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Parlour Panther Write an Ode to their “Chosen Fam”

The Vancouver indie rock troupe watch their friendships blossom in their latest video single.

by Stephan Boissonneault 

Photo by Carol Gandra

Sometimes you need a collective of people to get through the bad times and revel in the good; call it a family or a friend pile. Knowing this, Vancouver indie-pop rock group Parlour Panther have written an ode to their chosen family. 

Featuring doubled vocal work from the trans non-binary co-founding couple of the group, Frankie and Reidar Brave, funky synth lines, fat bass, and rockin’ lead guitar lines, the new single “Chosen Fam” sometimes feels like a modern Motown jam or a dream pop escapade. It also comes with a party montage video, which plays out a bit like a feel-good A24 movie. The video shows the Parlour Panther crew and their friends engaging in classic Vancouver behaviour: smoking weed on the balcony, putting bandanas on cute dogs, and eating vegan Oreo cake. 

The idea for the friends’ party video came right around the 10th anniversary of Parlour Panther, and tied in nicely with Frankie’s birthday. “Chosen Fam” will be part of Parlour Panther’s third studio album, BLOOM, out March 22 via Coax Records. To support BLOOM, Parlour Panther will be embarking on a cross-Canada tour in March.

Ahead of the album release of BLOOM and their tour, we chatted with Frankie and Reidar about the cutest dogs in the world, heavy guitar riffs, and going back to rock band basics.

Did you find your friends acted differently when they knew they were being filmed? 

Some of them definitely felt uncomfortable, but we didn’t include that footage. They mostly seemed to forget that they were being filmed because it was just one person filming, like a fly on the wall. We basically invited a lot of pals and set up for a birthday party with vegan Oreo cookie cake and unicorn balloons and hired someone to film it. We also wanted to have some portrait-style shots to highlight each friend and give them their moment in the spotlight.

What are some of the themes within the song?

“Chosen Fam” is an ode to friendship and about being grateful for chosen family. Particularly significant for the queer and trans community, it’s a song about finding your people and the love that you deserve. The verse’s lyrics were inspired by a night out with friends.

Is that your dog featured in the video? He’s a star!

There are actually two dogs in the video! The black and white dog with the orange bandana is our four-year-old Bernedoodle named Bigsby. She is actually the cutest dog you will ever meet. The dog that is mostly black is a Cockapoo named Quesito, and she belongs to our friends Marty and Marie. She is the other cutest dog you will ever meet. They both brought some star power to the video, and we are taking offers if anyone needs dog models.

If you could turn into any animal, Animorphs style, which would you choose and why?

Frankie would turn into a dog because they absolutely LOVE DOGS. They would also probably turn into Bigsby because she is the best dog. Reidar would turn into a cat to lounge as desired and receive pets at their leisure. They would also probably turn into Waldo (the tuxedo cat featured in the video) because he is the most handsome soft boy and is the original Parlour Panther.

What can we expect with the upcoming album, BLOOM? Is “Chosen Fam” a good indicator of some of the sounds we’ll hear?

BLOOM features a luscious range of textures, really elevated by returning original member Saadi D’Hoore who plays synths and guitar. We’ve also gone back to our original sound with a live drummer instead of samples, and Jen Foster is an absolute powerhouse on the kit. We’ve added these two amazing players to an already tried and true recipe. Frankie and Reidar have been co-writing songs for a decade and Parlour Panther’s sound has matured with them over the years. On BLOOM, you can definitely expect some more double guitar solos, impeccable harmonies and PHAT bass and drums. 

Anything to add? Hopes and dreams? … Fears?

BLOOM is the most collaborative album we’ve ever made—in the writing, performance, recording and mixing of it. And everyone involved along every step of the way was INTO it. You can feel that through the sound. We are all so excited for you to hear it. We’re taking BLOOM on tour in March to places we’ve never played – Toronto, Hamilton, Guelph, Windsor, Ottawa, Peterborough and Montreal. And we’re thrilled to play a bunch of these with the legendary Wax Mannequin. Follow us on IG to stay tuned for tickets!