Alum band finds soul

By: Krisitin Helf, Columnist 

Parks Landing is an indie pop/rock band still in its infancy.

They’ve been compared to Death Cab for Cutie and Best Coast, but when their first EP “Little Planes,” comes out later this month, you’ll hear songs that could come from a band none other than this one.

Parks Landing is made up of Towson alumni who graduated between 2009-2014. Niki DiCarlo sings, Dan Ciarrocchi plays guitar and Tom Colegrove plays drums to complete the trio.

“You don’t have to be a music major to do music when you get out of here,” DiCarlo said. “I feel like my psych degree definitely had influence as well. Just thinking about thinking.”

Although none of them majored in anything music-related, they all said they wouldn’t be where they are today if not for their education and time spent at Towson.

In August, Dicarlo, Ciarrocchi and Colegrove headed to an Airbnb in North Jersey, where they spent two weeks recording the album.

Ciarrocchi knew producer Rob Freeman, who’s produced albums by bands like Gym Class Heroes and Hit the Lights, from working with him in a previous band.

“[Freeman] was pretty much on the top of my list as far as people who I wanted to record with,” Ciarrochi said. “Luckily it worked out, and it’s fantastic.”

The three stayed at a sort of “hippie haven,” run by a woman named Mercedes, who mentioned to them that there was a loose bear terrorizing the neighborhood, and advised the group to lock their doors at night.

“I feel like a bear wouldn’t care about a locked door,” Ciarrocchi said. “I mean, it’s a bear.”

Still, they managed to stay alive and record an album they’re all proud of.

“I think going into the studio we thought it would be more indie,” DiCarlo said of their debut sound. “But after Rob came in and produced some stuff, we finalized our sound. It was more pop than I think we’d expected. I mean we like the sound, so it’s cool, but it’s kind of surprising.”

Their writing process for the EP was intensely collaborative.

“When we first got together I had a couple songs that I’d already written, and then I brought them to the guys and they put their spin on it,” DiCarlo said. “We’re still kind of figuring out our creative process as a whole.”

Because the writing of the music was a group effort, each song reflects all three of their personal styles and tastes.

Individually, they’ve been inspired by a wide variety of genres.

“I grew up listening to Led Zeppelin, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, all those grunge bands,” Colegrove said. “Then I kind of branched out and started getting into jazz and fusion music, country.”

At this point in their career, the band’s sound doesn’t fall in line with any specific genre as pop, rock, and indie all emanate from each song, they said. The 90s alt rock influence is definitely there as well, reminiscent of Third Eye Blind, who Ciarrocchi and DiCarlo both love.

Parks Landing is looking forward to hosting an all-ages CD release party at the Ottobar on Nov. 21—$2 for under 21, $10 otherwise.

Just two weeks before they play the Ottobar show, a music video for the EP’s first track “Voices in My Head” will premiere on YouTube.

They also have a short documentary coming out in early-to-mid November, featuring footage of the band in the studio, answering some questions and just hanging out.

Through the twists and turns of their growing success, the band still honors Towson for giving them their roots.

“Towson is probably the place where I learned to be a really critical thinker, when it came to my own consumption of media and whatnot, which in turn influences how I create it at the same time,” Ciarrocchi said. “So I think just having echoes of my past professors still influences a lot of what I’m doing today.”

For more information about the band, their upcoming events and general antics, they can be found on Facebook: facebook.com/parkslanding, Twitter: @parkslanding, and on Instagram: @parkslandingmusic.

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