We chat about big ambitions, building music from colour, and bank-related felonies
E.PARKER is international. Moving from the UK to Australia when she was young, she eventually found herself back in London, trying to make a move in the music scene. â€˜I moved pretty much as soon as I turned 18,â€™ she tells us, â€˜I was just quite miserable, I didn't really know what to do or what my next steps should be.â€™ The music, it seems, was an out for herâ€”one massive chance at doing something creative. â€˜Leaving high school kind of really threw me so I thought, y'know, if I'm gonna try this whole music thing I should give it the best shot I can and not try it half-heartedly. â€™
A lot of E.PARKERâ€™s creative process begins with synaesthesia. Itâ€™s a trait that manifests differently in a lot of people, so we wanted to know exactly how it shapes the songs she writes. â€˜I was noticing that I was kind of compartmentalising words as colours and it became something that I really valued, the visual aspect of music. It's like a muscle that I strengthened, and now it's a tool I use to help shape the songs I write.â€™ And as she explains, it goes a little further than just being that kind of tool; for her latest release, the colours are the foundation. â€˜The titles of all the songs kind of match the colour scheme that I will choose for a project. For instance, the single I just released, â€œGodspeedâ€, is like gold, pink and blue. All the words are those colours, all the visuals are those colours, so it helps me organise things.â€™
â€˜For me, I need the songs I write to evoke imagery in my mind. Especially, I think, the new music. When I hear the lyrics back, they make me see things, so I hope other people get that as well.â€™
'For me, I need the songs I write to evoke imagery in my mind.'
â€˜Everything I do starts with the imagery,â€™ E.PARKER continues, â€˜For me, a song is a kind of...ugh, this is such a wanky analogy...it's kind of like a sculpture. It's there and it exists, and I know what I'm trying to make, and I'm chipping away at everything it isn't until it reveals itself.â€™ Her process involves a groundwork of imagery, upon which songs are built. â€˜I have a full page of images that's like "this is what my EP looks like". When I'm stuck for ideas, that's what I look at. It all starts with the visuals. Once I find an image, I can't really deviate from that.Her music, which has drawn comparisons to Lorde and Lana Del Rey, is a blend of dreamy electropop soundscapes and lyrics that reflect E.PARKERâ€™s youth and travels. However, her music didnâ€™t really stem from any particular inspirations. â€˜I grew up learning classical music. I was taught classical vocals, classical piano and violin, so I didn't really grow up being into music. I wasn't a cool kid, I don't know much about music.â€™ Still, she credits Arcade Fire and Marina and the Diamonds as two artists that have shaped her approach. â€˜Those two, they were a sort of turning point for me. Arcade Fire was a new way to write lyrics, Marina was like "oh god, she moved to London at 18 and was successful, maybe I could do that too!".â€™
In her Twitter bio, E.PARKER claims that she makes â€œmusic to rob banks toâ€, and that actually has more meaning than you might think. â€˜I really wanna get the dramatic aspect,â€™ she tells us, â€˜If I had the money I would love to do that with the visuals too. I mean, obviously â€œGodspeedâ€ just came out. This whole project, I'd love to turn into a half-hour film.â€™ Given how important the aesthetic is to the songwriting process, itâ€™s not surprising that sheâ€™d have big ideas for videos.
Having moved and kickstarted her musical career when she was still quite young, we were curious to know whether her approach has changed much. â€˜The first EP I recorded when I was 19. I moved here, I met Jamie Oborne from Dirty Hit records and he was like "I think you've got something, I'm gonna put you in the studio with one of my producers" and I did that for like a year and we made this EP.â€™
â€˜I didn't really know what I wanted my music to sound like,â€™ she elaborates, â€˜so I'm really proud of the songs, but I was still finding my feet. I was more open to suggestions. Now I have a lot more confidence in my vision. I know what I'm making is good, I don't wanna compromise on things as much as I did before.â€™
Sheâ€™s already explained the aesthetic that drove â€œGodspeedâ€, but we asked E.PARKER about the meaning in the lyrics. â€˜It's basically an ode to 18-year-old me who hopped on that plane by herself, and how proud I am of that girl. It was terrifying, and she was miserable, but she did it anyway. When I get worried, that message relaxes me. Also, there's all these little hints of my life in Australia and an ode to my grandparents.â€™ There are touches of E.PARKERâ€™s working life in London in the song, tooâ€”it sounds like an introspective, motivational anthem. â€˜Maybe all of the last two years I slaved away to make this new stuff and I really put a lot of money into it, and I had a shift at a bar, and the idea came to me while I was working. I wrote it all while I was doing my shift.â€™
Following her singles, including last monthâ€™s release of â€œGirlâ€, E.PARKER is turning her attention to an upcoming EP. We asked for some details on the release. â€˜I don't know when I'm gonna release it, this year for sure, maybe mid-year. It's quite long. I've written about eight songs. Six of them are pretty much done.â€™ While there are no concrete plans for actually getting it out there, sheâ€™s got the creative aspects locked down. â€˜I think a lot of creatives in London are so talented and they're just working in bars. There's this real disparity between what they're doing and what they wanna be doing. I just made this world up and I'm singing about the fantasy I wanna be in, so a lot of the songs have this duality between the fantasy world of my dreams that I wish I was living in and the reality I'm living in.â€™
'I just made this world up and I'm singing about the fantasy I wanna be in.'
E.PARKER represents a lot of rising indie talent in cities: sheâ€™s creatively ambitious, but the reality for many ends up being long shifts in unfulfilling, grindy jobs. Thatâ€™s reflected in her music, which is ever-hopeful for something bigger. Finally, she drops a hint about the possibility of a full LP. â€˜I've started writing for my debut album. The tracks don't exist yet, they're in my head and I think they'll sound amazing, but I'm enjoying that.â€™