Let’s get real, Parkway Drive needs no intros. Following up their 2010 Aria Award and third full length release, ‘Deep Blue’, we caught up with superstar frontman, Winston McCall before their return to Australia later this year for their nation-wide No Sleep Til Festival tour.
To kick start things, let’s make sure our readers know which band exactly we are talking to. What’s the strangest aspect of your band that defines you guys uniquely compared to any other group in the universe?
Parkway drive, the only band in the world that has lost a boat.
Now that we’ve got that sorted, can you inform us on your name, role in the band and favourite thing about playing in Parkway Drive?
Winston, I make the voice noises and I like jumping off things onto people
Your third and most successful studio album to date, ‘Deep Blue’ dropped this year. What has changed since the release of this CD? Have the shows been different? Has the reaction from fans gone in a different direction?
Its kind of hard to answer. Nothing has changed, but then everything has changed at the same time. Shows have gone from insane, to something I can’t even get my head around. All of a sudden there are a million people wanting to talk to us, and we’re getting awards for making a lot of noise, which in my mind doesn’t really compute. The whole thing has been very hard to grasp, just because the change has been very rapid, and the attention we are getting is of a volume that I never thought possible. So far the fan reaction to the music has been great. I think it may not mauve gone in a new direction, there is just a greater and more diverse number of people pushing this band which is, again, very hard to make senses of.
Whilst undoubtedly a metal/hardcore album, you guys are known to not favour too many bands of this style and instead lean towards bands with more punk roots. What would you think your biggest influences towards writing this CD were?
Musically it was about writing a record that didn’t necessarily take influence from a specific area of sound, and just trying to write something that sounded like us, but at the same time didn’t sounds like just another record for us. We’re never out to break boundaries musically, but we do like what we do and we wanted to make a record that had diversity to it. From a personal stand point the influences came from reading, both fiction and non fiction. There are three songs based from novels I was reading at the time, 1984, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Siddhartha.
I remember having the privilege of watching you guys back in 2005 when you would play in youth centres and community centres. It’s amazing that a few years later this same band is now playing sold out shows of several thousand people across the world. For a heavy band, and an Australian one at that matter, what do you attribute your phenomenal success over these past years to?
Support. Thats all that it comes down too. We are no ones, doing nothing special. We were the right sounds, at the right time, that made the right choices, but all that aside it has come down to the people butting our records, coming to our shows and picking up our merch that has made the current situation what it is. We just do what we do, we play music. We would be fiver guys in an empty venue if it wasn’t for the however many people that come to support us showing up.
Further to debuting at No.2 on the Aria Charts, you guys actually won the award for Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album category for this ‘Deep Blue’ in 2010. It’s more than clear that you guys are pioneering the recognition of heavy music within mainstream spheres within Australia. On top of your status as a nation-wide recognised band, what are your thoughts towards metal and hardcore as a growing, and more widely accepted genre, and do you think it will ever become accepted as a mainstream musical style?
I think the "scene" ebbs and flows. It has its up and downs, but it seems this band has become somewhat detached from that over the years, probably because we spend so much time overseas. From the bands I hear, and the shows I see when I’m home, we have a great scene, free of the majority of the bullshit that plagues other areas of the globe. As far as mainstream recognition, this has come without an attempt to gain it. Awards seem bizarre, and to be honest I don’t really care either way. I hope it doesn’t sound arrogant, it’s just we don’t do what we to win awards, it changes very little. It is however great that the category now exist to recognise a very overlooked style of music that in my opinion contains THE hardest working bands and individuals making music in Australia today. I don’t care if there is awards or not, but its about time people within the "industry" realise that handwork means more than marketing and cash cows, and that the public have woken up to the bullshit. Fuck I must sound like an arsehole hahaha.
Having gone from a previously supporting to headlining act on this tour, you guys are finishing up your line of Never Say Die shows throughout Europe alongside metal/hardcore heavyweights, Comeback Kid, Emmure, Bleeding Through amongst others. What’s it like headlining shows globally in comparison to Australia?
It’s amazing, its amazing to be headlong anywhere. So far the tour is awesome. All the bands are killing it, we’re catching up with some old friends, and its great to see so many smiling faces. It going into winter here, its snowing today so we bought over our sunsets and waves and boats hahaha. The awesome thing is, in an area that has so much heavy music history, they get that we are just trying to have fun. I love that we can use music and energy to overcome any language barrier.
So in this way, this band has taken you throughout almost all parts of the world which must have forged some of the most amazing experiences. What are your favourite places to visit, and are there any areas you haven’t visited yet that you can be sure to meet in the future?
Anywhere is great, my favourite place is home with my family. There are plenty of places still to go and we are slowly but surely getting there. We will play in this band and see as much of the world as we can until people tell us to shut the fuck up. Until then we will fly, drive and paddle everywhere. We’re off to Greece in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait to get back there!!!
Alongside Megadeth, NoFX, Dropkick Murphys, Gwar and others, Parkway Drive will be headlining the No Sleep Til fest this coming December across Australia. Are there any highlights you’ll be looking forward to on this national tour?
Gwar’s blood cannons, seeing Decandants, Frenzal and everyone else. Catching up with friends, and probably getting smoked out of the water by our boys A Day To Remember
Are there any away-from-the-norm antics to be expected on this tour that you’d like to prepare all fans that are attending?
You mean painted midgets hahaha, I’m not sure. We went a little crazy on the last tour, but I’m not a fan of gimmicks. BUT we are a fan of random crap idea’s so there could be something, we have a few weeks left on tour so something could be arranged. Stage diving donkey anyone?
You guys have received much praise throughout the community for supporting local bands on your national tours and allowing many younger acts the opportunity to experience exposure on a scale like yours. Are there any upcoming local bands, national and or international, that you are really stoked on at the moment?
I hear a Street Youth tour may be on the cards, other than that, 50 Lions still, they’re killing it in Europe as well, Miles Away with an amazing new record, BLKOUT, I Exist, Ill Brigade and many more.
Care to let us in on what 2011 holds for Parkway Drive?
Tours and writing. We never sit still for too long, and we plan to start moving on new stuff as soon as the new year begin. It was so long between Horizons and Deep Blue, we don’t what to leave it that long again, and the whole recording process kick started our desire to write new stuff like nothing we’ve had before.
Thanks a lot for all of this. Hypothetically, if this is to be the last interview you are to ever do, what are your last words for all the fans, haters, readers, cybernetters out there?