Parkwave Drive’s Winston McCall on ‘Reverence': We’re Done Chasing Our Tail
Parkway Drive's Winston McCall was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. The frontman discussed the shift in the band's sound and how they worked toward developing a new identity without losing sight of their identity. He says a lot has changed since starting the band when he was just 20 years old and explains it all in the chat below.
The new Parkway Drive record, Reverence, is a significant shift in musicality. What gave you the confidence to make that leap?
Basically, having done it for 15 years, to be honest. We came off the back of Ire which was the first big step out of the lane that we're driving on with our sound. That was really done very much on faith in being able to redefine what we were and this time around it was done off the back of Ire being a fantastic success and us being able to create that and looking back and going, "Okay we can try our hand at different sounds and we can define exactly what this can and will be, even if that means something that we've never done before." So that's basically what we've walked into for this writing process.
There is grief and lament in some of the lyrics on Reverence. How has expressing such a personal side of yourself changed you as a vocalist?
It was probably the biggest influence on me stylistically, simply because there was these lyrics that came out through the process of creating this album which I couldn't form in the way that I was used to. Creating vocal stylings and having it do justice to that situation or the topic that I was talking about involved a lot of experimentation. A lot of work and faith toward being true to the moment, true to the character that was those very specific songs because at the end of the day, a lot of the stuff we've done was incredibly heavy in the past and there was some moments on this album simply because it was something that couldn't just be screamed out of anger, it was something that had to be created with a very different vocal tone. That's where it all came in.
The last album, Ire, seemed to be a conscious effort to reinvent yourselves. How did the process of making that album directly affect the way you went about making Reverence?
Massively. Ire was basically the biggest effort we've ever made as a band. It was the first time which we found ourselves pushing into a completely new territory other than actually starting the band. It would have been easier just to restart again simply because we still wanted it to represent Parkway so we had to figure out what Parkway actually was and then redefine that, but the good thing was when it came to doing Reverence it basically meant that we were able to take the confidence of knowing we could simply run on the idea of the very core foundation of what this band was which was we enjoy making heavy music, we enjoy making music, we like listening to it and musically like playing and that's very, very simple.
But across that, it's a very vast scope of sound and I think if you do something for however long you're doing it, you can find yourself eventually chasing your tail and when you decide not to chase your tail, it's a very big world out there. You kind of have to be brave and step into it and Ire was the tentative steps whereas Reverence was definitely like I was saying, "No we're going to go in a very different direction and we're very confident that we'll be able to take those lessons we learned and run with it."
You were 20-years-old when Parkway Drive started. What's changed most about you personally and musically and what's still the same?
Absolutely everything. And, I'm one of the older members — Ben and Jia were like 16 when we started this and we've been doing this for 15 years so they've been doing it over half they're lives. I don’t know how many countries we've played in — I think we've been to over 100 countries something like that.
This band has shaped the people we are and it's been our life, so it not only changes you as a person as you grow as a band, that affects the person you are and then that again affects the music you create. Then that flows back into who you are within the band. It's just the constant give and take between our passion, which is our music, and our personalities. Because at the end of the day, this is a reflection of personalities rather than some manufactured concept of what our sound should be. It's been this ebb and flow between the two for 15 years now, which is insane. I can't put it down to one specific thing, I'd have to say it's a very simple equation that we are Parkway Drive and Parkway Drive has created us in equal terms, which is a pretty weird thing, I think.
Later this year you'll tour the United States with August Burns Red and The Devil Wears Prada. Coming from Australia, what's your favorite thing about playing here in America?
Where do we start on that one? The crowds are fantastic and the crowds have only ever gotten better. We're super psyched to be coming back. Most of the bands we grew up listening to were from America in the first place so it's always crazy to be able to come to America and play legendary venues where like, we see some band [name] scribbled with a sharpie on the wall that they've played there, so the history is absolutely insane. The food is fantastic. We're talking about a band that grew up touring Australia and playing seven cities, so to be able to come to America and be able to literally just tour and tour is an absolute blessing.
Thanks to Winston McCall for the interview. Get your copy of Parkway Drive's 'Reverence' here follow the band Facebook to stay up to date with all they're doing. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show here.
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