Indie Mixtape 20: Richard Reed Parry Creates A World That Is Unique, Yet Somehow Familiar

Zachary Hertzman

You probably recognize Richard Reed Parry from playing a variety of instruments — including, but not limited to, guitar, double bass, drums, celesta, keyboards, and accordion — in larger-than-life indie rock band Arcade Fire. But after the Canadian band’s first tour of Japan in 2008, Parry stayed in the country for a few weeks, where he discovered the world of Quiet River Of Dust. It took almost ten years for the songs to come to fruition, and the the project’s first volume was released in 2018, on the autumnal equinox. Similarly, the second volume arrives on the summer solstice in 2019, an avant-garde exploration of self through the lens of Japanese folk myths, death poems, and British folk music.

On the eve of the release of Quiet River Of Dust Vol. 2: That Side of the River, Parry sat down to participate in the latest Indie Mixtape 20, revealing where he had the best meal of his life (hint: it was Japan), Chill Wildlife on Instagram, and Blade Runner.

What are four words you would use to describe your music?

New, Warm, Gently Disorienting

Years from now, how do you hope people will remember your work?

As a unique but somehow familiar world they can disappear into and re-find themselves, in their own way, at their own speed.

What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?

Thus far, maybe Dublin, Ireland? Really it changes. Depends what I’m doing. Maybe Barcelona?

Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?

I really draw a lot of inspiration from a LOT of people and places, depending on what I’m doing… but as far as Quiet River Of Dust music goes, probably Mark Hollisor, perhaps Nick Drake. Each of their approaches to music has such a deep, soft-spoken carefulness about it. A very “Heaven in a Wildflower” aesthetic. Such a deep quietude and sense of what’s been found through solitude, and wanting to quietly share that with the world, would that it had ears to listen, or the sense to slow down, to stop and notice.

Where did you eat the best meal of your life?

Japan. Over and over and over again. Too many places to name. Also, I can’t remember the names anyway. Most of them not particularly fancy places, just how that country does food, in general, is a miracle to me and I can eat it every day all day. And I have, on lucky occasions.

What album do you know every word to?

Ritual De Lo Habitual by Jane’s Addiction.

What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?

Depends on what day you ask me… Sneaking out of my summer camp counselor job and driving to Montreal to see The Orb live when I was 18 was pretty ecstatic. Recently, probably Beak in LA.

What is the best outfit for performing and why?

I have yet to find the best outfit for performing in. Depends entirely on the temperature of the room. When my nervous system kicks in onstage I tend to sweat a lot. Which makes certain outfits not an option.

Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?

On Instagram definitely Chill Wildlife. Twitter probably Patti Harrison.

What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?

I almost never listen to music on tour and if I do it’s way more likely to be instrumental. The last few years I’ve gotten a lot of play out of Bitches Brew by Miles Davis. But that’s not exactly a song…

What’s the last thing you Googled?

The difference between Mezcal and Raicilla. It was an hour ago but I’m still not exactly sure what the difference is.

What album makes for the perfect gift?

The Bach Unaccompanied Cello Suites played on double bass by Edgar Meyer.

Do you have a favorite hotel you enjoy staying at when you tour?

The Michelberger in Berlin is the loveliest.

What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?

I don’t have any tattoos, I felt like everyone I knew had one when I was in high school and it seemed more unusual not to so I went with that. I’ve seen a lot of aging emo types with a lot of tattoos and it’s made me feel very pleased about my decision.

What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?

Any actually good song I probably won’t flip from. Anything that sounds like music made for a real reason.

What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?

The Quaker meeting I grew up going to paid for my first double bass and I shall be eternally grateful, and my aunt and uncle paid for the bow I played it with, both of which I still have, and play.

What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?

Notice everything you can. Play music more and let yourself go where you want to go. Try everything that you want to try that feels good. It’ll all work out.

What’s the last show you went to?

Nadah El Shazly, at the Suoni Per Il Popolo festival in Montreal. SO HEAVY. So good.

What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?

Blade Runner. Edward Scissorhands. Also It’s A Wonderful Life

What would you cook if Kanye were coming to your house for dinner?

Probably leftovers but they’d be super delicious.

Quiet River Of Dust Vol. 2: That Side Of The River is out 6/21 on ANTI-. Pre-order it here. Want more? Sign up for the Indie Mixtape newsletter for weekly recommendations delivered directly to your inbox.