Introducing Cheekbone and the confronting video for his cinematic debut single, Knowing Me
The clip tackles mental health in rural Australia.
Having previously worked producing with several prominent young Australian artists and also been a member of Queensland band Lost Boys, Adib Parker has now launched a solo project under the moniker of Cheekbone, and Knowing Me is his debut single. The track itself has a haunting, cinematic quality in the vein of early days Shlohmo (an artist Parker cites as an influence below), and the track takes on a sombre new life with the video clip directed by Robert Crispe.
At a length basically befitting of the title "short film", it takes an emotional look at youth and mental health in rural Australia, with both the director and Parker drawing from previous experiences to depict it so well.
Content Warning: The video below contains graphic depictions of suicide.
Tell us about about yourself?
I’m a 24-year-old Yung buck from Townsville, born to an Iranian mother and Canadian father. In previous years I’ve produced music for some talented artists around the region while pretending to attend to my Primary Education degree. I put study on the backburner and began working for a disability organisation which was super rewarding. but I’m now focusing on my development as an artist (which is actually really counter productive, don’t make my mistake, friends).
What kinda tunes we talkin’?
It’s all in the realm of electronic music. I’d throw around adjectives like dense, dark, and layered. Middle Eastern influence mixing organic and digitalised sounds with heavily processed percussion. Here’s a couple of tracks that made me cry from artists that I never get tired of:
EASTGHOST - Praey (ft. Yespion)
In almost every writing session I use Arturia Analog Lab and East West studios in Logic Pro. East West are so terrific for percussion, wind and string world instruments, and Arturia just went ahead and made a buttload of vintage analog synths patches, so there’s that (please endorse me). When I was 10 I went to see my family for the first time in Iran and I fell in love with an old santoor at my aunt's house. For ya’all that are still reading this/don’t wanna Google it - it’s basically a hollow wooden slab with countless metal strings and bridges tuned across its surface, (kind of like the love child of a piano and guitar). I have such a vivid memory of how easy it was to effortlessly create tuneful melodies with just two felt sticks. That moment stuck with me, so it tends to feature on a lot of my tracks.
I love messing with sounds in unconventional ways – sometimes spending way too long tweaking a distinctive melody/phrase. It can be hella time consuming and maybe it's a bad habit but every so often it pays off. I tend to structure most of my songs in your typical pop fashion but I twist it with Middle Eastern/South East Asian sounds. The amalgamation of the two is kinda becoming a fundamental Cheekbone characteristic. A few months back I was in Japan during the summer and I managed to get a bunch of samples recorded with my phone. I captured a Shingon Buddhist prayer session, chanting at a street festival, wind at the summit of Mt. Fuji and so on. Around the 2:10 mark on Knowing Me you can actually hear cicadas from our stay in Takasaki. Maybe it’s all a bit lame, I don’t know, but it excites me to capture unique sounds from that one point in time.
Can you tell us about your new single, Knowing Me?
Knowing Me is my debut single/music video release. Around two years ago I was diagnosed with PTSD and it turns out it has been dictating who I am for the last decade or so. A lot of things clicked into place and it spearheaded the musical direction of Cheekbone. I worked very closely with Robert Crispe (the director of the video) to create a realistic narrative. We made a conscious effort for open dialogue, leaving enough room for personal interpretation. I’m grateful the conversation of mental health is on the rise, but imo the subjugation of internalised stigma is still quite embedded in both individuals and families.
Any shows coming up?
I’m in the process of finalising the debut EP and forming a live band - so nothing locked in just yet.
What’s the rest of the year have in store?
Finishing up vocal features with some good pals, possibly releasing another single before the end of the year, shooting some film photography for the single releases/ EP artworks, blowing up and acting like I don’t know nobody, shit like that.
Where can we hear more of your music?
Places like Spotify, Unearthed and Soundcloud.