Model Child shares video for ‘Overdrive’

Model Child

Model Child has released the video for the single Overdrive. Watch the video clip via YouTube below.

Back in college, Danny Parker—a.k.a. the L.A.-based art rock act Model Child—experienced a bad acid trip that eventually saved his life. “I had a full break with reality,” he remembers now, describing the ordeal, which took place at a music festival in Florida. “I sort of didn’t come out of the trip.”

At that time, Parker had been dealing with the accumulated effects of a confusing and challenging adolescence, growing up queer in the paranoid suburban area of Herndon, Virginia, which is awash in the tide of various government agencies located nearby. “A lot of the people who live there are a part of the military industrial complex,” he explains. “I remember we’d be eating dinner, the doorbell would ring, and it would be somebody from, like, the CIA.”

But music was a constant through all that—a stabilizing force in a turbulent environment. And even while having trouble fitting into the larger schooling system, Parker’s innate ability to pick up any instrument grabbed the attention of teachers and friends, who pushed him to keep going. “I think I really needed that when I was a kid,” he says. So when he was back at home, recovering with the help of doctors from his break from reality, it was clear what else he needed to come back through to the other side.

Music was this beacon of light,” he says. “It was very healing to be able to process through songwriting, and just emotionally understand what happened.” The Model Child sound—a punk-art rock-indie-electronic smorgasbord just as likely to draw the ears of fans of Talking Heads as Fischerspooner—has been in the works ever since, rolling up various sounds, styles, and inspirations like a Katamari ball, bringing Parker deep into the belly of the music-industry machine and back out again.

That process began in his early twenties, when he was recruited by a former bandmate to contribute as a songwriter for hire in the pop-music realm. Parker studied the art of the Top 40, learning to be a “capital-S songwriter,” and picked it up quickly, as he always has. That led to a hit—which led to another hit, and another after that. Soon, Parker became an in-demand industry collaborator, co-writing songs from some of the biggest names in music, from Shawn Mendes (“Stitches”) to Jessie Ware (“What’s Your Pleasure?”) to Pussy Riot (“Plaything”).

Parker says his work in that world “sharpened my tools,” as he put it, but it’s a different mindset from what Model Child is—which is an embrace of their “relationship to music outside of this goal of writing a hit song.” Not that earworm Model Child tracks like My Queer Teenage Anthem and Drain Me, the latter from the 2020 debut ‘Dropout,’ aren’t indie hits of their own—or that music from Get There! isn’t certifiably club-ready. It’s just that Model Child is all of that—from the mainstream to the obscure—together. 

There’s so many reasons to listen to music, to play music, to see music being performed,” Parker says. “Having this project has been a way to come back to my deeper relationship to the artform itself.”

The music of ‘Get There!’—big, booming dance-rock anthems that feel designed for opening up a house party—actually started as an experiment in staving off loneliness. It was late 2021, and Parker was living in New York City, craving the kind of human contact that had become so precarious at that time. So he decided to will the desire into existence: “I went into it wanting to make danceable songs,” he says. “Something extroverted, kinetic, active.”

It was also the experiment of making art in a pressure cooker. Working with producer Rusty Santos (Animal Collective, Jackie Mendoza), Parker wrote and recorded most of the material “on the fly.” “The record was really in the spirit of trying to capture a moment and not to overthink anything,” he says. The result is an album overflowing with songs that will get stuck in your head immediately, but will draw out new nuanced details on repeated listens. 

On Headlights, a blistering semi-truck of a rock song that’s as much early Phoenix as it is the Strokes, Parker taps into the feelings of being blinded by the high-beams of someone on crash course toward you; on Overdrive, he creates an eerie, delicate scene that builds into the sort of musical euphoria that speaks to Parker’s own salvation in music: “This beat might save your life tonight,” he sings, “Let’s kick it into overdrive.” 

The record’s title—‘Get There!’—is a playful nod to the push-push mindset of the city it was created in, New York, and the country at large, wanting it to signify an image of movement and energy. But in typical Model Child fashion, it’s also a subversion of that idea just the same, poking fun at the silliness of the self-imposed chaos of our lives—of the idea that a better life is always “just around the corner,” as Parker says. 

On the subway, it’s like, everyone’s going somewhere,” Parker laughs. “Where are we going?” There’s only one “there” he wants to go with you: “Getting to a place outside of yourself.”

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