In August 2010, Vancouver indie pop band Parlour Steps were on top of their game: the quintet had just performed to a capacity crowd at the legendary Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, their song “Little Pieces” had gone viral (thanks to a placement in the MTV Canada TV series DeGrassi), and the band had scored major coverage and accolades for their sweaty, pitch-pefect performance at SXSW four months prior.
But within a few weeks, the band would be on an extended hiatus it would never recover from. What happened?
“Life,” explains frontman Caleb Stull. “After 10 years, 5 albums, and numerous line-up changes. We were all looking in different directions. Starting families, businesses, and relocations.”
Stull decided to form a new project - Field Study - that very next year. He went into K Lab and Afterlife studios in Vancouver with a handful of new songs and some very talented friends, including Kenton Loewen (from Dan Mangan's band), Johnny Andrews and Shaun Huberts (from Tegan and Sara), Debra-Jean Creelman and Ryan Guldemond (from Mother Mother),and Vancouver chanteuse Adaline, among others.
“I was looking to keep the Parlour Steps momentum,” says Stull, “but instead 2011 and 2012 ended up being a challenging time of gypsy travel, heartbreak and a mini-loss of innocence.”
And so, it took Stull over two years to complete Field Study’s debut full-length Feverland (street date: Oct. 15). “I was living in Berlin for a while, in a serious relationship. Many of the songs are about that experence. They are more personal, more real, more focused than my songs with Parlour Steps.”
When Stull returned to Canada and completed the album, he felt there were still changes to be made. So he packed his bags again and relocated to Toronto. Of the move, he says, “It’s wonderfully liberating. Toronto is so much larger, louder...there are more audiences on the fringe waiting for work that rejects the generic and safe. It pushes me creatively, to believe in wilder and crazier ideas.”
A listen to Feverland confirms this. Songs such as “Lost And Found” and “New Sun” still rely on stylish pop hooks, male-female vocal interplay, and the delicate wordsmithing Stull’s Parlour Steps songs were known for, but many of the songs are much more adventurous, from the electro bass thump of “Come Find Me” to the elaborate arrangement of “Love This Time.”
Field Study Band’s tracks