There is no denying that Parkway Drive is the most fearless band in Australia. We’ve seen the Byron Bay lads dive off cliff tops, surf some of the world’s biggest waves, and even jump out of planes for their latest music video. However, their fifth full length, Ire, sees the band take their biggest leap of faith yet. Jumping into unknown territory, the band that has inspired many acts in the metalcore scene has taken a stunning creative turn in an attempt to reach even greater heights. Vocalist Winston McCall sits down to chat with Mixdown about what fans can expect from the Ire, and reflects back on 12 years in Parkway Drive.
Upon first listening of the album you can definitely see some changes from previous material. For a fan it’s actually quite inspiring to see a band such as yourself of such a high stature take such a leap of faith with this new sound. I think it’s definitely going to pay off in the long run.
Hopefully. The thing is, no matter what it has paid off for us. We loved the process of making this record. It pushed us so much further than anything we’ve ever done, literally since starting the band. It is one of those things, we’ve put out a back catalogue of albums which we’ve put our heart and soul into and people have connected to it. It’s been absolutely amazing, and we still completely love those songs, but we kind of can’t recreate that and still have the same feeling when we feel that we literally poured everything we’ve got into that formula. So you’ve got to start trying to reinterpret sounds and stuff like that and really challenge yourself all over again. So it sounds like the most creative time of the band since we started the band.
How do you believe your writing processes have developed over these years?
Well originally we had no writing process. Jeff would write riffs and we’d put some lines together and that was the song, and no riff could have more than like two parts stacked together before they had to have a breakdown. That was as simple as it literally once was and that rolled for quite a long period of time. We slowly started working in the idea that you don’t necessarily don’t have to have 25 different riffs in the song, you can actually play that one memorable part more than once, so that was the basics. This time around it went also into trying to get different sounds and focus in on what we actually wanted the highlights of our sounds to be and simply making sure that when the guitars were highlighting the melody that they weren’t clashing with me going mental and getting lost and the same thing with the vocals. That was kind of the difference in the writing process this time round. It leads to a much wider sound as well; the whole idea was to create a far larger sonic scope which is going to expand the actual live sound when you hear it live. When you’re playing in one style, fast with breakdowns, it leads to a very specific style of mixing and a very specific c wall of sound when you get in the live arena. But when you open it up and you draw back the amount that’s in it means the sound can flatten out so much further because they don’t have to compress it that much. It makes a massive difference when you hear it live and that was the whole thing, being able to create a full spectrum of sound. The difference between the old sound and the new sound is black and white and colour, and each have their own amazing forms to them, but when we combine them it’s always going to end up that’s a lot different from anything we’ve got.
What can fans expect from the new shows?
We haven’t toured Australia in a quite some time; it’s changed a little bit. It’s not like it’s lost anything. We’ve focused over the last couple of years on really intensifying the live experience, rather than it being just the old ‘we are a soundtrack to chaos’ out there and that’s it. We wanted to make sure that what was happening on the stage heightened the experience to go along with the music. I don’t want to give too much away, but there is definitely a very large step up in, when it comes to us performing. The actual show design as well, it’s not so much an ‘anything goes’ and we just kind of roll with it. It’s a very well designed thing and a lot can actually go wrong and it involves some pretty amazing visuals.
There’s quite a bit of emotion behind Ire, what inspired you in the writing of the album?
It’s one of those things where I don’t necessarily find one topic and write about it, it’s very hard for me to pinpoint an exact point in time where it’s like ‘hey, that’s what inspired me.’ I mostly wanted to convey a human sense of anger, simply to go along with the album title. The songs came before the album title, but a lot of them are born out of frustration and the idea that the world that we live in is not functioning in a way that is equal or fair or basically speaks to the best of human quality. That’s basically where it comes from; it comes from trying to connect those human emotions to a level of understanding to the idea that to be angry at this point in time is what needs to happen rather than just feeling complacent and lost.