Jeremy Parker is a 31-year-old DJ, musician, and performance artist. Among Parker’s achievements: working with Eliza Ryan and Anne Apparu for MoMA PS-1’s Next Nikki, DJing at the Natural History Museum, and opening for hip-hop legend Slick Rick. After making the BULLETT team an exclusive summer mix-tape, Jeremy sat down to discuss sampling, inspiration, and collaboration. Stay tuned for Next Nikki, Jeremy’s new project with Cat Hartwell, and two new albums – Tha Charm and Museum of Modern Emotion (with Michally Diamond) out later this summer!
Jeremy: I grew up in the choir, learned trumpet at the age of twelve, and played actively most of my youth. I was very much involved in art, music, and performance as young child. I moved to New York and graduated from New School with a BS in nothing, basically taking interdisciplinary studies in music, architecture, performance, and art. It was what I needed at the time because I really hated school. I started throwing ‘Kill White!’, a dance party in Williamsburg, that led to music production and performance including the bands Durty Nana’s, Tha Pumpsta and Derierre, end eventually Jamstation and Next Nikki.
You are a well known DJ and fixture on the New York scene. What are the pros and cons of this?
Free shoes and clothes are a perk. I feel people have such strong opinions of me before getting to know me, but that’s life right?
When we first met you were DJing with Shaun Kessler. Do you prefer to tag team DJ?
Only if it’s Shaun Kessler, not to many people do I like to tag team with honestly, but I do enjoy the exchange and challenge of a tag team set.
In your line of work, sampling is major. What are your feelings on licensing and music sharing online?
On the industry – It’s complicated because there’s not a lot of money to support very hard working artists, but at the same time I admit to pirating most all music and software I can. I think it encourages a new direction for music that’s pretty exciting. As a musician, I know the traditional venue, label, and distribution formula doesn’t work like it used to. That’s completely fine by me. On sampling – A lot of the music I make starts with sampling, but usually gets replaced before being released. I get a lot of pressure from labels to not use samples, most of the time they don’t want to pay for clearance. I can use samples and pay homage to my musical influences through the release of mix tapes, much like the one I made for BULLETT.
Is there a medium or technique that you haven’t tried yet, which you’d like to experiment with in the future?
I just learned Abelton, and I love it. I want to do more live-improv based music.
What is your advice to a musician just getting started today?
Always be true to yourself, it’s the only interesting thing you have.
Where do you find inspiration?
I’ve really been lucky to work with amazing people like Shannon Funchess and Bruno Coviello of Light Asylum, Michally Diamond, Cat Hartwell, Keegan Mchargue, Shaun Kessler, Ry Fyan. I lost a dear friend and mentor this past year to a very fast cancer that took his life within six months. Gerard Anthony Smith is the reason I am so dedicated to music. He taught me classical guitar, produced the durty nanas, and truly believed and nurtured my writing and performance skills. He left behind a beautiful child and a huge network of creative people. I think of him daily and his immense selflessness. I dedicated both Museum of Modern Emotion (MoME) and Tha Charm to him. I feel like everyday I wake up with him kicking me in the ass to work as hard as possible, putting my 10,000 hours in. I haven’t kept tally but everyday I know I am getting closer. I miss Gerard dearly and thank him for giving me the strength to do this.
What is your favorite thing about living in New York City?
I fall in love with the city every day- there is something new to discover always in NYC. It’s super romantic. I bike everywhere and I love that I can do that. I am also a real lover of food, so NYC is the perfect place for me.
What has been your most memorable performance?
I really enjoyed playing with Mirror Mirror, Skint, and the Jamstation Step Crew at The Kitchen. It was a super special night that incorporated many different performance elements, including an interpretive dance trio as well as a step-crew, it was amazing!