I enjoyed seeing Anders Parker play solo last Thursday afternoon at The Beast House in downtown Portland. It was also nice to sit outside on a bench and rap with the troubadour. This is what we talked about:
Q. How do you feel about Iron & Wine stealing your look?
A. (laughs) Only the few and the proud can grow beards like this.
Q. Where do you live?
A. I’m in Burlington, Vermont now.
Q. Does that have an impact on your music?
A. We just moved. My girlfriend and I just moved up there (from Queens, NY) in July. Since we moved up there, I’ve been in the studio. I have a studio in the house and I’ve been working on a new recordings, so in the fact that I have the space to do it, yeah.
Q. Do you mostly play solo, like today?
A. I’ve done everything from duos to trios to bigger bands, but lately it’s been mostly solo stuff with an occasional band tour.
Q. I noticed that you were recording your own riffs and then using a loop. What does that bring to your show?
A. In my formative years, I used to play a lot of open mics. I came out of that singer-songrwiter/folk/pop/songcraft school. It’s sort of a murky thing to define. I started out playing acoustic guitar in coffee shops and bars. I liked doing that, but I guess for more of an interesting experience for me and hopefully for the people listening I like to do a little bit more. There’s spontaneity to it. A lot of improv involed in it. Covering all those bases on an acoustic guitar, you can do it to a certain extent, but it’s another flavor, another tool.
Q. What drives you to create? What inspires you to write and perform?
A. I just find music endlessly interesting. There are a lot of metaphors, but it’s kind of a river. There’s always something to learn. As a writer, there’s something about that spark of writing a tune. It’s hard to define. There’s a mystery to it. There are certain skills you can learn and techniques and what have you, but that actual spark of a song coming or showing up at your door is a pretty wild thing.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about your work and what you’re up to?
A. I’ve got a bunch of records I’m recording, right now. That’s what I’ve been doing the past two months. Finishing all these records that have been half-fininshed. I’ve used this year to write and record.
Anders Parker’s “14th & Division (Live)” was released by Portland label, Bladen County Records on August 14th. Parker is also a member of Gob Iron with Jay Farrar.