An Interview With Atlanta’s Parsons Rocket Project

Atlanta-based Parsons Rocket Project blasts off with their six track self-titled debut EP this August. It’s a shooting star of dream-gaze, indie rock and space rock somewhere between Blonde Redhead, Echo and the Bunnymen, and Slowdive, there’s a little something for everyone.

They’re previewing their first single ‘Exit Launch’, which is accompanied by an animated video. It’s filled with ethereal sounds and heavenly vocals as the story inspired by the description of Lucifer’s fall in Ezekiel 28 and transhumanism unfolds into a beautiful juxtapose. “Exit Launch is about the allegorical descent of man through the story of Lucifer’s fall. The imperfection of man and darkness in our hearts that still exists through vanity, pride, materialism (mirrors) and false words of encouragement / deceit of the tongue (sound). ‘Lucky lunar girls, Snowblind in the night’ alludes to the fashion industry and cocaine,” explains Jody Hasty.

Their name, Parsons Rocket Project, is taken from American rocket propulsion engineer, chemist and occultist Jack Parsons. Forming in 2015, they are Jody Hasty (Lyrics, Synth, Electric Piano, Drums), Paul Curry (Bass), Benjamin Price (Guitar, Percussion, Midnight Editing), Jeff Holt (Guitar), and K. Michelle Dubois (Vocals).

TM had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Parsons Rocket Project about their new upcoming self titled debut album, the story behind their first single ‘Exit Launch’, and their home base of Atlanta, more..

Parsons Rocket Project 1 - photo credit Isadora PenningtonTM.jpg
Photo by Isadora Pennington

TM – You once said “We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.” Can you explain what you mean by this statement?

PRP – It’s a verse from Oscar Wilde’s play The Duchess of Padua and just another way of saying that people are their own worst enemy. However we all believe there is a dual nature to everything, believing it’s possible for people to elevate themselves to make this world their heaven on the other side of that coin.

TM – What are some of the challenges that you face as musicians in today’s world?

PRP A lot of people seem to want to be a rock star and have a ton of likes on social media. We were fortunate to have a group of people that wanted to make a good little record instead of being famous.

TM – Where do you find your inspiration for creating new music?

PRP – We think it’s sometimes arrogant to believe that we created something ourselves. I mean, we all tap into this well; we’re not sure whose well it is, but it’s the same well we all tap into. Substance abuse has blown the doors of perception open at times as well as the afterglow of a good run. All of the players on this project were inspirations too. The parts all complimented each other well.

TM – What’s the story behind your lead off track ‘Exit Launch’ for your new debut EP (New Texture Records)?

PRP – Jody has always had an interest in religions of the world and Exit Launch was inspired by the description of Lucifer in Ezekiel 28. It describes human nature a lot, being our own devil most of the time. Vanity, pride, and how it seems society has geared us to care about the perception of what others think. Lucifer is a very strange name to give to the prince of darkness as well. There are references to Transhumanism which Jody has been fascinated with since seeing a Blade Runner re-run on HBO as a child and of course cocaine that seems to never go out of style in certain industries.

Parsons Rocket Project 3 - photo credit Isadora PenningtonTM.jpg
Photo by Isadora Pennington

TM – What was it like making the accompanying video for ‘Exit Launch’?

PRP – We didn’t really care about being in the video ourselves so it was really cool to have it done with graphic animation because it fit the Transhumanism theme as well. I gave the track to a computer science student that came from a different cultural background than our own with a brief description and let him run with it. The same themes seem to run through all cultures so we think it came out pretty good.

TM – Your home base of Atlanta, GA has a vibrant musical and cultural scene with a huge amount of underground bands, has this helped shape who you are as musicians today?

PRP – It has, not only are we around a lot of really talented bands, but we’ve all been in bunch of those bands and had a lot of great experiences. Playing the SXSW festival, the Midtown Music festival here in ATL, doing shows up in NYC, touring etc. I would say that mostly shaped a work ethic. Playing music is fun, absolutely but it can be hard work. Many of the Atlanta bands active right now are extremely hard working and doing very interesting things sonically which is inspiring. PLS PLS, Twin Studies, Applesauce Tears just to name a few.

TM – You say that you’ve embraced the beautiful noise concept, but strayed from the classic shoegaze template that many bands adhere to, how so?                        

PRP – Beyond a cat that wandered into some of our photos, there isn’t that much about the EP we would consider “classic shoegaze.” There is the noise, feedback and textures but the overall feel isn’t at all classic or 90’s shoegazey. I think it is much more current than that-there are the synth sounds, some sub-bass things in there which we think is more of a nugaze vibe. Not knocking the classic sounds at all, in fact we’ve done that before. Jeff, Paul and Jody in a previous band had recorded a very classic shoegaze EP with Lincoln Fong (Moose, Jesus & Mary Chain, he also worked on the Lush, Cocteau Twins records.) there is a soft spot for that sort of sound, but we didn’t drench everything in chorus pedal.

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