It can be difficult to stay productive as a musician without shows to look forward to, according to Whitehorse and Toronto-based producer Jeremy Parkin. The energy performers get from performing and feeding off a crowd goes a long way to stoke the fires of their creativity, and can’t quite be replicated by anything else. Parkin is in the same situation as musicians everywhere; every show he was looking forward to this summer has been cancelled or is likely to be.
“I feel like there’s just a hole in my chest,” he said. “It’s such a deficit in my life. Not having that source of inspiration has been pretty hard.”
Parkin is one half of Whitehorse hip-hop duo Local Boy, along with his close friend and long-time collaborator Kelvin Smoler. muThe duo also had a song, ‘Eyes,’ featured in last year’s Beneath the Broadcast video project by Big Boat Records and Something Shows.
Parkin and Smoler were planning a packed gigging season this summer, but just around the time they were waiting to hear back from some festivals and applying to some more, the cancellations and postponements began.
“My plans have always been solidified for what I’m gonna do during the summer around May,” said Parkin, adding that these last few weeks would have been his time to finalize plans and signing on for more performances.
Because he’s not able to plan shows right now, and doesn’t need to spend the time preparing for them, Parkin has found extra time to work on recording and mixing music. He’s recently produced and mixed singles in collaboration with rapper Germain Carter and hip-hop duo Dem Rosé Boys, and is working on tracks with artists Scotti and NRMN, whom he met in Toronto. Parkin has also been putting much more time into Local Boy’s debut album than he thought he’d be able to.
Some of the material listeners will hear on Local Boy’s album goes all the way back to the group’s inception in 2016, but because of this unexpected extra time for creativity, there will also be lots of new elements the artists hadn’t necessarily planned on including.
Parkin and Smoler have been meeting for a few sessions a week, just as they would if they were rehearsing for shows, but right now it’s all about writing, recording and producing. Parkin also mentioned he and Smoler are using this time to refine and improve everything from the production to the lyrics, so while these times can be stressful and frustrating, there is a bright side, in that Local Boy’s work will turn out stronger for the extra time spent working on it.
It has been a challenge for Parkin to stay productive without being able to see the payoff of his work at live concerts, but he is confident fans who are missing live shows will be happy to hear new music from the artists they follow. As for when he’ll be performing again, that’s dependent on a number of things. Parkin says he doesn’t see his gigging life going back to “normal” until a COVID-19 vaccine has been developed and distributed, but hopes smaller, distanced shows can be a possibility before then.
“I think everything will kind of start off really at a ground-level,” he said. “It’s not like the world is ever gonna be exactly the same after this.”