Black City Lights set for US tour

09:07, Aug 08 2013
black city lights
LIGHT FANTASTIC: Calum Robb and Julia Catherine Parr, of Wellington band Black City Lights. They will perform in the United States next month.

Wellington's Black City Lights have spent a year producing their new album and saving for an upcoming United States tour – but they want a holiday out of it as well.

The strong, soulful vocals of Julia Catherine Parr and dark, pulsing rhythms of Calum Robb attracted plenty of attention for their EP Parallels in April last year and the pair soon signed with a small New York label.

"It's been a very awesome yet humbling experience and I don't think it's changed us – not for the worse anyway," Robb says.

Their first studio album, Another Life, was produced as the pair underwent a steep learning curve. Listeners are promised superior quality velvety vocals, with a vintage tube microphone adding warm, rich qualities. "It's sounding really crisp and amazing."

The duo have spent the past year working on the album and playing gigs with big names like Canadian indie electro pop star Grimes, and working fulltime jobs to save for the tour, which they say will be costly but invaluable.

"There is no way we are going to break even," Robb says. "It would be nice, but unrealistic.


"We like to see this tour as a holiday with a few gigs here and there."

This month the pair play Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch. Next month it's Los Angeles, Santa Cruz and San Francisco before flying to Chicago and then New York, where their label Stars & Letters is based. Information on the band is displayed prominently on the label's website, giving even more exposure for the Wellington act.

"The first part will be kind of relaxing but once we hit New York it will be full on," Robb says.

"We want to create a larger fan base as well as network, meet venue owners, managers, booking agents and so on."

But defining their music into a genre is difficult.

"It's a really hard one to answer," says Robb. "But I guess 'dark pop'? 'Cold wave'?"

Parallels was driven largely by Robb but he says their latest offering is more of an even split between him and "little sister" Julia.

"The EP was a bit of a patchwork with mainly my influences.

"We both worked on it 50/50 and challenged each other every step of the way. There have been disagreements with songs and ideas, but in a good way."


Black City Lights play Wellington venue Puppies on August 23.

Another Life is out now. It can be downloaded here.

The Dominion Post