On her second full-length effort, For Blood and Wine, Rykarda Parasol invites you on a journey where the main character, a lawless woman trapped in time, drifts between the Barbary Coast and the Wild West. Parasol delivers these stories wrapped in haunting vocals and backed by the occasional violin howl--it's a style that she prefers to call "rock noir."
Parasol is one busy lady. Along with self-releasing For Blood and Wine, she's also the founder of The Hive, an underground art studio--one of many creative projects occupying her time. Local Frequency met up with Rykarda at Place Pigalle to chat about females in the music industry, being told to change your name, and getting inspired by San Francisco's literary scene.
If you could describe your sound as a San Francisco neighborhood, which one would it be?
Rykarda Parasol: I spend a lot of time in North Beach and parts of Russian Hill. There are a lot of writers in the area. Just walking around there, and looking at those old pictures of San Francisco in black and white, it's what motivates me. Everyone has their own view of the city, and mine definitely isn't the dot com view. I've gotta be in a Barbary Coast kind of mood to make it tolerable.
Local Frequency has been a bit of a sausage-fest since its inception. You're the first woman to be featured in the column--how does that feel?
RP: [laughs] You know, it's pretty odd, [the industry] is much harder on females. When I first got started, I had to kind of prove myself in a way. I would get looks from guys who would think, "What is she going to get up there and do?" There was a moment where I decided to make music that would give a woman's point of view to men, in a way that men could compute.
I was raised more by my father than my mother, so I feel as if I can communicate better to guys. I don't mean to alienate my female audience. I just feel like there was a void musically in that area. Instead of the poppy, putting-your-makeup-on, I-just-broke-up-with-my-boyfriend kind of music, I like to think of my music as music you listen to when you've broken up with your boyfriend and are ready to get back out there.