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Wes Parker is Going Solo

I first discovered Wes Parker through his viral TikTok series poking fun at the DIY basement music scene. In the videos, he dresses up in full crust punk regalia (reverse rat tail and all…) to reenact the typical POV of having a conversation with someone in the crowd of a noise show. They’re silly little videos and I’d definitely recommend giving them a watch.

Wes and I are from the same area in Richmond, so I’ve seen him around — dressed as his TikTok character, “Skunk” at a Halloween party, performing in a comedy showcase at the Coalition Theater — he had made a name for himself as a funny guy that everyone liked having around.

It wasn’t until last week when he released the video for his new single, “Tattoo” that I knew he did music. I was blown away. Not only is the song incredibly catchy, but the production value on the video is unbelievable. You can watch the video here, on his Youtube channel.

The Richmond music scene is vibrant and chock full of major talent (see: Lucy Dacus (pre- Boy Genius explosion), Lobby Boy, NO BS! Brass, Hotspit, Truck Bed) but bands here typically take a more “rough and rowdy” approach to production — not Wes. “Tattoo” is bright and polished and visually interesting. It fits right into the landscape of music videos produced by big budget studios.

I caught up with Wes to talk all about his new single and the process behind bootstrapping your own music career.

KAITLIN OWENS: How did the whole process of making the music video come together? It was an incredibly professional result! You must be really proud.

WES PARKER: I owe it all to that team. I called Colin Earner (who directed the video) one day with very little time to make a video happen… he was like “hell yeah let’s do it”. We shot the 16mm footage soon after that and then three weeks later shot the bulk of the video. They had one day to edit it all together before I released it. It was insane. They’re just so incredibly talented. Kyle Brady on production design, Woody Chapman on the edit. David Muessig shot it. Colin directing. Just all absolutely top notch talent. I was so lucky to work with them. It was like waking up from a dream when it was over. 

KO: I imagine making a music video is expensive — how did you get the funding together to produce it?

WP: You know I think I really lucked out, once again, with this team and the resources they have at hand and their willingness to work for little to nothing. That’s part of why I feel so lucky, cause they were just down to do it. And Spang TV was gracious enough to let us use their space and resources. In terms of how I get the funding together I just have to prioritize saving every time I get paid. I work restaurant jobs. I’ve been working a film job that came through. I really don’t make much money. But it’s just about living as cheaply as possible and putting money away for things like this. And of course having such an incredible team that’s just down to sacrifice their time to make the beautiful art they’re capable of. 

KO: A little bit of a weird setup, forgive me —- but I also live in Richmond! I’ve seen you before in a comedy showcase my friend was also in at the Coalition Theater, and I’ve, of course, seen your Skunk Crust Punk TikToks. Before this song came out, I had the impression you were a comedian. How do you balance the two? Is there one you love more/ would prefer to be known by?

WP: I’ve always had a love for comedy and funneling that into skits. When my former band broke up, I was really kind of lost and just decided to make character based skits based on my years in the music scene. I was lucky to build an audience around that and didn’t expect it at all. Making the switch into my solo music was honestly kind of intimidating because I worried I’d lose that audience. But people have been so supportive. I don’t necessarily prefer being known for one or the other cause I think I’m lucky to have people appreciating my art in a very noisy world. 

Wes is going on tour! He’ll be at the Jack Rabbit in Buffalo, NY tonight, The Crypt in Columbus, OH tomorrow (July 4th show!!), Club Cafe in Pittsburgh, PA on July 5th, The Foundry in Cleveland, OH on July 6th, and Northside Tavern in Cincinnati, OH on July 7th!

Catch him while you can on tour – and make sure to stream his new single “Tattoo” on Spotify and Youtube!


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