A verified artist who’s embraced lockdown but ready for the next step — meet John Parry. Raw indie jams with humble, powerful lyrics are his game, but we caught up to chat about more than just the music.
RECORD WEEKLY’S INTERVIEW WITH JOHN PARRY
Hiya John, how are you doing?
I’m as good as someone can be in Britain right now. I hope you’re sweet but you’re from Britain too, so I assume you’re the same, haha.
Yeah, I definitely know what you mean! Now then, you’ve got a blue verified tick on your Instagram, so your status at an artist is obviously widely recognised. But where did it all begin for you?
I don’t think it’s as widely as I like; the dream has always been I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, so when that’s boxed off, I’ll be truly verified.
But it all started when I was about 16/17. I used to box and was really sporty, but getting punched in the face started to wear thin and left me with a crooked nose. I used to play music very casually, but it was very tame. I went onto do this London competition and won it, and it lit a fire in me.
I didn’t find my sound until quite recently, to be honest, and I’m very excited about the next project I’m going to be releasing. I think it’s a brilliant capsule of work, for me — both for now and for my sound going forward.
Which artists have been the biggest influences on your sound, if you had to narrow it down?
I’m a massive fan of artists and a very big advocate of smaller bands with huge sounds, so I’m constantly listening to new stuff.
I think I take inspiration from the realness of The Streets and the production of Jamie T, plus all the other genres I’ve come to enjoy over the years.
They say never to meet your heroes — have you ever supported any bands or musicians you’ve been a huge fan of?
When I worked in a pub, I actually served quite a few artists I love. One that stuck out was Isaac Holman from Slaves. When I gave him his change, I asked if he was satisfied and I saw a noticeable grin on his face.
I have met some absolute d*ckheads in the industry that you would think would be cool… but thankfully I wasn’t a massive fan. But that’d certainly ring true to never meeting them.
That’s sick about Isaac Holman! This mad pandemic/lockdown period has severely taken its toll on people’s daily routines, mental health, job security and general happiness. How have you been getting through? Have you been able to work on new material in this time?
In 2019, I actually worked through quite a lot to be honest. I was struggling with alcoholism and I was told that I had severe depression and anxiety, but I worked on it and through it. When it looked like we were going into lockdown, I was very worried that I’d slip into my old ways.
Thankfully I didn’t; I wrote two albums of songs in the first two weeks and I’m finally on top of everything. It’s made me really reassess my life and career. It’s been quite a positive experience, to be honest, and I really can’t wait to share everything I’ve organised and worked on!
As for gigging and touring, things are really up in the air. Have you had to cancel events or do you still have some in the pipeline for this year?
I had to cancel about five shows, which was gutting. But I have plans that I will be announcing very soon, although it’s a bit of a different way to think of gigs… I hope that it goes well.
The UK’s gone bonkers for banana bread, Netflix and TikToks, it seems — have you picked up any new hobbies since being locked down?
My baking skills are horrendous. I now have a small crush on Joe Exotic and I have questionable feelings about TikTok…
I haven’t picked up any hobbies really, but I’ve been doing this mad fitness thing called ‘Insanity’ to make sure I don’t put on any weight, and it’s working. But in terms of picking up new things, I’m now so organised it’s scary.
I have to say that ‘Slush Puppy’ is probably my favourite track of yours. Can you tease any new releases while you’re here?
Thank you very much man, that means a lot. Because I like you, I’ll tell you haha! I’m releasing a piece of work called ‘Bitter Sweet’, with a lead single titled ‘Beautiful Day’. I’ve got one on there called ‘Spilt Milk’ and, if you like ‘Slush Puppy’, you’ll love that.
Thanks for having me!