As the red-headed polymath and multi-instrumentalist at the heart of the endlessly inventive art-rock band Arcade Fire, Richard Reed Parry has performed in front of immense crowds and sold millions of records across the world. But this is only one aspect of an artist whose unconventional trajectory has resulted in work that is as varied as it is surprising and unique.
Born in Toronto in 1977, Parry was raised in a community of ex-British isles oral-tradition folk musicians and medieval scholars, and came of age amidst an endless stream of early music and acapella singing. He attended Canterbury high school in Ottawa, Canada where he graduated from the first generation of its Literary Arts programme. In 1998 he headed to Montreal where he studied electroacoustics and contemporary dance at Concordia
University, immersing himself in Montreal's underground music and art scene.
In 1999 he began teaching himself to play the double bass, formed the acclaimed, Juno award-winning contemporary instrumental ensemble Bell Orchestre with soon-to-be Arcade Fire violinist Sarah Neufeld, and formed The New International Standards with now Aracde Fire guitarist/bassist Tim Kingsbury and drummer Jeremy Gara. He began collaborating with Win and Will Butler and Regine Chassagne, and when the earlier version of Arcade Fire ended, he brought his Bell Orchestre and TNIS bandmates with him to reinvent the band into its current incarnation.
In 2004, when AF's Funeral blazed onto the world stage, he left home to go on tour for two months but didn't come back for a year. He went on to tour the world innumerable times, performing and collaborating with David Bowie, David Byrne, Neil Young, Debbie Harry.