Australian born, Bryony Parker, aka Parker, moved to London to pursue her dream career in music. Studying at Access to Music and promoting herself caught the attention of several industry professionals, including Draper, with whom Parker collaborated on several songs. Since her 2015 single ‘Thighs’, the 22-year-old has released two songs in 2017, her most recent ‘Doubles’, being released last week and packed full of synth and sultry alternative sounds. We caught up to hear more about living in different countries, writing songs, her style inspiration and making music videos…
WBYT: You have just released your new single ‘Doubles’, where did you get the inspiration for this song?
Parker: Out of everything I’ve written so far, ‘Doubles’ is the most honest. I was very lost when I graduated high school and spiralled into a very lonely place. I could talk forever about this, but basically the song is about that time in my life, paired with the guilt I felt for eventually leaving home to deal with it. The breakthrough I had during all of this was realising that I was the only person that could save me. Your mental health is so important, it will make or break you and that’s what I mean by the lyric in the track, ‘You know I’m scared of myself, more than anyone else, right?’ All of the time spent introspectively beginning to figure these things out is what inspired the song.
WBYT: The song talks about moving to London to make music, what was it like moving here?
P: Moving to London was an adventure. I had just turned 18, I didn’t know anyone or what I was doing. I just had a really strong sense of purpose. I dove straight into working. All I did was work full-time, bartending and waitressing, and all my spare time went into writing music and trying to meet the right people. It wasn’t very glamorous but it was very freeing. It felt very affirming to finally be somewhere where I could explore everything I want to do and be.
WBYT: What do you think about the music scene in London? And, what do you like most about living in London?
P: The music scene in London is amazing but I don’t go to as many gigs as I should. It’s really motivating to be in a place where you’re surrounded by creative people doing exciting things. I really like the anonymity of living in a city as big as London. I love all the different types of lives intertwining and coexisting. I love the eternal creative energy, the galleries and the people I’ve met.
WBYT: You say that you use the juxtaposition between Hackney and rural Australia as a key influence. How has growing up in Australia and living in different countries influenced your songs?
P: It would be the subject content more than anything. In these songs about Australia I’m writing about driving, house parties, my family, the ocean and the sameness of it all. Whereas, life in London is fast-paced and unexpected. I’ve become a more honest, authentic version of myself since living here and the songs I’m writing now reflect all of that instead. I’ve said something similar in another interview but sonically, I don’t think Australia has consciously influenced my music at all. It only gave me an intense dislike for country music, which was, in boarding school, like my own private Chinese water torture. When I graduated, I deleted all the Nickleback music from my iTunes library. I’m not sure why it was there in the first place, but it felt like a very therapeutic purge and I emerged from that moment a new and better version of myself.
WBYT: You’ve spoken about having synesthesia, which causes an inherent association between words and colours. How has this affected your music?
P: It’s something I only recognised I did a few years ago and it’s like a muscle I’ve strengthened and honed. It has become the way I develop ideas from the very beginning. So instead of just sitting down to write, I find a colour scheme I’m really drawn to (for January’s EP, it’s black, green and pink) and decide that will be what my new project will ‘look’ like. I name that project and then put together a mood board of images and a track list of titles which fit thematically. As I’m writing songs, I need to be choosing words which invoke those colours in my mind and I continuously return to and reference the mood board as I’m writing, to make sure it all makes sense in my head. I am a lot less neurotic than that all makes me sound.
WBYT: How do you usually go about writing a new track?
P: Snowballing off the last question, I always start a track with the title, so figuring out what that will be usually unlocks the rest. I figure out what I’m trying to say with the song, refer back to all the images I’ve collected and then sit down at my keyboard to write, preferably alone in my bedroom, with some wine. Then I record these ideas in GarageBand and send them to whoever I’m working with at the time and we go from there.
WBYT: What is one song that you wish you had written?
P: The Australian Idol Final 12 single – 2003.
WBYT: If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why?
P: This is a really difficult question, there are so many incredible artists in the world. I write a lot of prose though and it would be amazing to have someone like Joan Didion, who I really love and respect, read my writing and give me her honest feedback.
WBYT: The artwork for your singles is always so artistic and intriguing, how do you choose the photos?
P: For me, the visual side is so important, it makes the song more tangible and communicates the idea I’m trying to put across. I usually have an idea in mind while I’m still writing and it’ll be dependent on what colours I see the song as being. So far, I’ve either scrolled through images me or my friends have taken until I find one that matches the song or I’ll create it myself, which is what I did for ‘Doubles’.
WBYT: You’re very stylish, where do you get your fashion inspiration from?
P: Thank you! I get it from my friends mostly. In their confidence to wear whatever they want and to embrace clothing as their form of self-expression, I’ve found mine too. In Australia, (at least in the parts I grew up), the clothes you wear become a kind of uniform, everyone looks the same, dresses the same and no one really breaks that mould. Although one of my friends in high school once described me as ‘brave’ for wearing a dress with puffy, tulle sleeves, but I’ve come to realise she was probably right. It’s been my friendship group and living in London that I’ve discovered the true value of fashion, the fun in experimenting and the thrill of dressing for nobody but yourself.
WBYT: You’ve always been transparent about your political beliefs, especially regarding Trump and LGBTQ+ issues. Do you think it’s important for all artists to use their platform this way?
P: I think so. People turn to art and music in particular, for comfort and as a momentary escape from their thoughts or lives, which is so important and that comfort is a basic, human need. BUT I feel like we are also at such a pinnacle, critical point on little spaceship Earth, for so many reasons, that we need to be paying attention and can’t afford to turn a blind eye to the issues that really matter and artists are able to communicate those issues in accessible, understandable ways. I feel like artists with large audiences actually hold so much power in influencing our social consciousness and they have a responsibility to use that power for good. Sometimes, I like to imagine all the Kardashians giving up their fame and fortune to save the uncontacted tribes of the Amazon or something. That’s the kind of groundbreaking revolution I’m looking for.
WBYT: Your song ‘Runs and Rides’ had an amazing video, can we expect one for ‘Doubles’? Also, what is it like shooting a music video?
P: Shooting the ‘Runs and Rides’ video was a really special moment for me. We actually filmed it a few days before I flew back to Australia for the first time since moving to London, so I was quite emotional. All of my closest London friends are in it, I was quite nervous and got a bit drunk but I loved making it and I love the final result. I’ve got lots of grand video plans for songs that I’ve been recording more recently, so I hope I’ll get to make them. There is a video for ‘Doubles’, it’s a lot more DIY but I am really proud of it. I edited it myself and went a bit crazy doing it. I was seeing video static in my sleep by the end.
WBYT: What are you working on at the moment? And, what can we expect from you next?
P: I’ve been writing and recording my second EP and I’m really excited by it. My first EP comes out in January  and then this one should follow closely behind. I’ve been rehearsing, so live shows can be expected soon too.