Buffalo musician Colin Griffin has been a longtime player in the local scene, floating in and out of groups while honing a distinct sound and voice. His most recent role, playing frontman in the six-piece chamber pop band Parade Chic, will soon come to head as the group releases its debut album “One and Only Secret Dream” on Dec. 17 in Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.).
Griffin first started playing music at age 7, playing trumpet and other brass instruments in high school. When he was around 12, he picked up a guitar and soon realized he was more into writing songs than learning scales.
“I spent the following decade starting or joining over a dozen bands, playing around town and slowly figuring out what I was doing.,” Griffin said. In recent years, I’ve played with a lot of good friends and great musicians, including Pearls/the Bear Exchange and Alex Berkley & the Atlanta Falcons. Through all of this, I think I was gradually developing a style, a musical sensibility, and a conceptual approach that has finally surfaced in this project.”
One recurring figure in many of Griffin’s projects is his longtime partner and now wife, Laura Bowen. From the pair’s early band days to at-home musical collaborations, Bowen’s constant presence has turned into arguably the musician’s most important asset.
“We’ve been together for 12 years and collaborating comes very naturally to us,” he said. “More than anything she’s at once my greatest champion and my harshest critic. She edits me and holds us to a high creative standard. I know I can trust her to give me her often brutally honest opinion if a lyric is cheesy or a vocal sounds crummy.
“She also has a unique approach to making music, whether it’s an unusual instrument, sound or rhythm, which often proves to be the ‘icing on the cake’ so to speak.”
After a few years of songwriting and a “maddening” laundry list of possible band names (“the two words just sort of came together”), the couple, along with friends and family members, brought Parade Chic together. Griffin puts the delayed debut on his shoulders, citing not a lack of focus, but actually quite the opposite. With his grip on a particular (and constantly changing) sound loosening, his long in-the-works band was able to become fully realized.
“With this project, though, I feel like I finally came to a place where I was beyond relying on other musical influences for inspiration,” he explained. “I let the songs basically write themselves, sometimes spending months fine-tuning lyrical nuances and melodies. And it worked because I was crafting the sound around the songs, as opposed to the other way around.
After years of work, Griffin is ready to release “One and Only Secret Dream.”
“I’ve never gotten nearly this far with a project before,” Griffin admitted. “This whole album is one of recurring nostalgias and hazy recollections. It is inspired by memory and experience and hindsight and rehashing. It has essentially been in the making since I was 17.”
What: Parade Chic album release with Sonny Baker, Alex Berkley, Much Band and Urban Reverie
When: Doors at 7 p.m. Dec. 17
Where: Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St.