers, musicians, actors and artists in the dark ages that would go from village to village telling stories and inspiring hope. Often creating a context for who the king was.  I loved that idea but also liked the word “parade” at the time for a band name. On a trip up the CA coast, our bass player Billy wrote the words “Troubadour Parade” next to each other and it stuck.

EJ: Who are your biggest musical inspirations?

DL: So many, for so many different reasons. Haha.  Off the top of my head, I’m a huge fan of Jon Foreman for his ability to poetically craft a story in a song with strong melodies. And the songs will always make you dig deep.  Sleeping At Last for songwriting and melodies as well. Radiohead will always stretch my musical imagination. I love every record of theirs.  ‘Indie’ bands like Local Natives, Delta Spirit, Bon Iver, Death Cab For Cutie, The National.  Been into Beck too recently. So many bands.

EJ: Please tell us about your Kickstarter experience.  What did you like and dislike about it?

DL: I still can’t believe we raised 10k in 30 days.  The experience was really good. We were nervous for about a week and a half because we had only had like 5 backers then.  Kickstarter is a really great platform. Not much I didn’t like about it. They help a lot of folks achieve their dreams, and I’m stoked we went with them.

EJ: Would you consider trying it again for a full-length album?

DL: I would consider crowd funding again. Don’t know with who. I don’t know about a full length as of yet. Seems like people are just really into the EPs at the moment.  I’m a little old school though and like to listen to albums from front to back.  We’ll see what happens

EJ: Please tell us about hearing “Where All the Kids Belong” on the radio for the first time.  Where were you?  What was the first thing that went through your mind?

DL: We were playing in Seattle as Jake Hamilton’s backing band, and a DJ had just texted our bass player Billy as soon we finished to tell us he’s spinning our song. This was the Sunday before our record released, which was that next Tuesday.  It kinda felt like the movie That Thing You Do. When they first heard their song on the radio. It was a San Diego rock station I had grown up listening to.  It was a perfect place to start this journey!

EJ: You’ve already had the opportunity to travel around the world in support of Jake Hamilton and his tour.  What was the best meal you ate abroad?

DL: That’s a tough one. So many. And for so many reasons.  Like in Brazil we mostly would go to the chuscarrias which are the Brazilian steak houses. Insanely good.  Or in Switzerland we were about an hour from the Italian boarder and the pizzas there were ridiculous.  Or in Paris we went to a little Parisian restaurant that only had locals.  They were each special in their own way.

EJ: You’ve gone through a couple musical transitions: from more of a support artist to a solo artist, and from your old project to this new one.  What is most impactful lesson you’ve learned in these seasons of change?

DL: Probably to keep dreaming bigger. With every transition, I was faced with the choice of just going for it, or giving up because I had no idea what was waiting on the other side. Or that I didn’t know how it’ll work.  But to keep dreaming bigger dreams is probably what fueled inspiration for writing, learning my craft better, practicing time management, connecting with people. Etc.

EJ: What is the most meaningful song to you from your EP, Where All the Kids Belong?  Why?

DL:  Probably “Where All The Kids Belong.”  It was the first one on the radio. It sums our journey as a band and as friends finding our identity.   This one will always be special I think.

EJ: What can we expect from Troubadour Parade in the near future?

DL: We just signed with a management and booking agency so there are plans in place. Feels like a slow build, but I don’t think we mind that. Right now our drummer lives in Vegas and him and his wife plan on moving to So Cal soon. So until then we’ll keep pushing the radio thing, playing shows and hopefully write a new record in 2016.

Major thanks go out to Dustin for taking the time to answer our questions.  Be sure to check out the EP Where All the Kids Belong and follow them on the web.

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