Meet Rya Park, who steps into a bright 2019 with Bitch
The Melbourne-via-Singapore-via-London musician will play two east coast shows this September.
Since her official debut single Billy arrived back in 2017, Singapore-raised but now Melbourne-based musician Rya Park has swirled underneath the limelight to become a must-listen act of the Australian rock underground; often found uniting distorted rhythms and punchy vocals on tracks that have littered that the time since - like last year's double-punch pairing of Tokyo and act your age. In her music - which feels parallel to 90s PJ Harvey (a comparison which stretches across coverage of her work thus far) or Megan Washington's most rock-infused experimental moments - Rya Park channels complex emotions into empowerment and musical expression; her vocals often feeling open and personal as they carve a lane amongst the heavily-layered production underneath.
On her latest single Bitch, however, this feels truer than ever. It's four-minutes of cathartic release that sees a slow-paced instrumental dizzyingly stir underneath Rya Park's rich vocal, which as she explains, lyrically explores the complexities of mental health and anxiety - and how the two of these connect with this sense of vulnerability. "Releasing this kinda feels like a sigh of relief. When I first wrote it, I felt scared and sad... but I’ve managed to pick myself up a little bit and push through," she says on the song. "I want this song to be there for someone else that may be going through something similar, to feel like they aren’t entirely alone."
Arriving with the announcement of signings to booking agency 123 Agency and management company Piper's Son - plus a collection of east coast dates across the east coast in September - Bitch feels like the arrival of an artist up next. Check out the track's video below, and better introduce yourself to the force in the making while you're at it.
Tell us about yourself?
Well hello there. I’m Rya Park! I was born in London, grew up in Singapore and now live in Carlton in Melbourne. I drink 3-4 decaf lattes a day. I have a dog called Charlie. I love candles. I bite my nails. I’m a bit of a romantic comedy fiend.
What’s the vibe music-wise?
Alternative rock/pop. Think Alanis Morissette meets Arctic Monkeys. It’s taken me a while to figure out what I want to share with other people. At this point in my life, I’m writing about my mental illness, because that’s the reality that I’m living with at the moment. I want there to be a space for young girls to talk about the issues that they face every day. I hope that me being honest and open about my experiences can help someone else to feel even a little bit less alone.
What are your production and writing processes like?
For this song, I wrote the melody in my car on the way home from a bad morning I’d had. This was the first song I’d ever written that came together in one afternoon. I sent a voice memo to my producer (Peter Farnan) of a garage band version that I did and I’m pretty sure he called me up straight away and said we needed to get it down and record it. Peter and I took some time to figure out the added textures and vibe that we wanted to bring to the song. We ended up going back to the original sound. Stripped back and raw. The vocals that are in the released song are actually from the day we did the demo!
Can you tell us about your new single, Bitch, and its video?
It’s a thank you to my partner and the people around me who have supported me through some tough times. I’ve released a few songs now, that also feel honest and real to me, but they weren’t sharing what was really going on behind the scenes. It felt good at the time to express what I was going through. I was pretty overwhelmed by what had come out onto the page though as I hadn’t quite let myself realise what was really going through my head and what I was feeling. I knew I was sad and depressed, but at the end of the day, I needed my partner to know how grateful I am for him.
My partner (Nick Tam) actually directed and filmed the video. It’s all filmed on a handheld camera, as though seen through the eyes of someone else. In most of the filming process, I was a little nervous and serious, but Nick encouraged me to laugh and be silly in front of the camera because that’s a big side of me as well. It was also a way to show that mental illness isn’t always obvious or something tangible.
Any tour dates coming up?
Yes! I’m playing at The Grace Darling in Melbourne on September 20th and The Oxford Arts Factory Gallery in Sydney on September 28th along with one of my best friends, Eaglemont, supporting. I’ve got a new band, with a new sound and I am so excited to do the shows. It’s my favourite part of putting out new music.
What does the rest of 2019 have in store for you?
I’ve already jumped back in the studio to get recording on more material. I feel so ready to share more of what I’ve been working on. There are a couple of exciting shows coming up too, but you’ll have to stay posted!!
Where can we find more of your music?
I’m on all of the socials! Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Soundcloud, Spotify, iTunes. Just search Rya Park and I’ll be there :)
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