Parade of Lights, an electronic-rock quartet, has been taking the music world by storm. Opening for bands like Imagine Dragons, Fitz and the Tantrums, and AWOLNATION, the L.A.-based band features Ryan Daly as lead vocalist and guitarist, Anthony Improgo as drummer, Michelle Ashley as keyboardist, and Randy Schulte as bassist.
The band’s musical style pays homage to the 80s and 90s, while still maintaining a fresh electronic edge. On their musical influences, Daly explained, “We love the 80s, we’re like 80s kids, you know? We’re also 90s kids though because, when you’re a baby in the 80s you’re surrounded by all that music and for some reason it has a nostalgic quality at this point, which we really like. And then we like the 90s because it was aggressive, and it was rock, and it was just big, and I think it’s a hybrid between the two of those. We love Tears For Fears, we love Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, all that 80s stuff. But we also love Soundgarden, and we love Third Eye Blind, and big pop records.”
The band originally started as a trio, with Daly, Improgo, and Schulte, which was called Polus. Polus was getting some hype among the L.A. scene, but during a show, Daly dislocated his knee. “We had a gig at the Troubador in L.A., opening up for Built to Spill. We had some momentum, people were checking us out, some labels and all that stuff. Sold out show, and about the first song into it, Ryan dislocates his knee on stage,” says Improgo.
This unfortunate blunder caused the band to take a step back and reassess things, which eventually led to the band’s hiatus. “We were on hiatus for like 6 months to a year, and after that we took some touring gigs to just make some money. Our touring gigs kinda took us apart for about two or three years and basically in 2011 or 2012, we were all kinda sick of our touring gigs and were like ‘let’s start the band again’, and called it Parade of Lights,” exclaims Improgo.
According to Daly, the band name came from a song which Improgo had heard. Improgo sent the song to Daly and said he thought it was a great name for a band, to which Daly agreed, and the rest is history.
After the band ended its hiatus, they were searching for a fourth member. More specifically, they were in search for a keyboardist. While at an outdoor venue in LA, Daly stumbled upon a band and decided to check them out. That band featured Ashley on keyboard and Daly was so impressed, that he asked a stranger what the band was called, and eventually found Ashley’s facebook page. “I sent her a message and was like ‘we need a keyboard player’ and she was like ‘I’m kinda committed to the project I’m in right now’ and I was like ‘okay, but we need a keyboard player’. I pestered her for probably two years…” says Daly. Ashley also stated that she was keeping tabs on the band as well.
Ashley finally took the leap and decided to join Parade of Lights, after a mutual friend of the band and Ashley had contacted her. “Then finally through a mutual friend, our friend Adam, Adam Castilla, he plays in The Colourist… He went to one of her shows and was like ‘you need to play with this band’, so she said yes and her first show with us, we were opening for Fitz and the Tantrums at the Wiltern, and I think after that, she was like ‘alright, this is cool,’” says an enthusiastic Daly, with Ashley laughing in agreement. While this first show was a huge success for the newly finished band, their success only grew from there.
After their manager sent their song “We’re The Kids” to Jeff Regan at SiriusXM’s Alt Nation, Regan decided to take a chance on the song and add it to the station. Other stations quickly followed suit, which led to more and more label interest for the band. On the song, Daly said, “That song was written on a whim, I remember us being like ‘is this silly?’ and it kinda is but people liked it and it came from a genuine place.” They eventually signed with Astralwerks, and released their debut album, Feeling Electric, in 2015.
Read the rest of the Parade of Lights feature in our September 2017 issue here.
Purchase a print copy of the issue here.
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