One of my favorite metal bands goes by the name of Parkway Drive. As many of you know, they are one of Australia’s finest, having made their presence known all over the world. Embarking on a new North American tour, just releasing a new record and so much more, they have a lot going on these days. Their new album, Ire, has really changed the way I look at this band—for the better! I recently had the time to chat with Winston McCall, singer of Parkway Drive, about any and everything in between. To say they are cool guys is an understatement. Check it out below:
Thanks for taking the time to chat. First and foremost, I have to start off by saying I am so excited for your North American tour to kick off. I will be catching you guys at Irving Plaza in NYC. The lineup is amazing; can you tell us a little bit about how it came about?
Hey Maria, no problem at all. Thanks for the questions. We’re excited to be coming back to North America; it’s been over a year, especially in New York. The lineup is an absolute ripper. To be honest, we work more on personalities when it comes to picking bands that we are working with; that’s the way it works. Miss May I just put out a ripping new record. We figured, what better band to grab for this tour? In regards to the other bands, we have been friends from home for a long time; it’s pretty awesome. Three out of four bands being Australian? Pretty amazing!
You guys have always been one of my favorite live bands. Any surprises you will bring to the table on this tour?
Thanks, I am really stoked that we are one of your favorite live bands, that’s awesome. That’s a pretty big thing; that means a lot. This tour we have stepped everything up; everything to heighten the entire show. The actual visual package is so much tighter and way more thought-out than anything we have done in the past. It’s Parkway Drive 2.0. If you’ve seen any of the pictures from the first leg of the tour, you’ll have an idea what to expect. It’s going to be mental!
For fans like myself (and professionals), can you give us some of your tour rituals? Is there anything you must have with you on the road?
Tour rituals, well, anything we must have? Not really, to be honest. Because we started touring from the ground up, and by that I mean literally taking our own band and filling it with people and driving ourselves around, we kind of came to rely on having absolutely nothing except ourselves. To us, anything is a bonus. If I have a bed, that’s a huge bonus!
I also want to talk to new record, Ire. I think it may be my favorite record of yours to date. I feel this is a true turning point for the band. Can you tell us a little bit about the writing process on this record?
Favorite record of ours to date, eh? That’s great, thank you very much. You are very nice, but I am very bias (laughs). I definitely think it was and has been a turning point for the point. That was the whole feeling that went into the entire writing process, to take that turn. We had a very concise deliberate track down one path, which led to kind of strengthening everything we created, but also left us exhausted on our creative input.
When it came to the actual writing process, we spent the most amount of time seeing where we wanted to take this sound, and where we could process. Not only just building on what we had, but really expanding. It took a really long time. We wanted to maintain some old stuff in the new sound too, so it was a lot of trial and error between the writing core group, me, Jeff, and Ben, and this was basically the entire process for writing this whole record. Nothing was too far for us to try; we wanted to create a sound that worked with Parkway.
How has the fan reaction been to the new record thus far? I think you guys have definitely stepped out of your comfort zone, and judging by social media, the fans have come with you.
It’s been absolutely amazing (laughs). It’s one of those things where we didn’t know what to expect simply because it was the first time we made something that was different from 10 years of a very established sound. The whole idea was to do something that wasn’t to be expected, and create something fresh for us as well! When you do that, you don’t know what to expect. We are so lucky; we liked the way it sounded, and our fans have the same feeling so it seems! If we like writing this music, and we like playing it, there may be some likeminded people out there, and that seems to be the case! It’s not even a month in its existence, so that’s saying a lot!
I have to ask, given your track record in this band, was this record vocally challenging for you (honestly, I truly enjoy your voice).
Yes, the short answer is yes (laughs). That was the whole idea though. When we were writing, we realized if we were going to evolve the sound, we had to evolve the whole aspect. For 10 years, there had been one specific character of voice, and we wanted to expand further, which meant harnessing different vocals cords. That meant I had to learn how to sing; control my voice, and experiment with things I have never done. It made our techniques much more effective, honestly. Some of those parts may have been drowned out by excessive screaming, but not this time around!
If you don’t mind me picking, my favorite track on the record is “Bottom Feeder,” just FYI.
Haha, this isn’t a question, but I am so glad you like it! I love that one too—that’s great!
It’s crazy to think it’s been 10 years since Killing With A Smile came out. That was the record that got me hooked on you guys! What would you say has changed the most for you guys as a band in this past decade?
It is so crazy; it seems like a lifetime ago. The main thing that has changed has been us as people. This band has always been a representation of the people in it. It’s simply an outlet for our creative influence and our personalities. That’s been the main change; that’s what led to the change with the new record. After 10 years, we felt we were doing the same thing. All of our input had changed. This is why we chose to do something to reignite the feeling we had when we first started the band rather than continue down the same path, and hope for new results.
You have opened my ears up to a lot of Australian bands. Are there any bands (can be from anywhere) that are currently on your radar?
That’s fantastic, that’s a really amazing thing. No one even knew bands existed in Australia at one point. The fact that people know them now is amazing. Many bands over the years have come and gone, so it’s very cool to see a lot getting noticed. Northlane are currently on my radar, In Hearts Wake, and many more. They’re all absolutely killing it; if you haven’t seen these bands live, more of the reason to come to these shows, because they are amazing!
Parkway Drive seems to have done it all. Is there anything on your professional “bucket list” that you have yet to achieve?
You know, up until doing this record, we took every opportunity we had. We had no goals; we were just surprised by everything we achieved, and we were always surprised by how big it got. Having done this record, it really seems like… it has felt like opening an entire new door to a whole new existence that I now feel that there isn’t a limit to this band. The determination and the drive is there more than ever. For the first time in our careers we have a goal to keep going and keep pushing the door open. The moment is rolling in a way we have never felt before. We want to take the faith people have put in us to the stage. That’s the bucket list for us!
For anyone who is having doubts about seeing you guys on tour (clearly no common sense), how can you convince them?
(Laughs) How about YouTube? If you haven’t seen us live, you have never experienced Parkway Drive. We are a live band first. I cannot begin to experience the chaos that happens at our show. Get on YouTube, get a taste! Thank you very, very much!
Parkway Drive play at Irving Plaza in New York City on Nov. 14, The Paramount in Huntington, NY on Nov. 16, and The Fillmore Philadelphia on Nov. 17. To learn more about them and their new album, Ire, visit parkwaydriverock.com.