Creative freedom is something most artists aspire for, but sometimes having creativity restricted can be just as fruitful, if not more so. The latter was the case for western Massachusetts band Parsonsfield, who found inspiration for their new album Blooming Through The Black in an unlikely place.
“We performed a play that we composed the music for 292 times in about a year,” the band’s Chris Freeman explains. “We played the same music, at the same times, in the same costumes, and in the same theatre 8 times a week. We wore in-ear monitors and played on opposite sides of the stage, seeing each other on small TV monitors for cues. Being a cog in the machine of something so much bigger than us, we became much tighter as a band, but stifled creatively because we didn’t have the freedom to explore like we do when we are rehearsing and recording.”
As they got ready to write and record what would become Blooming Through The Black, due out September 9, the band decided to opt for a drastically different environment where they could be pushed musically and escape the confines of working in a theater. The resulting album captures both the live energy the band has come to be known for as well as the sonic evolution that occurred after months of feeling stagnant.
“As we left this environment and hopped back in the van to become a touring band again, we knew our next project had to take us far away from the acoustically whitewashed space of the theatre,” Freeman adds. “We found this old abandoned axe factory in Connecticut. It was truly an island of Rust Belt, roll-up-your-sleeves Americana amongst the vast ocean of suburbia. The walls were concrete and covered in sawdust when we arrived. This was the spot we wanted to write and record the album. We spent six months there writing and recording demos until we finally were ready to make the record. Sam Kassirer [Josh Ritter, Lake Street Dive, Elephant Revival] came down to produce the record and lived in a trailer we set up next to the factory while we recorded. Because the space had so much reverb, the songs slowed down and changed. Sam helped us make the axe factory the sixth member of the band.”
Listen to Blooming Through The Black below.