Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall Talks ‘Ire,’ Covering RATM + More
Winston McCall was a guest on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show. The Parkway Drive vocalist talks about the band’s new album 'Ire,’ covering Rage Against The Machine, staying fit on the road and much more. Check out the interview below.
You'll be touring pretty heavily here later this year. What does an Australian band look forward to the most when touring in The States?
Junk food and burritos. No seriously, it’s pretty crazy to get to go to the U.S. In Australia, you get to play basically seven cities so coming over to the states and being able to play like 30, 40, 50, 60 cities and have them all be insane shows is a pretty big deal for us. Any band from out of the States looks forward to that. Especially ones from Australia.
You take good care of yourself. What's your best-kept secret about maintaining fitness and nutrition on the road?
Disregard the fact that I said junk food to start with. Probably staying active is the main thing and caring about playing onstage. All of us care about the show that we put on. As far as we consider we fly around the world and people pay good money to see a show. So you want to give the best show possible. And that means that you want to actually be physically fit. It’s a physically demanding thing actually. Playing an hour or longer onstage you need a hell of a lot of energy. So basically making sure you give it your all onstage and making sure you’ve got some kind of fitness regime. We try and do that and run occasionally. Not too many video games.
What aspects of the music on your new album, and how the band has evolved, would you never have anticipated when you released your first album in 2005?
Basically when we released the first album in 2005, the idea was basically to play as fast and as hard as we can and that was it. That was as far as our music kind of went. As far as our ultimate goal, we kind of reached a point where we went okay, it can’t really get any faster without becoming noise and we realized that the hard part is when you kind of work it in with something that isn’t quite as hard. But when you have someone barking at you for a half hour straight you end up just tuning out.
So we want to make sure that we really, really hit it hard. There is a lot of stuff on this record that definitely feels like a lot of shading. I guess basically working in those areas that we hadn’t worked on before, when it comes to the more melodic parts. Making sure of those parts you normally wouldn’t notice to stand out a hell of a lot more and make sure that they are a hell of a lot catchier. And that the music around those parts sticks out a lot more and works towards making those guitar parts stick out. Like I’m still not exactly the greatest singer going when it comes to keeping the melody.
Lately onstage, you've been covering "Bulls on Parade" by Rage Against the Machine. Musically, what elements of the new album made a logical connection that led to wanting to cover that song?
I think definitely the groove. I’d say probably before this album, groove and the word and the concept of it would not have related to our band. But being able to actually play that song on stage and we all grew up listening to Rage. As far as we are concerned they are one of the greatest heavy metal bands. It’s one of those things where, when you a play as fast as you can it become like a natural challenge.
So actually learning how to keep it a little more subtle at times, work with different moments to create the rhythm. Yeah for me especially, the vocal technique. I guess the phrasing and that kind of stuff came massively into effect when it came to the new songs on the new record. And they definitely relate to a far more large variation. I guess style when it comes down to it. And Rage is definitely one of the maximum influences. There are definitely a few tracks on there where you can distinguish between the two.
Everything about Ire, the new album, from the packaging to a broader musical style will be somewhat unexpected for some people. What's appealing to you about taking listeners a little bit beyond their comfort zone?
Pretty much how you summed it up, the fact that it's not what people are going to expect. We figured, this is our fifth album and we've got EPs before that. So much music in this bands career. If you've done that amount of work, people expect something and as soon as they start expecting something it means you lose that anticipation and impact. Especially when it comes to making a record that is diversity when it comes to the actual sound. We don't want people to think they know what's coming. You lose the fun (laughs!)
We wanted to make sure that everything about this album was, from the single to the artwork, you really had to actually wait for it to come out to get the full picture. Everything we've put out until now, when it comes to the actual release has had that exact effect. That's what we want to do, keep people on their toes. If you already knew Parkway then you're kinda gonna be in for a shock with this one, we want to give you a heads up. If you've never heard us before, then maybe this is a good intro to that.
Many thanks to Winston McCall for the interview. Parkway Drive’s new album, Ire, will be released on Sept. 25. It’s available for pre-order now on iTunes. Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.
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