When I first got into EDM, one of the first artists whose music I really fell in love with was Jake Sgarlato. The melodies and unique blend between bounce and big room really blew a hole in the water. However after a release on TNC Recordings with REGGIO, Jake Sgarlato seemingly vanished from the scene. Meanwhile, an anonymous producer by the name of Parker was generating waves in the melodic bass music scene with early support from major blogs as well as the likes of Borgore and Diplo. Here in our exclusive interview, we'll finally bridge these two aliases and learn more about the real Jake Sgarlato.
Let's start off with Jake Sgarlato, the project. Under this "alias" which is actually your real name, you collaborated with some of the biggest names in bounce and big room like Joel Fletcher, Dirty Audio, Pitchback, and REGGIO. You were known for incredible melodic breakdowns and an energetic bounce style. What can you tell us about this time in your career and what caused you to leave the project behind?
Thanks man, I appreciate that. I take a lot of pride in my melodies - I feel like it's the most important part of my music and the emphasis on them comes naturally. In the beginning, I was discovering my identity as an artist. Using my name was fun but it ended up making me feel trapped. I struggled with not knowing how to break out of what I was making and I got lost trying to cater to labels and make sounds I just didn't feel. The whole thing sucked me dry.
I eventually had a cool conversation with a friend about potentially rebranding. The more I thought about it, the more I knew a different name would allow me to expand on my potential as an artist and really express all I've learned as I've evolved. It felt like the new start I needed. It was something that was scary for sure because I knew this idea could fail, but I also knew I'd always pick myself up and keep going.
Parker started with a fair amount of hype due to the anonymous nature and unique, unpredictable releases. How did you form your marketing campaign and how do you think that anonymity played into your current success?
I think having a brand is super important. Simply, it helps bring a project to life. Especially from the start. I give a lot of credit to my manager, Steven, who helped me roll out everything. We knew once I started playing shows my face would be revealed and my agents were on board with that. I didn't want to hide my face while I played, I want people to see who I am. I'm a normal person just like everyone else. Fulfilling a huge dream of mine. I think it's important to have the brand connected to me. I still can't believe people have tattoos of Parker on them. It's incredible and at the end of the day Jake Sgarlato is Parker and Parker is Jake Sgarlato and they are both just me.
You've explored so many genres under the Parker alias. What has been your creative process and what genres are you enjoying right now?
I'm just making whatever I'm feeling in the moment. Once I was free of feeling trapped, all of a sudden, I could explore any sound I wanted. It's crazy how the creative process works with no boundaries. I'll just be hiking or driving and a melody will just come into my head. Not many people know this, but I record my melodies into my phone with my voice and come home to put it down in Ableton.
Having a good workflow is so important. I know what works best for me to finish songs efficiently. I work fast so that I don't lose my ideas and can keep building off my own momentum in each project. My ears were the hardest thing to master when I first started. I saw Porter Robinson talk about training your ears around 2011 and I would think to myself, "What the fuck does that mean? "And now I know what he meant. Your ears are your best friend for production.
You're a fairly active gamer in addition to your musical endeavors. What has been your experience with streaming and what do you enjoy most about being the gaming community?
I love streaming! Video games has been a huge part of my life to decompress. Now having a little bit of an audience, it's incredible being able to stream, talk to fans, and show them a ton of new music. That's one of my favorite things. If I have a fairl amount of people watching me, I'll be like, "Okay, who wants to hear new shit" and play all 140 Parker tracks on my computer. Yes. 140 songs. I love playing games with one of my good friends, catbread. We just fuck around a lot when gaming. We don't care about anything. We'll talk shit to each other and other people, and everyone is always laughing. I have the funniest clip ever that sums up our gaming life.
This year has already started off big with my Chainsmokers remix. I had never had a major artist like them mess with my music and so it really lit a fire under me to keep showing up for this work everyday. We are also currently working on a massive tune that they recently dropped at ULTRA. Which was the craziest feeling ever. They mashed it up with LIL NAS which made it pop off even more!
I'm really cracking down on the little things in my career now - things that I may have missed a few years back. I'm spending more time building relationships with my fan base because connecting to people through the music is what it's all about for me. To the fans who have been with me or are new: I wouldn't be anywhere without you. All the messages keep me working hard and I respond to every one of them. All in all. This year has already been great. I am so thankful for how things are turning out. I plan to continue to strive to be the best I can be, not only for myself but the people around me!
Thank you so much to Parker for taking the time to answer our questions! Be sure to follow him using the links below!
Chris W. Lao
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