Strange Parts | photo by Adam Haney | courtesy of the band
Strange Parts reaches across years and time zones to create its debut LP
“I want to be in that band.” That was the shared sentiment between Attia Taylor and Corey Duncan when they first met and heard each other play back in 2012. At the time, Duncan had close ties to Girls Rock Philly where Taylor was participating as a camper; he was also releasing music in the Oh! Pears project, while Taylor dropped a series of solo EPs on Bandcamp. Fast forward six years later, Taylor and Duncan combined forces to release their first full length project under the name Strange Parts: Oh God, What a Beautiful Time I Spent In The Wild.
The album, which was released on June 8, includes 12 tracks of what Duncan describes as psychedelic art pop. The debut track “Treasures” offers listeners a folky yet dreamy vibe that is accompanied by languorous vocal pairings of both Duncan and Taylor. The closing track “Glorious Things” is a free spirited song that makes one reminisce on listless summer days with minimal responsibilities. The entire project is simply, effortlessly cool.
Although no project is necessarily easy in its development, the creation of Oh God, What A Beautiful Time I Spent In The Wild faced a challenge that many indie albums don’t – the chief collaborators Duncan and Taylor were several time zones apart. Though Duncan has spent most of his adult life in Philadelphia, he was living in his home city of Seattle when they started collaborating, while the Philly-born Taylor had moved to her current residence of Brooklyn. Though Duncan is back in Philly these days, they say that collaboration was actually easier with that initial distance.
“We’ve never lived in the same state for the entire existence of this band,” says Duncan. “It’s most definitely a challenge sometimes, especially because we’re both extremely busy in our own lives. I’d say our super busy lives are almost more a factor. We both had more free time when we started this, and even though we lived 3,000 miles apart, we made new songs constantly. Now we definitely do have to be more strategic.”
And what is keeping them so busy? Taylor is the founder and editor-in-chief of Womanly Magazine, a publication that explores issues of health for woman and non-binary people through the lens of visual art. Duncan, on the other hand, has several DJ gigs around Philly, and continues to produce music as Oh! Pears.
After meeting in 2012, the pair though it wise to link up and start creating music together.
“I saw Corey play in his band Oh! Pears a few times and was blown away,” remembers Taylor. “There were tons of people in his band on different instruments and I remember thinking ‘I wanna be in that band.’ Corey and I clicked almost instantly when we started listening to records together and eventually working on music. Strange Parts was a project that kind of happened by accident. We were only messing around with songs as collaborators and just decided to go for it.”
Duncan had an eerily similar attitude about Taylor after he saw her perform at Girls Rock Philly
“She was onstage with her band, and her voice and melodic sensibilities instantly blew my mind,” says Duncan. “Not long after that, she put out her first EP, and started playing shows under her own name. I started out just being a fan and wishing I could be in her band.”
At one point, both Duncan and Taylor were booked separately to play a show at Johnny Brenda’s, and the two decided to collaborate on a song just for that show. Attia dueted on the Oh! Pears rare cut “Born In Clouds,” from the BITBY Tape Club compilation, and her voice is in the tapestry of sound on “Haunted Love” from Oh! Pears 2014 single Under the Olive Tree. They later vowed to circle back to create a joint EP, but not long after this Duncan headed back to Seattle and Taylor moved to Brooklyn.
As previously mentioned, the distance did not stop Taylor and Duncan from making music together. After the location changes, Taylor made trips out to the West Coast were the pair continued to work on music often times emailing music bath and forth.
“I’d play some drum parts, and Attia would pick her favorite pattern. Then she’d record some keyboard parts and vocals over that. Then I’d play some bass and guitar parts, and she’d tell me which ones she liked best,” says Duncan. “She acted as creative director, which was great because I have a tendency to play way more notes than necessary, and she wasn’t having it”
With their full length album out and available on Bandcamp, Google Play, and Spotify, Strange Parts is looking toward the future. A future which includes a third member – drummer Chris Acree, who will be featured in upcoming shows and projects, including the Rock And Roll and Birth Control benefit for Planned Parenthood at Johnny Brenda’s tomorrow night. More songwriting, shows, music videos and touring are also on the horizon for the group.
“Another album is next, I think,” says Taylor. “Now that this is out in the world I’m excited to do more writing and exploring our sound.”
Strange Parts plays Johnny Brenda’s with Tact and Full Bush on Saturday, July 7th for the Rock and Roll and Birth Control Benefit; tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.