“Nobody is watering the plants, Jer”
Jeremy Parkin shares the story behind his latest single, and explains what inspired him to take music composition into his own hands.
By River Gatensby
Jeremy Parkin’s latest single is called Nobody is Watering the Plants. It seems abstract, but it has a lot of meaning.
“In the spring I was being mentored by my mom’s best friend – an elder and knowledge keeper in my life.” He explained. “One day he was talking about the trauma indigenous communities go through. A lot of these people aren’t given the time to be understood… So he’s explaining this, and at the end of it he just kind-of said “nobody is watering the plants, Jer” and I was like woah. He meant just like how you water plants to grow, people need the proper attention and time…”
He chose this as the song title, as it fit the tone of his most recent project: a collaboration with Cole Pauls for the Yukon Arts Centre’s 30th birthday.
Cole animated a video of a “dog boy” in a hoodie and jeans walking with his hands in his pockets down a Yukon highway. It played on an endless loop with Nobody is Watering the Plants playing in the background. The dog boy is a recurring character in Jeremy’s work.
“I really liked the animation of the highway because I travel a lot for my job,” he says. “I feel like a roadrunner constantly.”
Jeremy is 25 years old, born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon.
“I started playing when I was 11 or 12. I was basically listening to everything my older brother listened to, and was really inspired to learn guitar” he explained. “As I got older I really wanted to be in a band, but it was hard in a small community.”
After taking music lessons he taught himself by learning to play existing songs.
An online video creator, Cameron Argon, inspired him to take matters into his own hands. At 14, he bought software to compose his own music.
“Cameron Argon did these vlogs, and I watched him get into producing electronic music. It was appealing because I realized I could make full songs with drums, guitars, synths and all these other things on my own.”
Jeremy’s style resembles the popular lo-fi hip-hop genre, drawing inspiration from ‘90s electronic music. He credits his taste to movie soundtracks he listened to at a young age, such as Space Jam and the 1998 Godzilla.
Jeremy has also been part of a hip-hop duo called Local Boy with collaborator Kelvin Smoler.
“We put the first song together in one session, and kept collaborating whenever we could,” says Jeremy. “The dynamic between us was really easy, and didn’t feel forced.”
On top of writing music, Jeremy works with the Yukon First Nation Education Directorate (YFNED). Since May 2021, he has been a part of its mobile therapeutic unit, providing programming to Indigenous youth in Yukon’s rural communities.
“We basically try to see what they’re into and what opportunities we can facilitate,” he says. “I’m lucky that a big part of my work with YFNED has been doing a lot of music and hip-hop workshops.
“It’s a blessing and really cool to see how many creative and talented young people are in the Yukon.”
If you are a KDFN youth interested in music, reach out to Jeremy on instagram at @jerparkin.
You can listen to his music on Apple Music, Spotify or Soundcloud.