James Parker is a member of the Irish duo A Dark Horse along with Hugh Rodgers
Life for me is a reflection of Art be it in whatever form you wish to interpret it in. It’s been a long and sometimes difficult journey to fully come to terms with what it takes to make it right. And I’ve found … mostly … there is no right.
It’s all about exploring, making mistakes and then reflecting until you get to the point where it works. You no longer think. It flows and it grows into something in which you really shouldn’t have control over, for once you go to that place of control you lose the essence, the heartbeat of what is coming out of you. I have found through the process of being a songwriter, and I say that before I would say I am musician, you need sometimes to be a loner, to be outside of the group to truly see. It’s an unconscious step that gets one to become a songwriter for you have to give up all the ideas of what scene you are in and to write what is inside not out.
In the great sea that I sailed through sometimes a giant wave came crashing down and my anchor to hold me still as the ocean came to take me was my guitar, that’s how much it is a part of me. It is embedded into my skin like we are both made of the same wood, cloth, or stone. Housed together for the good times and the bad.
This is only my way and each has their own in this process but the times when I couldn’t write and was blocked by walls so thick and high were usually when I wasn’t living true to the self. I see it as a step into unknown. You open up, hit record on whatever form of machine you have, play, and there it falls out. All Artists will say about their best work that ‘it came out of nowhere!’ Maybe not in those words but regardless of those words I find that unless a song is coming to me which I feel sometimes and I know I will have to work on, the best songs come from the unknown when I’m fully locked into playing and the world doesn’t exist anymore. The only world that exists at that point of time is the one that I am creating. That’s when my best work comes out from me.
The EP was like that. Some stories of my life, others as if I fell into another’s life, but always all true to the song. The song is the master. It speaks of what it needs and that’s the way it should always be. If a song calls for a piece or a lead or anything, you work to give that. Anything else is all ego, the true essence of self pleasure. And that should only be used for the stage within the performance for the moment, or for the crowd, or hopefully both.
All I can say is, follow only what comes naturally to you as an Artist. Not what the group is dictating or society. Be a trailblazer and walk that lonely road
because it will get you quicker to where you want a be as a songwriter and a person. Rather than listening to others, follow your own lead.
Sometimes if you’re lucky you’ll find a collaboration with a person who believes in what you are doing for no other gain than the love of the songs you create. They undoubtedly help them grow into something greater, so be open to that. In that collaboration they may see a different quality to what you may dismiss off hand and in that respect I have found some of my best songs are the ones I have dismissed but Hugh has brought back to life.
Lastly never let the mind into it.The only true indicator of what is truly good work is the heart. So trust it.