By: Shayla Lee
The first time I heard PARKER’s single ‘High,’ I was transported into another world. I fell in love with the sultry yet groovy song and after taking a closer look into her other music and music videos, I felt like I became a part of the moody world that she has created.
Bryony Parker, the woman behind this beautifully dark musical world, grew up in Australia but moved to London at the age of 18 to pursue her dream of being a musician. From having her track ‘Thighs’ featured on MTV’s Catfish to collaborating with Rupert Lyydon of The Grand National, in just a few short years it’s clear that she has marked her place in the industry.
All of PARKER’s songs are unique but they all fit into her musical universe: moody, groovy, layered, and lyrically stunning. It feels like the kind of music that vampires would listen to. The attention to detail that goes into making sure each song fits into this world may be due to PARKER’s synaesthesia. For the people who aren’t obsessed with synaesthesia like I am, it’s when people experience different senses linked together at the same time. The most common type of synaesthesia musicians experience is chromesthesia which is the association between sound and color. Many musicians have been open about experiencing it including Lorde, Halsey, and Charli XCX to name a few.
We had the opportunity to interview PARKER and we chatted about how synaesthesia impacts her music, her latest single ‘High,’ and her innate need to constantly create.
FEMME RIOT: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What inspired you to become a musician?
PARKER: Sure, I’m British but grew up by the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Then, I moved to London as soon as I turned 18 to pursue music. I always took singing lessons and learned to play a few instruments growing up and I guess it just became my ‘thing.’ I don’t know why, but it’s always been what I saw myself doing and as the time came to choose a career path, I knew I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t at least try.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
I usually just describe my music sonically as electro-pop. I would say it’s emotive and I hope every song tells a story and creates a world of its own.
Where do you draw inspiration for your music? Do you have any musical influences?
I mostly draw inspiration from images. I figure out the atmosphere I’m trying to create and then source images which fit that description, then I work out my lyrics by colour association and go from there. In terms of musical influences, I like to try and emulate songs which bring me some kind of emotion. The music I’m starting to work on now is inspired by jazz mainly and music that’s more cinematic and dramatic.
You grew up in Australia but you now live in London. Has this move impacted your music?
It’s definitely influenced my music in terms of subject matter. The songs on this EP are younger and feel quite tropical, because I’m singing about Australia and living by the beach. Whereas the music I’m writing now to release next, is a little darker and more hedonistic or uneasy, because that best reflects my life in London.
Congrats on your new single ‘High!’ You explained in this article that the song shows the juxtaposition of being young and having dreams but being scared and hiding them at the same time. I think this is a common feeling for young people to go through, and I have definitely experienced this! Can you tell us more about this track? How do you stay inspired to chase your dreams?
Actually the story that inspired High mostly, is that I was out one night at a gig and met a guy who worked for one of my favourite record labels. I was so excited and we got chatting and he seemed really interested in my music but as the night wore on I realised he was just more interested in coming home with me and I remember being so upset because all I wanted was for me and my ideas to be taken seriously, but I’m not so bitter now I’ve written a song from the experience.
I don’t feel so inspired to chase my dreams right now. Instead, it’s more of an innate need to write. Every time I have a new idea, I have this insatiable need to create it but by the time it’s finished, I’ve found a new idea that I’m obsessed with and must create and the cycle continues. I’m just riding on the hope that eventually these ideas will make me some money and enable me to create even more and better quality work.
Every time I have a new idea, I have this insatiable need to create it but by the time it’s finished, I’ve found a new idea that I’m obsessed with and must create and the cycle continues.
‘Thighs’ was featured on MTV’s Catfish and has nearly 250,000 streams on Spotify! I love this one – it feels dark, raw, and has so many layers to it. Can you tell us more about this track?
Thanks! I’m glad you like it. Thighs was one of the first tracks I made with Rupert. It’s actually about the first date I went on with a girl when I moved to London. I’m bisexual and very open and (for the most part) comfortable about it now, but Australia, especially small towns can have very homophobic undertones and so it took a while for me to accept it. It’s called Thighs because we were crammed in the back of this car, thighs touching, holding hands and I was a nervous wreck. The song came out of my time reflecting on this night and how proud of myself I was for taking what was really a big personal milestone.
I have spent hours and hours reading about synaesthesia, trying to convince myself that I have it, and I have watched multiple Lorde interviews where she talks about her experience with it. I find it absolutely fascinating! Can you tell us more about your synaesthesia and the impact it has on your music? Are each of your songs different colours to you?
It is an interesting topic for sure. For me, it was a very small cognisant association I realised I was making and then I learnt to strengthen it like a muscle. I associate words, numbers and people or mainly just names with different colours. In general life it just adds this other layer to things, like I remember the buses I need to catch in London by what ‘colour’ they are, determined by their number. It has made an impact in terms of music in that my first step is to find a colour scheme that my project would be and then I find words and images that match that. In this first EP, the songs are a few different colours but the running theme is pink, black and green, although Doubles is blue and red (an anomaly). The cover art always has to match the song colours too. For my next project, everything is pink, gold and blue.
You released music videos for ‘Runs and Rides’ and ‘Doubles’ which are so interesting to watch. What was it like creating music videos for these two tracks?
Creating videos for the tracks was really fun for me and it’s something I’m trying to learn more about and have more control over. Runs and Rides was a dream to make because it coincided with my first trip back to Australia since I moved to London and it was all very overwhelming and affirming for me. Making the video for Doubles was a personal challenge because I wanted to see if I could do it on my own and I did and it was so rewarding to see the vision in my head come to life.
Have you faced any challenges being a woman in the music industry? If so, how did you overcome the adversity and do you have any advice for other women going through a challenge?
I think unfortunately, it’s still pretty standard for women to face challenges in any industry. When I first moved here I met a lot of guys who worked for record labels, who could be quite inappropriate, I was young, a bit naive and driven to succeed, so I guess that made me an easy target. I used to ignore it but now I’m learning to call this behaviour out because ignoring it leads to normalising it. My advice would just be to fake it until you make it, don’t try and shrink yourself, find the strength and power in your presence and let it carry you.
Fake it until you make it, don’t try and shrink yourself, find the strength and power in your presence and let it carry you.
What do you have in the works this year? Hopefully we will see you in Canada sometime soon!
I’m going to release my second EP in the second half of the year, I’m really proud of it so I’m excited to get that out. I would love to come to Canada, it looks really beautiful, I recently found myself in a Lonely Planet hole reading all about Toronto and I follow a bunch of really cool tattoo artists on Instagram based in Montreal.
What 3 songs are you currently listening to?
I’m currently listening to Bartier Cardi on repeat at the gym, Make Me Feel by Janelle Monae and Dancing With Character from Rae Morris’s new album.
Anything we haven’t asked that you want to add?
I’m about to release a charity project I’ve been working on in collaboration with CNX Studios, which was inspired by my song Doubles. All the proceeds will be going to Young Minds UK, so keep your eyes peeled!
We highly recommend checking out PARKER’s Instagram if you need some gothic warrior princess vibes in your life. You can also check out her Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify and become part of her musical world below.