22 March 2019
Art is not just a one-dimensional construct. It is a multi-faceted, richly woven and engrossing prospect from whichever angle you view it. A sight is just as important as a sound and an emotional response can be conjured from a point where it may not be most obvious.
This is a mind-set that consumed Zac Vernon when he introduced Parting Gift to the world back in 2017. Built from the loose ends of several different projects, the band became a place for him to express his own vibrant vision of what music can represent.
“I think being passionate about how something looks and feels is just as important as music. With that in mind, I didn’t want to get into a band which already had its aesthetic fully formed,” he explains. “I have always been really interested in forming something myself. I knew that I could put my stamp on this.”
The shape that stamp would take was one shrouded in mystery. Keeping their identity a second thought and using hauntingly simple imagery to let people make their own assumptions of what everything actually meant, debut single ‘Be Still’ and follow up tracks ‘In Mind’ and ‘Asleep’ epitomised letting the music do the talking. By the time double A-side ‘Vein & Rensing’ dropped in early 2018 a fully formed vision had really started to take hold.
“I listened to a lot of black metal when I was younger. I was so intrigued by the aesthetic and how a band could put out an image that would make people go crazy when the only thing that was mysterious about it was that they had long hair and the pictures were in black and white. For Parting Gift I wanted the same sort of mystery but kept really simple. It’s there but it’s not forced. We wanted to make people want to know more.”
Though not just the imagery of black metal found its way into the band’s music. The atmosphere, beauty, darkness and depth of the genre can be pinpointed throughout Parting Gift’s sound. Combined with the layered shimmer of shoegaze, gorgeous simplicity of indie and bludgeoning weight of post-hardcore, it is a smorgasbord of influences designed to ensnare and enrapture.
The pursuit and lust for more from those who let Parting Gift, completed in its current and most cohesive form by guitarists Peter Vybiral and Jack Dutton and drummer George Barnes, in to their soul stems further into what the band actually want to achieve. Parting Gift is a place of expression through the emotions that this existence deals out. Be it through love or loss, hatred or hardship, the music exists to be dissected.
“A lot of what we write about actually comes from the anxieties of being in a band,” Zac admits. “Things like the fear of losing it all, the fear of being away from home for long periods of time. The amazing thing is that people can take it and compare it to their own lives. The songs that have helped me the most have always been very open ended where you are able to ask ‘is this band writing exactly from my perspective?’”
Developing that confidence to write in such a transparent way is something that hasn’t come easy to Zac but it’s one that he is proud to be able to exhibit with Parting Gift. Using the darkness of the world we live in to create something beautiful is a very special trait and one that he doesn’t take lightly.
“As you grow up you realise that the world isn’t always a happy place to live in. Speaking from personal experience, I have seen a lot of bad things happen. Going into Parting Gift, I was viewing everything in a really negative light. Even though things have changed now, I can still channel all of that negativity into the way I write. I could be in the best mood but I could still come up with the darkest lyrics. I just couldn’t write something happy now.”
Ultimately Parting Gift is more than just a band. It is a feeling of release that we all possess. An urge deep inside that wants to break out, letting us be as happy, sad, angry or passionate as we want to be. Even at such an early stage in their journey, the band is serving as a vessel for the most human parts of existence and Zac hopes that can continue as they venture deeper in what it truly means to be.
“Going forward I want to hone in on the craft of enabling people to feel like they belong to something. We want people to feel like they are an integral part of all of this.”