Irish instrumental voyagers Parhelia recently released their new album, Celestial Horizons. We ask the band's Greg Clarke (guitars, keyboards) and Cathal Rodgers (bass, keyboards) the BIG questions... 

Tell us three things about yourselves? 
Greg: I'm creative, introverted and introspective. The Wildhearts once sang, "I wanna go where the people go" - I don't! 

Cathal: I don't talk to strangers, I sometimes hide in doorways, but I always write in starlight.

How would you describe your music? 
Greg: I always answer this the same way: Refined Instrumental Rock - somewhere between Post, Prog and Metal. If you are a fan of any of the above, you'll hopefully find something appealing in our music. 

Cathal: I'm going to take the liberty of paraphrasing Seamus Heaney here; I would hope that we make music for those times when we want music to be not only pleasurably right, but compellingly wise. Not only a surprising variation played upon the world, but a re-tuning of the world itself. Heaney advocated for poetry that was "true to the impact of external reality and sensitive to the inner laws of the poet's being". I would like to think that we give that same gravity to our musical endeavours.

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Who are your musical inspirations? 
Greg: It might be a bit of a cop-out, but I used to say too numerous to mention, and that's really still the case. I've never stopped being curious when it comes to music - I'm always looking for something new, something that will move me or change the way I think about making music. Growing up, I predominantly listened to a lot of Metal, Grunge and Rock and devoured anything I could get my hands on before expanding beyond those genres. My early inspiration would be fairly similar to anyone else's discovering that type of music in the 90s. In terms of recent inspirations, or what I've been regularly listening to, it's been bands like Jakob, Beyond Creation, Leprous, The Old Wind and Palms. 

Cathal: There have been various paradigm-shifting moments throughout my life in music. At this moment, with perhaps one too many whiskeys inside me, this is the best chronological list I can come up with: Iron Maiden, Overkill, Autopsy, Fates Warning, Sadus, Rush, The Cure, Talk Talk, Kevin Moore, Spiral Architect, Gordian Knot, Jaco Pastorius, Arvo Pärt, Kevin Drumm, Deathprod, Chelsea Wolfe and Emma Ruth Rundle.

How have you been occupying yourselves during the coronavirus lockdown? 
Greg:
On the family front, trying to keep some combination of structure and normality - it's tricky! In some ways the harsher lockdown suited me on a personal level. I spent a lot of my free time reading, listening to music, watching films and I've put substantial hours into playing guitar, demoing material for a future Parhelia record.  

Cathal: Having always described myself as something of a hermit it wasn't a surprise to me that the lockdown turned out to be a form of heaven! Plenty of time to work on new music, but I've also been cultivating my Covid-beard... Discovering the world of beard oils and balms! Seems I've led a sheltered life. 

What's your favourite song right now?  
Greg:
Right now, South to Infinity by Mountaineer.

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Cathal: My obsession at the minute seems to be Real Big Sky by Emma Ruth Rundle. "I don't want to be awake when It takes me, but I can't wait to see you smile on the Other Side." 

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Favourite lyric of all time?  
Greg:
I don't know if I could commit to a favourite lyric of all time; it's always in flux. It's dependent on what's happening or what's going on in my life - different lines will speak to me at different times. At the moment, there's a line in Guardian by Fates Warning that does it for me: "I will wish upon a star, I believe in you and if my will has strayed afar, I remembered you, will you remember me?" Needless to say, the vocal delivery has to be there for it to stand out.  

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Cathal: I should probably say anything by Neil Peart from Rush, but I'm going to pick something by Jim Matheos from Fates Warning. First to spring to mind is Nothing Left to Say

"Behind the ambitions 
Of a child who found his way 
There's a cold realization 
That our deeds die with the day 
And behind the disguise 
Of a man with a cause 
There's a child screaming 
With nothing left to say"

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If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be? 
Greg: Probably Deadheads by Breach. They were shortlived and way ahead of their time with this stuff. I managed to catch them supporting Neurosis back in 1997; it absolutely levelled me hearing that track live and it was my first exposure to them. I still get the same feeling when I hear it.

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Cathal: It's a toss up between Talk Talk's Tomorrow Started and Chroma Key's On the Page. Both songs have amazing lyrics within the confines of the song, but they somehow seem to lose all of their power if you attempt to just quote one or two lines out of context. If asked for a definitive answer today, I'm going to go for Tomorrow Started.

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Where can people find your music/more information? 
You'll find us on all the usual digital platforms - Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp etc. - but for those that prefer the physical format, head to www.parhelia-band.com for vinyl and cd.