photos by jordan schauberger
Myles Parrish never disappeared. In fact, sitting across from me at a picnic table in the side lot of a boba joint in Northridge, the 24-year-old is conspicuously visible. He bounced onto the patio with a hug and his trademark thai bubble tea and within ten minutes, I feel like we’ve been friends for days. Behind him, a group of teenagers who are probably only a year or two younger than me are taking Snapchats with us in the background. They recognized him the minute he walked in, and have been furtively scheming for a photo. “Are you interviewing Myles?” one girl asks, as he returns inside. She points to her friend. “She has a huge crush on him, she’s one of his biggest fans.” Halfway through the interview, the exposed fangirl hugs Myles the way you do a friend from home after they’ve been away for a while. “I haven’t seen you in two years.” She half-chides, half-complains. “When’s the next album?” Myles looks sheepish, but you immediately see how much interactions like this really mean to him, a kid from the Bay who hit the charts.
You could say it was my luck that a day-one fan just happened to be sitting there - and Myles did, in fact, say that - but I think he’s just being humble. Just two years ago, he was still part of Kalin & Myles, the Bay Area duo whose viral hits (“Do My Step”, “Love Robbery”, “Trampoline”) had every teenage girl in town in line for their storied concerts. It was one of those high-school experiences everyone at school is talking about the next day, even if you’re homeschooled like I was. The first time I went to one, I was fascinated by how much fun everyone was having - and how young they were. At 17, I was definitely on the older end of the fangirl spectrum, with many of the girls around me falling closer to 15, but Myles isn’t that much older. It was like Bieber fever, but unlike Justin Bieber, Kalin & Myles were hometown kids, and always close enough to touch. After the girls left the patio, Myles sits back down, smiling like a kid on Christmas. “I think about those fans, I mean - they were kids, you know? And now they’re in college and stuff, I wonder if they remember us.” He thinks about them a lot, actually. He counts them as a huge influence in the journey that took him from a kid in his bedroom on Vomac to a tour bus traveling the nation, back to a bedroom in LA.
That bedroom in LA, just like the one on Vomac, is the territory of a solo artist now. After announcing their breakup a year ago, Kalin and Myles went their separate ways, albeit in the same city. With all the delicacy of a rhino, I ask when he realized it was really over. “After our last show in Arizona, you know, I just came home and all his stuff was gone, and it really sank in.” He paused for a minute, looking for the right words. “It’s weird, to go from one of your best friends for five years to not really talking at all.” This is the part where a lot of artists essentially curl up in the fetal position and disappear from our playlists. Not Myles. He set up shop in the apartment he now shares with his brother and friend, and got back to what he does best - making music. He posts them to his Soundcloud, and videos of him rapping along to the projector he has set up rakes in the likes on Twitter. I told him I’m jealous of the projector, and he laughs. “Yeah man, it’s great. There’s like hours long videos of fireplaces and the ocean and stuff on Youtube.” When he’s laughing, he looks a lot younger than his streaks of grey hair, thoughtlessly styled with a lot of hand motions and a generous relationship with gravity. LA is a cool place - but just like you’ve seen in every movie, it can make you old fast. I ask him about his adopted city, and if it’ll ever be home. He assures me that he’s having fun, and I believe him, but I believe him because he doesn’t sugar coat it. “It’s just..the vibes, man. Like out here, I think about everything I’m doing a lot more, and I stress about it. The minute I leave, it’s like, I can do anything.” This is what’s so interesting to me about Myles - in LA, he could very quickly become nobody, dragged under by waves of wannabe triple threats with hundreds of thousands of followers to their name. But by luck or by special intention, he’s still Your Boy Myles, the guy from Dublin who made music with a buddy off Facebook, and hit it big. Usually, everything that blows up has to collapse, but that’s not what happened here. Myles just...went through. We talk about navigating the LA social scene, and how people like to collect names. He tells me he’s not into it, but he see’s the appeal. I suddenly understand how he’s lasted so long. His exceptionalism is balanced out by his air (I can’t quite say “vibes”) of normalcy. In fact, his secret might just be that there’s no secret at all.
It sounds like a journalistic cliche, but this kid is just a kid. He likes to kick it with his girlfriend, Tia, (“I can last in LUSH for like 15-20..seconds.”) play his music for his mom, and keeps a wardrobe stocked with dad shirts, like the “Boston, Mass.” number he’s rocking during our interview. He’s full of the kind of Bay Area vernacular that broadcasts his roots, just in case the ubiquitous thai tea wasn’t a dead giveaway. He just happens to be a really talented artist, working with the likes of IAMSU and releasing music at a rate that isn’t satisfying his fans (just like with any other artist, it couldn't ever), but is pretty impressive when you consider he’s doing it all from scratch. In LA, there’s plenty of people willing to buy your name and your sound, and like a McDonalds Big Mac, toss it down an assembly line. But Myles is taking the In-N-Out route - perfecting each part. It may take a little longer, but it’s always worth the wait.
As I double check the commas on this, the wait for those fans might just be over. With an ambiguous tweet, and a not-so-ambiguous video, Myles just announced the release of “Vomac”, on May 12th. So no, he never disappeared - he was just taking the long way home.