Home is where the art is

Christian Parry mixes music in his bedroom

Parry mixing music sitting at home on his desk.
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Creating an album is difficult—harder, still, when your recording studio’s a bed.

Christian Parry, ArtSci ’19, makes it work.

The fourth-year psychology student balances his classwork, thesis research, and budding music career all within the confines of his poster-clad bedroom.

Parry squeezes his guitar, bass, amp, keyboard, microphone, and his technical recording equipment into the small space—along with a bed, dresser and desk.

It’s cramped—and even more so when you factor in his pet bunny hopping around the house. But for Parry, it’s sufficient.

The result of his do-it-yourself recording studio efforts is his EP, Sweet Life, released this past February. Parry produced the entire EP exclusively using the equipment and instruments kept in his bedroom.

“I like doing it by myself,” Parry told The Journal in an interview. “It’s very relaxing for me.”

Parry’s music is clearly influenced by R&B and soul musicians—he cited Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill and Daniel Caesar as influences—and this comes to the forefront of each of his songs. 

The songs have a quiet strength, with solid instrumentals highlighting Parry’s smooth vocals. The slow tempo and lounge-singer croon of his voice show strong jazz influences. His music is clearly developing its own warm, acoustic voice—belonging more to an old soul club than a house in the University District. 

“I think I’m finally getting to a point where I’m able to get the sounds I want,” he said.

Creating that musical identity isn’t easy, though. For many students, the thought of making and mixing an album in the throes of exams and midterms is a daunting feat.

But for Parry, it actually keeps him grounded.

“It makes [school] more bearable,” he said. “It detaches me from everything else that matters. When I’m in my room [making music] nothing else matters. I guess, too much of it … that starts to affect my school work.”

“It’s about moderation—I just can’t do too much else or I’ll fall behind.”

For Parry, that still means playing every single instrument on the album, save the drums and saxophone.

He uses his computer’s drum machine and makes his own homemade, bedside mix.

“I go, ‘Okay here’s the drums, then let’s add bass, now let’s do the guitar, now the piano, now the vocals.’ After a day, I usually can get most of that done,” Parry said.

His impressive repertoire of instrumental skills took him years to develop. He’s been playing guitar and bass for 11 years, and the piano for three. His dad had the most important role introducing it to him—and it’s his opinion now that counts the most.

“I always show my dad everything I do before it comes out,” Parry said. “He’s pretty knowledgeable. He went to school for jazz vocals and he introduced me to music. He’s always a pretty big opinion.”

Although knowledgeable, Parry’s dad’s criticism often tends to leave him the creative space he needs. He’ll tell his son which songs are “better,” but it’s a rarity for him to call one “bad.”

Along with his dad, Parry leans on his housemate for musical advice—often inviting him to give his input on every one of his songs.

“We just dick around and make shitty music sometimes when we’re bored or [when] we’ve had a shitty day,” Parry said.

With an EP and an album under his belt, Parry is hoping to produce a full length 10 to 12 track album this year.

Parry has one year left of school, and is planning to pursue music in a more full-time capacity once he’s done with his studies.

“My plan next year is to take a bit of time and really focus on music and give it everything I’ve got. Worst case, if it doesn’t work after a couple of years, at least I tried,” he said.

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