We’re back with another installation of our latest series, TuneCore Tuesdays, which aims to highlight artists and other music professionals who are writing, recording, and hustling on their own terms. By showcasing creatives doing it their way all over the globe, TuneCore Tuesdays aims to empower and inspire our diverse community of artists.
This week we’re talking to Chicago-based musician Parker Bailey, frontman of Runner and Bobby. Check out his video below and be sure to learn more about his journey!
Runner and Bobby occupies its own ambient world, swirling in the space between Shoegazing and Indie Rock. Solo bandmember Parker Bailey is completely satisfied living there, alone. Influenced by intimate memory and various artistic mediums, Bailey’s latest artistic venture is the creative culmination of his suburban adolescent unrest.
“The first memory I have of music is from when I was five or six,” Bailey reminiscences. “My Dad was repainting the basement and we were listening to “Come On Ride The Train” by the Quad City DJ’s.” Recalling this memory, he can’t help but smile fondly. “It was playing on, like, an old Dell computer with that little psychedelic background [screensaver]. And I’ve loved that song ever since.”
“I started playing guitar when I was around eight years old. I got a guitar for my birthday, along with some lessons, and I remember the first year I really didn’t like it,” he laments. “I thought it was just too hard, too complicated, but, a year and a half after that I really took to it and it became my obsession.” That adolescent obsession would become his lifelong passion. “I truly love it.”
During his sophomore year of high school, Bailey formed his first band, TheSpins. “My Dad listened to a lot of Hard Rock and Hair Metal when I was younger so that was a huge influence. Pink Floyd, stuff like that. I took that inspiration and began songwriting when I was about 16 or 17. It started out simple, just from the chords in my music. Then, there was a point where I had some material that I liked, and I thought it was a good mix and composition, so I asked some good friends if they could record a performance for me, and that was kind of my start.”
Following two years of successful collaborations and local shows, TheSpins dissolved in order for Bailey to pursue new experiences. Suddenly, Runner and Bobby was born. “I started Runner and Bobby the summer after my senior year. With all of the knowledge I’d gained from my experience writing with the band, I felt like I was onto the next step of my creative process.” After one EP (Eras) and three follow-up tracks in 2019, Bailey found huge success with his single “Fall for Her (Nobody Else)” which has since racked up over 1.5 million streams on Spotify. Suggestive of 80’s Dream Pop, Bailey wrote the nostalgic love anthem with his former partner and designed the album artwork with a fan polaroid taken during one of his live shows.
Talking about how his tastes have evolved throughout his career, Bailey shares: “I’m really influenced by musicians like Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), and Matt Schultz (Cage the Elephant). Recently, I’ve also been listening to a lot of Devendra Banhart, some super cool stuff. But, most significantly, I’m inspired by people who work in a lot of different mediums; artists who are super passionate about what they do.”
He continues, “that’s really– I guess– my goal as an artist: to work in as many different mediums as I can and create whatever. If one day I’m not doing music, then I’ll be doing film. If I’m not doing film, I’m doing art. Any way I can.”
Not being one to rush his creative process, Bailey is flowing through this part of his career, focusing on his personal life and music in equal parts. “I’m developing some new stuff right now and have a lot of visuals that I’m working on, a lot of cool ideas.” Cooly, he teases that “there is one song right now that I really like and hopefully it will come out next year once it’s all finished and polished.” This unhurried process isn’t unlike him, considering his preference to only release a track once it is truly ready.
“What I’ve learned the most as an artist throughout these past– I guess–five years, it’s good to plan and it’s good to have drive and ambition, but y’know, you never really know where you’re going to end up. Plans are great but you have to be open to change and to doing things a different way. Sometimes that brings you to a place that’s even better than what you’d hoped for.”