In this edition of “Add to Queue,” we speak with arloparks, who will release her debut album of ethereal poetry-pop on January 29, 'Collapsed in Sunbeams.' From FrankOcean to Funkadelic , ’60s bops to indie-rock, here’s what’s on her playlist.
Ahead of her debut album, 'Collapsed in Sunbeams,' the ethereal singer tells us what's on her playlist.
NECHAMKIN: It’s funny that you mentionIn Rainbowsbecause I feel like that’s one album that comes up for almost everyone I ask. Radiohead has been such a lasting influence on artists of all genres.PARKS: Definitely. They were my most listened to artist on Spotify, and I’ve always been obsessed with
‘s voice and the way that they’re constantly evolving and reshaping and experimenting. I think he portrays melancholy in such a tasteful way.NECHAMKIN: Who would you say was the earliest musician to influence you?PARKS: Probably Otis Redding. I have very vivid recollections of listening to “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” or “Pain in My Heart,” and I just remember his voice really cutting through the noise for me. There was this sense of wistfulness. I remember listening to that song when I was in the car on the way to the shops with my dad when I was really young, and just being really moved and intrigued by it.
NECHAMKIN: And what was your first concert?PARKS: I was actually quite old. I think my first proper show I was 15 and I went to see Loyle Carner in Shepherd’s Bush with one of my best friends, and it was really an experience. It was my first experience of having that collective side of music because for me it was always very much a private exercise. I’d just put on my headset and go for a wander. But having hundreds of people around you shouting the words just felt so galvanizing. I remember leaving that venue and being like, this is something I want to do. headtopics.com
NECHAMKIN: Do you miss that feeling of the collective? Do you think there’s something that’s been lost for musicians and for everyone in the pandemic, not being able to have that experience?PARKS: Definitely. I think that playing live is one of the most special experiences. It’s kind of like you lose a layer of connection when it comes to music when you don’t have shows because that’s where I meet the people that are listening to my music. That’s where I connect, that’s where I can explain songs and really experience it in an intimate way with other people. And I think that that’s what I’m missing the most and what I look forward to doing the most with this album.
NECHAMKIN: Does it feel weird to be releasing an album when you’re not sure when you’ll be able to perform it in front of people?PARKS: I mean, this is my first album, so I’ve never really experienced writing or promoting an album in any other circumstance, so I’m kind of just riding the wave with that one. It’s definitely disheartening to know that it might be a little while before we can play live, but at the same time I’m grateful that I can bring comfort to people in a time when people are listening to music and needing art more than ever.
NECHAMKIN: Is there a song or an album that you’ve listened to during the pandemic that you feel like has carried you through? And, more generally, is there a song that always puts you in a good mood?PARKS: A song that always puts me in a good mood is “Only You” by Steve Monite. It’s this disco-y track and it just reminds me of being out in the sunshine with my friends and having a little bit of wine and just feeling free. That song really reminds me of summer. And the album that’s been keeping me company is definitely
Assume Formby James Blake. I think it has that perfect balance of romance, this sense of growth and healing, this sense of comfort. And whenever I listen to that album, especially songs like “Into the Red” and “Mile High,” it makes me feel like I’m in a dream. James Blake has really kept me company during the pandemic. headtopics.com
NECHAMKIN: Is there a certain artist, or a type of music, that feels like London to you?PARKS: Hmm, what music feels like London? When I listen toThe Streets, that reminds me of London. Or King Krule, especially that first album. When I think of London, I just think of the diversity, I just think of the fact that there are so many different layers and corners and there’s so much life and vibrancy to the city. Those stories really remind me of growing up here, and that sense of home and that sense of excitement that I associate with London.
NECHAMKIN: Do you have a dream collaborator?PARKS: Frank Ocean is a big one for me. WhenChannel Orangecame out, that was a really definitive moment for me in terms of realizing the fact that pop music can be so idiosyncratic. It can be anything, essentially.
NECHAMKIN: Do you have a favorite movie soundtrack?PARKS: Hmm, I’m definitely into film, I’m just casting my mind over. Because in the moment I’m always like, “Oh this is amazing,” but I never really go back and listen. I really enjoyed Sufjan Stevens’s work in
Call Me By Your Name. I know that’s quite an obvious one to pick, but I was a fan of him, especially the more stripped-back side of his work.Carrie & Lowellis one of my favorite records, so I definitely love that soundtrack.NECHAMKIN: There are so many times when you’re enjoying a soundtrack but you don’t necessarily go back to it because it doesn’t have memorable lyrics or a hook—it’s more ambient. You did mention ambient music. What kind of ambient music do you throw on? headtopics.com
PARKS: Oh yeah, that’s definitely my thing. I like this album calledPlantasiaby Mort Garson. It’s actually his music he made for plants, which sounds really strange—the full title isMother Earth’s Plantasia.I just find it so soothing. I’ve also discovered this album by this artist called Anne Laplantine, and it’s called
A Little May Time Be.I just love that sense of having really interesting, strange white noise playing in the background, especially when I’m writing poems or drawing or when I’m just trying to focus. There’s something quite hypnotic about it.NECHAMKIN: A lot of your songs—I don’t know if you would describe them as breakup songs, but they could be described that way. So what makes the perfect breakup song to you, and what are some of your favorites?
PARKS: The perfect breakup song, for me, has to just have a sense of honesty to it. I think that it has to admit that it’s sad and embrace all the different emotions that come with a breakup. It can be many different things. It can be triumphant, it can be kind of bitter, it can be showing that the person is still a work in progress and working to be happy without someone else. But I think it just has to have that sense of honesty. And I think that that whole
My WomanAngel Olsenis a good example of that. Songs like “Never Be Mine” pops because she’s going through that whole range of emotions of desperation and being triumphantly apart from someone and wanting them back and realizing how strong she is without them. It has that full range.
NECHAMKIN: Yeah, and it’s not cheesy.PARKS: Exactly.NECHAMKIN: Do you ever throw on a cheesy breakup song, or something more mainstream? Do you have any guilty pleasures in general?PARKS: Yeah, I listen to a lot of Sister Sledge,Britney Spears Read more: Interview Magazine »
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