The alt pop artist is making waves with her classy single ‘Runs and Rides.
Her previous single ‘Thighs’ has accumulated an impressive 200,000 plays on Spotify after it was featured on an episode of MTV’s documentary series Catfish. Now ‘Runs and Rides’ builds upon that momentum with is throbbing basslines and glitchy beats, all overlaid by a smooth vocal turn by Parker. The electro-pop singer-songwriter – born in Britain and raised in Australia – returned to her native shores to pursue her musical endeavours. With an EP on the horizon, we decided it was high time we got to know her better….
We fell in love with ‘Runs and Rides’; can you tell us a little about what was inspiring you when you wrote the track?
Thank you so much! I’m really glad you like it. I wrote ‘Runs and Rides’ a while ago now but I was deep into my time in London. I think I was becoming increasingly interested in the duality of my life in Australia, with the endless sun, blue sea and boundless space compared to my life in London, endless jobs, dark winter days and trying to find my way without much direction or idea of what I was doing. I guess the two are polar opposites and as the reality of that and the decisions I’d made began to sink in, I realised I needed to write and capture all those times to honour and celebrate them best.
Your video for ‘Runs and Rides’ sets the mood perfectly! How did the visual concept come about?
I made the video with my friend Cara and it was such a special experience. I sent Cara a bunch of reference videos and we came up with the idea together. It goes back to the theme of duality as I wanted to capture where I’ve come from and where I am now simultaneously. So, the interspersed visuals are all Australian and specifically from where I grew up. It’s all underwater footage from the Great Barrier Reef (RIP) and storm footage from Cyclone Yasi, which was a devastating cyclone that hit my part of Australia on the same week as my sixteenth birthday. I should have been blind drunk from my one Vodka Cruiser but instead I was drinking week old bath water in a disaster zone, but it was an experience I won’t forget.
The rest of the video signifies where I’m at now. It was shot in my friend’s house in Stoke Newington and all my closest London friends were a part of it. We played some spooky music and danced around the living room, with the strobe light going and it was really fun. I am so inspired by my friends, their artistic expression and fearless sense of self and I think I’ve become a more honest, creative version of myself in knowing them, so I love them a lot and I’m so glad they could all be a part of my first video.
“Soon enough, I’ll romanticise all of this and write songs about my magical early 20s instead.”
You reference nostalgia for your youth in a recent statement; why do you look back on that time period fondly? Is there a bittersweet sentiment that that time is gone?
I’ve really romanticised my high-school, teenage experience. Of course there were awkward, traumatic, coming of age moments like usual, but for the most part it was a real whirlwind. I went to boarding school when I turned twelve, in a small city by the ocean and I was there till I graduated. It came with all the typical boarding school angst, homesickness, sneaking out. I ran away once but didn’t get very far. My friends and I would spend hours driving around this suburbia at night, it looked like a mini Hollywood Hills. We’d play the music loud, find parties, sneak into clubs, watch the stars by the ocean. It all sounds lame now, but when you’re sixteen it’s a dreamy blur. There’s no bittersweet sentiment, I’m so happy with the choices I’ve made, where I am now and what’s to come and then, soon enough, I’ll romanticise all of this and write songs about my magical early 20s instead.
You’re British but grew up in Australia. What was that experience like for you and do you feel the location helped to shape your sound?
Australia was a very beautiful place to grow up so it was in all, a pretty great childhood experience. I grew up in a rural town, so spent a lot of time in wide, open spaces, fighting crocodiles with my bare hands, that kind of thing. In terms of it shaping my sound, my life in Australia made me certain that I never want to make/listen/partake in country music but I think that’s about it. My own music education was only really classical and musical theatre based. Growing up in Australia has definitely shaped my lyrics though and my artistic direction with my projects, those experiences gave me the world that I want to capture.
You returned to the UK to pursue your music career. What did you feel the UK could offer you that the music scene is Australia couldn’t?
I returned to the UK for my sanity more than anything else. I spent a few months at a music school in Sydney after graduating high school but I hated it, dropped out and began to feel very lost. Australia can feel disconnected from the rest of the world and I wanted to be in a place that felt like anything was possible. There is so much energy in London, some of the world’s best musicians started out here, I guess I wanted to put myself onto that same playing field and see what would happen.
Was there a defining moment when you decided to pursue a career in music?
I decided in my last year of high school that I had to try it, otherwise I would grow up wondering ‘what if?’ I suppose the defining moment came when I dropped out of music school. I realised a music degree was not going to get me to where I wanted to be and then the whole idea of pursuing music became very ‘all or nothing’ for me. I just had to dive into the deep end instead, so I moved to London, met some producers on Gumtree and started recording my songs.
What else do you have in store for 2017?
I’m going to release the rest of my EP and hopefully start gigging, because I’ve been rehearsing a lot. I’ve also begun writing and recording a second EP and creating visuals for it. I’ve got lots of ideas, so I’m really excited.
Parker’s single ‘Runs and Rides’ is available now.