Producer settling in after years on tour with Cage the Elephant

By Hollie Deese
Photography by Gabe Ford

About two-and-a-half years ago, Lincoln Parish, 28, was ready to make a change. Settling down in a renovated home on a shady lot near Temple Hills might seem a little subdued for a Grammy-nominated musician in his 20s, but it was what Parish needed. More than a decade of musician life, which started before he even had a driver’s license, had taken its toll.

When the Bowling Green native was 15 years old, Parish moved to London with the other founding members of Cage the Elephant — most of whom were nearly a decade or more older than he was. Overseas for two years, he partied with the band as their star rose. By the time they came back to the USA, the steady fan base they built eventually exploded, and touring became the new normal.

That life was hard for Parish, who hated the monotony of being on the road. So he left the band and made roots in Nashville.

He originally bought a smaller home in Woodbine and housed his studio there, too. He loved the home, but the work/life combination just didn’t work out in that space. He began looking for a new home to live in while keeping his studio in Woodbine, or vice versa. Ultimately it made the most sense to find a bigger place that could handle both.

His mom ultimately found the right place. She sent him a link.

“I knew instantly when I saw the pictures,” he says. He had his engineer walk the property to make sure it had everything for the studio, and with his okay and Mom’s thumbs-up, he bought it — sight unseen.

Parish, who lives with his Husky, Lu, and is working on a novel based on his life, did all the decorating himself. He drew from a collection of items he’s picked up over the years, family photos and new pieces he buys occasionally. And if some rooms are a bit sparse, it’s only because he’s so picky.

“I went even a couple weeks ago and was looking to try to find some stuff and couldn’t. It’s like a tattoo to me — when I know something that is me, like, I have to get it. Right then.”

His taste is eclectic, and art is important. And for Parish, it is almost as much about the hunt as it is the find. He has some painted cabinets from an antique store in Bowling Green, and an old school safe painted blue from a nearby antique store. He loves the Nashville Flea Market and has lots of art amassed from touring, including one piece he got right off the walls of The House of Blues in Orlando. It wasn’t for sale, but since Cage the Elephant had sold out the venue they made an exception.

“I like antiques, and I always have,” he says. “My mom was a Realtor when I was growing up. She also worked for a builder where she would do all the interior design. I would, especially during the summer, follow her around a lot. And I developed a love for that sort of thing. I like finding things that look like they have a soul to them and aren’t perfect. To me, that stuff has more vibe.”

Having his studio right downstairs has been great for his productivity, too — he just has to roll out of bed, grab a cup of coffee and knock out a few hours before taking a break for the gym or breakfast, then getting back to it later on.

“For how I like to do things, it seems to work really well. My last house was much smaller, so I think the good thing about having a place this big is it allows me to have some separation, which is the hardest part. Whenever I want to be done for the day, I can just go upstairs and not think about it.”

In that downstairs studio, he has been working on music that’s as much a departure from Cage as his leafy suburban lot is from their London pad. As Parish f/t, he gets to produce different sounds for different vocalists, stretching himself as a producer along the way.

“Since I’ve left the band, I had a lot of opportunities to work with a lot of artists, different genres, and I really like that. It allows every day to be different. It’s almost, in a way, more conducive to how I like to do things anyway, because everything’s so different from one to the next.”

And his place is always ready to transition from recording session to hangout session.

“I love to entertain and have people over. I’m ready for fall because I’ve got a couple fire pits out back. Some bonfires.”

Lincoln Parish portraits by Gabe Ford