New artist Parker Bossley isn’t as green as other emerging artists; he’s been touring since he was 15 and worked as a session bassist. Finally breaking out on his own, Parker talks about tour life, working on new music and living in a camper in LA.
Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where are you from, and how did you first get into music?
I’m from Vancouver. I was born in a town called Abbotsford, which is kind of like a rough town. It’s like the murder capital of the province of where I’m from. So it’s pretty sketchy. And music was one of the things that you could do to stay out of trouble. I always had this natural affinity to it. My mother taught me piano, and I was just always obsessed with music. Then I moved to Vancouver, signed a deal and I’ve just been touring around ever since then. And I’ve found myself between Los Angeles and Vancouver now.
You channeled a lot of glam icons in your music video for your single “Lifted.” Who are some of your fashion and music inspirations?
With that music video I was really trying to do like a 90s Lenny Kravitz vibe. I love Lenny Kravitz and his style. I love Bowie obviously and T. Rex. And Nina Hagen I love as well. Grace Jones is a big style influence.
Do you think your music and fashion style go hand in hand with the message you are trying to send out?
I think so, yeah. I try not to over think too much, or over say too much, but like to me fashion is just another way to express yourself, its a form of arts, it is a layer to the whole story. So it’s a big part to the way I choose to live my life.
What did you learn from your experiences with touring with other people?
You learn a lot about what not to do. You learn how to not be a terrible person in the van. You learn that hygiene on the road is key. Stinky feet can ruin a drive. And you also learn how to keep the vibe up, because touring is hard. Its tough having a bunch of people together in a combined space, you just kind of figure each other out a little bit you know.
What do you miss most about home?
I miss my girlfriend, I miss her dog, Bear. You miss your family. Touring now with smartphone and video calls makes it easier to stay connected with everyone at home. I remember the first time I toured in Europe we didn’t have cell phones, so we were just using these pre-paid phone cards that were super expensive so you could only chat for like five minutes, and it was awful. You get lonely pretty quick. But these days its pretty chill.
What are some touring rituals that are important to you?
I drink wine by myself (laughs). I really savor the moments where I can be by myself. I think it is really important to find those moments when you are on the road and kind of give yourself [that]. Even if it just means going to the hotel for 20 minutes so you can have a shower by yourself or whatever. Alone time is probably one of my touring rituals. We listen to music and podcasts. Drea just got me into the podcast “Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. ” Its basically him interviewing comedians and stuff and they just chat for two hours. It is pretty good, its pretty funny. They kind of delve into these societal conversations. Its less about their careers and more about what they think about certain things. Its good, its cool.
Do you try to have a chill vibe on road since you give a lot of energy when you are performing?
Absolutely. That’s so true because when I go on stage, I always end up giving more energy than I have planned for. You have to keep a reserve of energy at all times, or else you run the risk of depleting yourself, and then you enter a state of depression on the road, which I’ve been in before. And being healthy, like not drinking too much, and trying to eat healthy. We’ve been doing a pretty good job on this tour.
Do you consider yourself an introvert at all?
I’m definitely an introvert. I think there are a lot of artists who are introverts. They seem extroverted because they go on stage and do this scary thing, but that’s how I deal with my introversion, its like a weird thing that I do. And then I needing to be by myself for 12 hours.
You kind of have to cope with it. It is a strange existence being on the road, especially when you are really in it and you’re a month in, and you’re in transitory, you are in limbo. Most of your day you aren’t really doing anything. You are just driving to this place, and then you do the exact same thing. And if you are not careful, you can lose the joy of it.
You said you’ve gotten depressed on tour before, how did you get out of it?
At that time, I was quite a bit younger and I wasn’t living very well. So cutting back on drinking was definitely a thing for me on that tour. The truth is I didn’t get out of that depression . That was when I was in Germany. And I was just really young, I was 21. And I just entered a brutal depression, and I just rode it out. And when I got home I dealt with my issues.
Tell me about this camper that you lived in?
When I first moved to LA, it was like this super sketchy, shitty camper mobile in Lincoln Heights, which was kind of a sketchy neighborhood. I definitely grew quite fond of it, as you do when you are wandering around writing songs. You meet people and you make these relationships with people that you would have never met before. I definitely look back with fondness to that camper that I was living in. It did leak, but it doesn’t really rain that much in LA so that was fine.
How long were you there?
I was there for just over a month or something. Which is technically a long time to live in a camper.
Did you write and record your album in the camper?
No, I was living in LA and was basically trying to figure out how I was going to do it. The recording came a little later, but I wrote my last single, “Lifted” when I was in that camper. I’m actually going in with Chris Chu from the Morning Benders and POP ETC, we’re recoding my album in two days in Los Angeles.
Are you excited or nervous?
I’m only excited. I’m so comfortable in the studio, and I know all these songs are amazing. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m really stoked on the songs. So I have no real nerves about recording the album. And Chris has been amazing, and I absolutely trust him. So just excited, which is nice to say, because I’ve had it both ways for sure.
What do you want people to take away from this album?
Obviously I want everyone to find their own meaning. So really I just hope people listen to it and can relate to it. I often write from a personal place, I’m writing about my experiences so hopefully they can take something out of it and it is a joyful experience.
Check out Parker Bossley’s video for “Lifted” below