HUP caught up with Raglan-based Folktronica starlet Parabola West ahead of the release of her latest single 'New Moon', out tomorrow, April 24. Drawing inspiration from Celtic & Nordic folk roots, organic instrumentation, and electronica, Parabola West’s music is a lush blend of ethereal and enchanting layers. “‘New Moon’ is inspired by the idea of is a deep and ancient wisdom within each of us, passed down from our ancestors. It’s an invitation to explore that possibility and to reconnect with the natural world.”
Kia ora! For the uninitiated, tell us all about Parabola West.
I'm a singer / songwriter based in Raglan, and I write a piano-driven mix of folk and electronica. I love mixing the sounds of ancient instruments with synthesisers and electronic drums, and there is a lot of Celtic and Norse folk influence in the sounds I tend to use.
What or who has driven you to create your own music?
Music has always been the place where I turned to process my emotions. Growing up some of my main influences were Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Enya, Enigma, Depeche Mode, and New Order. (Although my first vinyl was Sesame Street's Disco album and I still listen to "Me Lost Me Cookie at the Disco" pretty regularly.) Around my teenage years I started writing my own songs by putting my poetry to piano, and I found it became a sort of therapy for me.
Have you been in many other bands?
Many years ago I was in a UK-based band called Dreamfield. Our music was described as 'left-field-trip-hop' and we split up just before I moved to New Zealand in 2003. I took a 10 year break from music but I never lost the dream, and in 2014 I released a debut EP of original songs under the name Parabola West. Most people in my life at that time were really surprised because they had no idea I was a musician. Also, they thought the name was weird.
How do Parabola West songs come to be?
Usually a song starts with just the raw emotion or idea, and then a melody and a few words might come to me when I'm walking or driving. By the time I'm sitting at the piano, the song starts pushing its way out. Once I have the basic structure of chords and vocal melody, I'll start building a demo in Pro Tools. That's when it starts taking on shape and dynamic. If after all of that I still like it, I send the session to my producers Andrew & Scott Newth and the recording fun begins!
What are your plans for the next year in terms of releases/tours etc
The rest of this year for me will focus on fundraising and recording, with the goal of releasing my debut album next year and celebrating with a tour. Woo!
Ok, 'pretend promoter' time...if you could organise a show anywhere in the world who would be on the bill, will where would it take place, and what are you drinking?
It's an outdoor show underneath the northern lights on a clear night in Iceland. And since this is my dreamworld, I'm opening for Agnes Obel and Aurora. I'd be drinking mead out of a dainty horn, and planning a co-write with Eivør. Dreams are free!
What is the best gig you've ever ever been to?
I was lucky enough to see Prince perform in New Zealand shortly before he passed. He was incredible and captivating and hilarious and overwhelmingly talented.
What is your favourite Hamilton music memory?
Going out to watch a great night of music at Nivara Lounge and then rescuing a stray kitten from their car park who now rules our household.
'New Moon' is released tomorrow, April 24 and is available from parabolawest.com