5 Questions With Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall: Latest Album ‘Ire,’ Playing Live + New Material
Australian band Parkway Drive have been hitting the North American festival market and we caught up with frontman Winston McCall at this year’s Rock’N Derby Festival. He spoke all about the band’s latest release, Ire, the band’s live performances and the challenge for Aussie musicians breaking into the States. The singer also shared his enthusiasm to write brand-new material very soon. Check out our interview with Winston McCall of Parkway Drive below:
Ire -- what does the title of your latest album mean to you personally?
Personally, so the record is basically about validating the concept of being angry. I don’t know, I think we live in a very interesting time where it’s very blatant that there are a lot of things wrong with the way the world functions and yet we seem to demonize the concept of being angry and speaking out about things. I think if you don’t validate that as a basic human emotion then you basically take away a lot of people’s power and that’s what it stands for, it’s about recognizing that personally for me is what it stands for. I think it’s quite damaging for anyone to feel like less of a person for a simple, basic emotion.
When writing or thinking about the songs, do you think of it in a live context or adjust the ideas to fit a live concert atmosphere and does it affect your writing?
Yes, 100 percent, especially these days. We’ve always been a live band first and foremost but I guess the transition happened a while back – us being a live band when we used to write we would plan for a handful of friends and we just wanted mosh parts, that’s it. Shows got bigger and bigger and different dynamics started coming in, you start playing for an hour and you can’t circle pit and mosh for an hour otherwise the crowd is literally dead. We were playing these hourlong sets and five songs in we’d see people like, “Slow down please, I want a breather” which is why you end up with a lot of difference dynamics on the record. We want to try and create a show that has high points and low points and flows and creates big moments and it isn’t just. “You’re getting punched in the face until we stop!” [Laughs]
There are many more Aussie bands out there in heavy music now than when Parkway Drive first started. At the beginning, how difficult was it for you guys as an Australian band to break into the States?
The States have been the most difficult; it’s so big and has such an established musical institution and musical industry. It kind of didn’t work the same way as everywhere else because everywhere else we’re like, “Let’s just play!,” and that’s it but there’s so many bands playing here that people’s attention spans move way quicker. You tour once a year and come back and people are like, “Who’s this band again?” It’s been a lot of work, with that being said, we love playing and we love touring, it just hasn’t happened in the same exact process as everywhere else.
What does the rest of 2016 have in store for you?
We go home and have a month off, do some writing and do some shows in Australia, do some more writing. We have a bunch of crazy big festivals in Europe, it’s going to be some of the biggest shows we’ve ever played. We’re headlining a bunch of big shows which is a huge responsibility but we have an actual show lined up production wise which is a size we’ve never been able to do before so hopefully people will be able to see Parkway in a totally different light. It should be really fun, once we don’t blow ourselves up and we’re looking to be back Stateside later this year, I think fall for you guys if it all goes as planned. To be honest our priority right now is to try and make up for lost time in North America.
Ire still feels relatively very new to me. What was that recording process like and are you already writing material for the next album?
That whole record feels fresh, there are still songs that we haven’t played off of it but at the same time we’re keen to start putting new songs together because it takes us a long time to write. We’re not one of those bands where we’re like, “Cool we’re recording next month so let’s write this record in two weeks and crank it out.” Ire took three years to write and we stickle over the smallest things for so long. It might seem like bread and butter music to some people but even if it’s figuring out the exact right note and how long to hold it for, we make sure it’s exactly the way we want it.
The progression is really, really fun, Ire was a big experiment where we didn’t know what would work until we finished the recording. It was all of these sounds and ways of playing and singing and stuff that we’ve never done before. When we wrote it we were like, “I think this is okay.” Whereas now we know how it works, we know how we want to create and we can start writing from scratch on all of these different kind of concepts saying, “This is how we’re going to do it, this is how this bit is going to work.” We have a lot of ideas which are more out there than what we did on the last record and far more precise, it’s going to be really fun. I don’t think it’s going to take long to write, we want to have it out in a shorter amount of time but because we have all that knowledge to build on and we know what already works, we can start building on that knowledge and I’ll be able to put a lot more into the music. Fingers crossed. [Laughs]
Our thanks to Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall for the interview! Be sure to get the album 'Ire' here via iTunes.
Check Out Parkway Drive's Live Video for "Crushed"