Check out the two songs on Lou Parker’s Unearthed account..
Lou is unique and undeniably talented. I tracked her down and we hung out! Shot some photos and I asked her some questions!
Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m Lou. I love books, Banrock and mentally boycotting anyone who refers to Sizzler as Sizzlers.
What is your relationship with music?
In a word? Ambivalent. Music brings me great satisfaction and has always been the one constant in my life that has provided me with a source of fulfilment. People come and go, but there’s always music. On the other side of the plate though, it also tortures me and brings me great frustration and for that reason we can go for months without dancing. It’s not unlike a relationship you would have with a human being. We have arguments and it’s a lot of knowing when to walk away and come back when one of us (me) is ready to take things further.
Do you draw inspiration from any artist in particular or genre from a specific time?
When I was about thirteen, a friend introduced me to Tori Amos. If you don’t know about Tori, she’s essentially a pianist prodigy and she writes these beautiful, quirky but often dark songs about her life and her lyrics are just so confronting, so honest. I think that’s definitely where I’ve developed a lot of my songwriting style from. Tori taught me to be an honest writer and in turn has made me more honest in my everyday life.
I’ve always been turned on by classic rock and metal – Led Zeppelin, the Doors, the Rolling Stones, you get the idea. Nothing gets me high like the music from those earlier eras and that’s why riffs are somewhat prominent in a lot of my music. I CANNOT STRESS MY LOVE OF A GOOD RIFF, especially if it involves a minor key and Jimmy Page, but whatever.
Secretly my dream is to ditch everything and become a blues guitarist, go live in some desolate part of the world and make the most organic music possible with whoever’s willing. Society and technology have this weird, underlying restriction on my creative process and so I think I’d like to be able to be somewhere a little more quiet, a little more simple. I want to gain inspiration from reality, not from some degenerate, uneducated opinion I’m fed via a screen.
In June you released a single titled ‘All the Girls Love Nicholas’, tell us about how that song came about?
Years ago I worked in a surf shop and this kid started showing up pretty frequently. He was one of those people who just kind of stood out. Very charismatic, confident sort of dude. Long, golden hair, blue eyes, always had a skateboard of some description in one arm and any one of a number of girls in the other. We got to chatting one day and that soon led to us becoming pretty close friends. I would get these messages from random girls asking if Nick and I were together and if not, could they have his number. I don’t think he minded. I think anyone in his position would have enjoyed the attention as much as he did.
The song was really just a joke and I never actually intended for anyone to hear it outside of my bedroom. It came together in maybe twenty minutes one afternoon and I closed the book on it straight away. It’s hard to know how people are going to react to having a song written about them, so I just decided it’d be one of those things I would keep to myself.
A few months later, however, I was drinking with a few friends at one of their brother’s places and as I went out back to grab something from my car, I spotted this old piano and I couldn’t help myself. I was always pretty private about my music so I was trying to play as quietly as possible, I really just wanted to see how this particular piano sounded. I started playing the intro to Nicholas and next thing one of the boys walked past and was like, “What the hell was that? Play that again.” I reluctantly obliged and then pretty soon everyone was listening. It wasn’t long before word got back to Nick and he was begging me to play it for him. Now he tells everyone he’s the Nicholas in the song, so I guess it all worked out.
How hands on are you with the production and recording of your music?
I’ve been fairly hands on in the sense that I had an idea of what I wanted to achieve and I’m lucky my producer not only shared my vision, but more or less gave me free reign as far as how I wanted things to pan out. It was important to me for my music to sound as real and as unedited as possible. Of course there is necessary editing that took place, but I wanted people to feel as though they were sitting in a room with me. What you hear is definitely what you get in a live performance. I remember hearing the first edits and being pretty confused as to who was singing on the album. Production was like, “That’s you, who else would it be?” And I was like, “I can’t even recognise my own voice. We need to strip this back.” It was completely unrealistic and I felt so uncomfortable with this machine I had been transformed into. But that was the beauty of this project, I got to do what I wanted and if I didn’t like something, that was okay, we found a way to make things work.
I grew up listening to music that was essentially recorded on tape machines and not the equipment we have today and that’s the calibre of music I have come to appreciate above all things. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with modern music, hell I listen to everything from Vivaldi to Vince Staples, but I enjoy the little fuck-ups, the breaks in my voice, the pings of a guitars strings as they’re released between notes, the sound of a hand sliding it’s way up a fret board. It’s those little imperfections that give the music character that can’t be obtained any other way.
Do you have any plans to release more music in the coming months?
I do. There will be a new single out on the 10th of November and an album will follow early next year.
Does your music represent who you are as a person or represent things you have been through?
I would like to think it does both to some degree. My music is a reflection of the most honest version of myself. What I write is exactly how I really feel about any given topic. I’m not necessarily out to attack anyone, but hey, if you piss me off enough I might just write a song about you. This is, however, not an invitation for anyone to go out of their way to annoy me. I try to write only from my own experiences and observations. That’s the easiest way to connect with people. If someone can relate to something I’ve said, that’s groovy as.
What do you as an artist stand for?
I feel as though there are a great deal of musicians in the modern day, creating music that they feel they should be writing due to the success of others, instead of being motivated to write about who they actually are and what their life is and the experiences they have personally obtained. And guess what? It works. It’s keeping the music industry alive, somewhat. But I feel as though that can only go on for so long before you realise you have no idea who you are and what it is you as an artist are really about. Just because someone jumps off a cliff, doesn’t mean you should too.
Music for me is my take on things, whether anyone agrees with that or not is anyone’s guess, but I think those musicians who are pushing the envelope are the ones who are crossing those lines, covering ground that hasn’t yet been walked on, saying things that people are too afraid to put out there. You believe in aliens? Fucking write a song about it, yo. You want to stand out? Bring up something controversial. It could be something that’s been done a million times, the important thing is that you do it your way. So I guess, in answer to your question, (and I realise this is the biggest cliche), but being myself and not someone else’s version of myself is pretty important for me as an artist.
What’s the best piece of advice given to you?
Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. Work hard on your own game. It’s so easy to get caught up on the success of those around you, but don’t let yourself think it’ll never happen for you. Run your own race and don’t compare yourself to anyone – ever.
What’s your point of view on the current state of the Australian music industry?
I’m not even sure I even have the experience to qualify for an opinion on this topic just yet, but I definitely do have one. There is so much utter bullshit surrounding what is essentially a very simple concept. All I want to do is write and release music and yet there is all of this excess crap involved with how it’s done if you want to really get anywhere. I do believe the Australian music industry is a pretty weak standpoint that is still somewhat developing the skills to really do what can already be offered for artists overseas. You know what they say, you never really make it until you’ve made it in the US or UK. Once you do that, no doubt Australia will all of a sudden give a shit about you and want to claim you as their own. I feel as though, just like with anything, you never really know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone and the AMI is no different.
Do you think Triple J Unearthed is the best option for upcoming artists to gain exposure?
Unearthed is great, don’t get me wrong (it definitely can help), but I think the misconception is that you have to be played on triple J to be anything and I think that’s not necessarily the case. Unearthed is not the only way to be heard. It’s as easy as sending your music to whoever you see fit. Hey, they may or may not play your stuff, but if you don’t try you’ll never know. Hustle. Don’t wait around for people to come to you, because there’s no guarantee that’ll ever happen. Put your shit on Unearthed, sure, but don’t let that be where the train stops is all I’m saying.