Molly Parden talks about her EP, her videos and her life in Nashville at the first concert of her UK tour – // MELODIC Magazine

Based in Nashville Molly Parden has provided captivating harmony vocals on more than 50 records over the past few years and has traveled the world with music – even a few weeks ago, opening for Joshua Radin – but now she’s in the middle of her first-ever UK headlining jaunt. We met her for a chat at The Joiners venue bar in Southampton on the first night of her tour.

Welcome to the UK, Molly! how was the trip ?
I haven’t been to England for about 3 years. I thought I should check in my guitar, but it went on as carry-on, but it wouldn’t fit in the ceiling, so it had its own seat behind me. I found that really funny. There were only 30 people on the plane.

We loved your latest EP, Rosemary. You released it in the middle of the pandemic – did that make you consider delaying it until you could shoot?
I basically delayed it because it was originally an LP which I split into two EPs, I thought it would be a waste to release an LP in the middle of the pandemic. The other half was released a few months before Rosemaryit was made up of four songs that had already been released as a single, just bundled into an EP.

There are restrictions on shows [due to the pandemic], but it depends on what part of the country you are in. The shows take place. I was just in Texas two weeks ago, played four different shows, they were sold out, which is really encouraging.

My favorites from the EP have to include “Within a Dream” and “Kitchen Table”, and especially the guitar on the latter. How were these songs born?
“Within a Dream” is about distance, separating two lovers. I wrote it about 10 years ago, but I never considered it a song because it’s so short, so it was just a little vignette of a song, a little exercise. But when I stopped caring how long a song was… ‘Cause I was revisiting that little two-verse song and trying to add something to it, but it never took, it never took the additional lyrics, the song rejected her. So when it came to making Rosemary, I decided that was long enough, that was all it needed, just those two verses. I write more short songs like that, because I’m more confident in short songs now.

“Kitchen Table” came to me pretty quickly. I got the chord progression first but didn’t know what to associate it with, I played with that progression for a few months, then the words and melody came later.

The cover of Rosemary EP is so suited to the music. How did you choose this cover?
It’s quite personal to me, but all my songs are personal. I’m glad I chose this image, basically it was taken by the person all these songs are about, that’s why I wanted to use it, and I liked that it wasn’t very sharp or striking, in a way, but it’s emotionally striking to me.

James McFetridge Wilson has written a beautiful piece about you on your website, and intriguingly describes you “as a Promethean musical force in the vibrant Nashville underground”. Is ‘rebelliously creative and innovative’ Promethean your vision of yourself and your music?
That’s what my friend James Wilson said of me, I’m flattered he chose that word. He’s one of my biggest fans and one of my best friends. It makes sense that you should search for a word he used (laughs). You know, at the end of the day, I rebel against the Nashville catch-all genre we call Americana, and I do my best to run away.

How is life in Nashville? Is it fueled by collaboration or competition because of too many musicians?
There are definitely too many musicians – honestly, we need to build a wall around Nashville. More musicians. (laughs) You know, it depends on what lens you’re looking at it from, because I could walk out of my house, walk into a cafe, see twenty other songwriters and see them as a threat to me, or I could see them as those beautiful different colors in the spectrum of the rainbow that is Nashville musicians. So I see it with as much optimism as possible, as collaborators and not competitors.

Your YouTube channel has a few music videos for songs from your latest EP, and I loved the laid back style of the “Who are We Kiddin'” video. There are also some ‘how to play your songs’ videos – I thought it was a surprisingly relaxed experience.
The “Who are We Kiddin'” video – man, it was one of the hottest days on the face of the Earth. I almost fainted several times, but I’m glad to look relaxed, probably because I was about to die (laughs). The sky was a real dark stormy blue at one point, and it made a nice backdrop, but it rained so hard ten minutes after we finished shooting.

Have you watched the explanatory videos? (laughs) Oh my god, it’s funny, it was just one take! I may do more. I have a lot of free time between this tour and when I get home, so why not, all I did was record on my iPhone, make a video and upload it. I’m glad you watched them (laughs).

Pictures and words by Tony Palmer.

You can check out our review of Molly’s Plateau in Southampton here.

To follow Molly Parden: Facebook / Instagram / Website