Arlo Parks on her surprise Reading Holly Humberstone collab and love of Arctic Monkeys

Arlo Parks caught up with NME backstage at Reading & Leeds 2023 to discuss her upcoming book of poetry, surprise apperance with Holly Humberstone, and her love of Arctic Monkeys’ debut album. Check out the full interview above.

The singer, songwriter and poet kicked off her performance yesterday afternoon (August 26), with two tracks from her new album, ‘My Soft Machine’, long before indie giants The 1975 and The Killers took to the stage to end the night with their headline sets. To fans’ surprise, she also appeared briefly on stage during Holly Humberstone’s set on the main stage, joining her for a rendition of her new single ‘Room Service’.

Catching up with NME backstage afterwards, Parks spoke about how the guest appearance arose and recalled the special meaning that the new single from Humberstone’s upcoming debut album means to her.


“She’s the sweetest, honestly. We bumped into each other a couple of times and I was a big fan of her music,” she began. “And then she asked me [at the] last minute whether I wanted to join her on stage.

“It’s something that I absolutely love doing,” she added, going on to recall her appearance with Phoebe Bridgers last year. “I did it at Glastonbury with Phoebe and a Coachella as well… I think there’s something really special about joining the stage
with a friend.”

Arlo Parks
Arlo Parks. CREDIT: Sarah Louise Bennett

“‘Room service’ is such a beautiful song, you know? That sense of missing your friends from afar and wanting to kind of lock yourself away from the world and reconnect and kind of delve into your friendship. So it was a special song to do as well.”

In the discussion with NME, Parks also touched upon her upcoming book of poetry, The Magic Border: Poetry and Fragments From My Soft Machine and recalled the artists whose lyrics she finds herself most drawn to – namely Arctic Monkeys’ 2006 debut ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’.

“[There are] so so many,” she told NME. ‘I’m a big fan of Big Thief, the indie band, and I do that a lot with Adrian Lanka’s lyrics because they’re so rich and poetic and beautiful.


“I used to do it a lot when I was younger because I was a big fan of rock music,” she continued. “So [there was] a lot of Deftones and Arctic Monkeys – their first record was the first record I ever bought on my iPod Nano… I was obsessively reading all the lyrics to that record. I love that album”.

Arlo Parks.
Arlo Parks. CREDIT: Sarah Louise Bennett

Towards the end of the chat, the 23-year-old musician also took a look back at a previous interview she did with NME – shortly after the release of her debut ‘Collapsed In Sunbeams’ – where she admitted she found it “weird” to come to terms with the fact that she was gathering fans across the globe.

“I think there’s no way that that can ever feel normal you know,” she responded yesterday, asked about whether her stance has changed, two years down the line.

“I think so many people spend their whole lives writing music in their bedrooms or in studios and it never reaches beyond their friendship group. [So] being able to be in Tokyo and sell out a room and have people like singing to lyrics when it’s not even their native language it’s always going to be something that I think I’ll never take for granted.”

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