Vincent Parker is Uninterested in Anything but Future Music
This live PA electronica artist finds love everywhere - even on the bus
A year ago, I did an interview with Vancouver IDM upstart Vincent Parker. (He also creates awesome indie show posters.) The interview was about his then recently released record HYPO. It was a phone interview and we chatted while Vincent was biking home from work. That was a first—chatting with someone while he was biking home.
That interview didn’t end up airing and whenever I would meet Vincent around town—after he opened for the Protomen (the videogame inspired rock opera band) or while he manned the door to the Red Gate (an underground art and performance space)—I always felt bad. While waiting for his set to start at the Red Gate Vincent told me his wild and exciting plans for an electronic music label and blog. It was hard not to appreciate his dedication to independent electronic music.
A year later, Vincent Parker is releasing HYPO REMIXED, so I thought this was a chance to set things right and let other people know about one of the more intense and passionate members of Vancouver’s IDM scene. Vincent has made both HYPO and HYPO REMIXED available for download on his bandcamp page. HYPO is “name your own price” (and that price could be $0) and HYPO REMIXED is free. You really don’t have any excuse not to check out his work.
Here is my chat with Vincent.
Scott Wood: Hello Vincent! You released an electronic album HYPO last year. And you've recently released a HYPO REMIXED album. Congrats! First let's hype you a bit. HYPO REMIXED was recently reviewed in Vancouver's Beatroute magazine. In the review, the author says, "I’m a big fan of Vincent Parker and what he brings to the Vancouver scene." What does Vincent Parker bring to the scene?I'm not pretending to be anyone other than myself. I refuse to be a copy. I want to be a source of energy and innovation.
Vincent Parker: I’m not pretending to be anyone other than myself. I refuse to be a copy. I want to be a source of energy and innovation. My wish is that after you see me play or hear my albums that they make you feel something. Or think about electronic music in a new way.
Scott Wood: Why do a remix album? Were you not ready to let go of the songs?
Vincent Parker: Naw. It’s not that I am stuck on the music. The remix album was originally planned to be done last fall. Life decided that it had other plans… just a little late. I am currently very close to a new album being done.
Scott Wood: For HYPO REMIXED how did you assemble your motley crew of remixers? Tell me your proudest "recruit" and/or strangest story about your enlisting a remixer!
Vincent Parker: My choices were very much driven by intuition. I asked my closest producer friends and people who had shown me love in
Vincent Parker works the decks. the last year. Munpauzn from Lithuania out of the blue showed me some love on Soundcloud. We got to talking and I asked him if he was down to contribute. Super lucky to have him on board. Same with Lowe Frequency and the guys from the Tomorrow People, they contacted me with some love and I just asked. Jade Statues. He showed love randomly on a bus after seeing the Chapel Sound video broadcast we did. For me that’s amazing considering its Vancouver and everyone is so cold and closed off on the bus. I checked out his stuff and now he’s on the album (it’s amazing) and we are playing shows together.
Scott Wood: What does hearing all of your HYPO work remixed teach you about your output and your craft?
Vincent Parker: As with all my music, the album HYPO is a collection of recorded moments of musical interpretations of songs. If you see me live, you see a different emotional interpretation depending on the environment or vibe. I think HYPO REMIXED is a great way of understanding how songs can be interpretations. I gave them each the same parts of the songs that I use in every performance, one short loop of each channel and told them to go nuts. They didn’t have to follow any real structure. Just do what they do. For Boha’s remix, he didn’t use anything but the loop stem files in his remix, yet his interpretation is very much still him.
Scott Wood: Vincent, you are a fixture of the local electronic music scene. Back in 2011, you expressed your frustrations with the Vancouver scene. "Problems I have... even though Vancouver has this rich smorgasbord of [local] music… it seems to still be most interested in imported culture. That frustrates me." Do you still feel this way? How can we change it?
Vincent Parker: It seems to be getting better. Seeing people like Evy Jane, LongWalkShortDock, and Tribe Called Red blow up has been reassuring. Also lots of credit to Bass Coast team for picking up mostly local acts. Sequencial Circus has been a great thing in its growth too, exposing Live PA electronica to new audiences. Giving people something more to expect more from electronica. Still lots of work to do.My music, once given a chance and is understood within its context, is very digestible. Sometimes if a moment calls for abrasiveness, then, whatever, deal with it.
Scott Wood: Your music is sometimes described as having an "abrasive feel" or "experimental" (which can be a nice way of saying not easy to digest). What are your thoughts on indie electronic music and its responsibility to listeners?
Vincent Parker: Would you say that James Joyce (author of the classic novel Ulysses) should have been more digestible? Maybe it would be better in twitter-speak or a series of colouring book pages. My music, once given a chance and is understood within its context, is very digestible. It has moods. Sometimes if a moment calls for abrasiveness, then, whatever, deal with it.
Scott Wood: Being my Facebook friend has its disadvantages. One of them is that I can use your FB posts for interesting questions. A few weeks ago, you posted "it's always a weird feeling when you just message out of the blue one of your heroes... just to tell them that they made your day, or that their music/art helped you through a rough patch emotionally/creatively... it’s a good feeling. It’s a feeling filled with apprehension and the wish that you don't come across as a noob. You never know you could find out your hero is a douche... Well that's a risk. And that risk is worth it if it means giving back love." Can you tell me about one hero you'd like to write and how they helped you get thru a rough creative patch?
Vincent Parker: In that post I had just sent a message to Stephan Bozdin, a great producer from Berlin. I had been listening to his album Liber Ist between my albums Import Culture and HYPO. Elements of the way that he works with Synths and rhythm. Lowe Frequency from the Tomorrow People in Leeds (UK) sent it over to me because he found it similar to things I was unaware that I was doing and it really rejuvenated how I thought of my own sound. In electronic music now I find reaching out is mixed bag but it can be the source of some pretty cool collaboration.
Personally I would rather just get to know my heroes outside of their craft, to know they are human, that they feel things, that they get artistic blocks or that are as flawed as I am. To be able to be a sincere friend to them is better.
Scott Wood: A few years ago, you used to describe yourself as "it’s as if Sebastien Tellier and Mr. Oizo had a baby that grew up listening to Gansta rap, Slayer and Radiohead"... Who is Vincent Parker in 2014?Personally I would rather just get to know my heroes outside of their craft, to know they are human, that they feel things, that they get artistic blocks or that are as flawed as I am.
Vincent Parker: I’m that same dood. A little older… I might add that I was actually raised on early trance like Jean Michel Jarre.
Scott Wood: You went to art school here in Vancouver. Can you talk about how studying the visual and physical arts influences your music? What do you listen to while drawing?
Vincent Parker: At school I was in the general fine arts, so I was free to explore whatever I wanted. Started out in painting, didn’t like the politics, so I ended up going deep in drawing while still making music. My school was very theory-driven and I really got into it. I would swim about in the theory, mostly about artistic process, so as to make my mind up about my own process. I wanted to create work that was going to be rooted in more than just a fad or style. It enriches the process for me to have it roots in theory. It gives me my own personal benchmarks or standards for myself when I am alone and wondering if what I am doing is “good” or why the hell I even do this art.
When I draw I listen to lots of very different stuff. Lots of rap: Wu-tang, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye, The Weeknd, Drake, Araab Muzik, dipset, and Jim Jones. Lots of Sebastien Tellier. Some electronica: Apparat, Moderat, Kingdom, Aebeloe, and Chemical Brothers. Sad man music, like Bob Dylan, older Tindersticks, Twin Peaks, Lana Del Rey, or Springsteen.
Scott Wood: Thanks for answering my questions! Can you please introduce your favourite Vincent Parker video?
Vincent Parker: I don’t have any videos at the moment. But I would direct you to my live set of HYPO. Give you an idea of how I sound outside of the record.
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