The Wires are an original alternative classical music duo comprised of Sascha Groschang on cello and Laurel Parks on violin. Together they surpass expectations of what a string duo can be by incorporating innovative sounds and techniques into their pop song-length compositions and teaching other string players how to do the same. Their first album, The Wires, was released in 2013 and they are currently finishing a follow-up in addition to performing, teaching and other music-related projects. We honored to share an interview with the duo about their unique collaboration. Enjoy!
Please introduce yourselves. Where do you live and work?
Sascha Groschang (SG): I live in Hyde Park, in midtown KC. I teach at Missouri Western State University, and am principal cellist of the Saint Joseph Symphony. I teach privately, and have a quartet that plays a variety of events with Laurel. We also both do tons of recording sessions, improv work and freelance jobs all around the area.
Laurel Parks (LP): I live in midtown. I am a freelance violinist and I also have a home studio.
Talk about the origins of The Wires. How did you start your collaboration?
We wanted to start a project that was all our own. We had been doing tons of records for bands and gigs for other people, playing their music, and we wanted something original that was our own creation.
How does your collaboration work in terms of composition? Are your pieces fully transcribed? What may surprise a listener about how your pieces are created?
Usually, one of us comes up with a riff or melody, and we improvise until we come up with a section we like. We slowly piece our work together over weeks or months. We don't have any of our tunes transcribed (yet) - it's all just floating around in our brains! What's surprising about our pieces (even to us), is the length they take to complete. We have lofty goals about finishing certain songs, and then it ends up taking weeks or months (or years).
Your first album, The Wires¸ was released in 2012. How is work going on the follow-up?
It's going well! We are currently recording and hope to have a big release in 2017. We have a much better system for recording and producing this go around, and so it's a little smoother and faster. Which is good, because Sascha has a baby, so there's much more limited time!
What inspires you both about the classical or traditional music communities in Kansas City?
We both started with classical training, and KC's classical scene just keeps growing in inspiring ways - besides the big groups, such as the KC Symphony, there's New Music, Baroque performance practice opportunities (Sascha is even learning the viola da gamba and is playing a viol consort!) and plenty of concert of all types to go to and participate in. The traditional music community is so open and welcoming - you can show up and join in no matter what level or experience you have and they are just happy to have you. It's a great way to make music and have a good time!
Sascha and Laurel's recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog:
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Into Thin Air by John Krakauer
Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Any and all music by Jose Gonzalez
Vespertine by Bjork