It would be a crime to classify Parkway Drive as simply another band to alloy hardcore and metal genres into a sound more parody than paragon. Basically because, they do it with a passion that will make you feel like youíve been kicked in the throat. Come to think of it, if youíve been lucky enough to see them live, you probably have been. Deep Blue, the unrelenting follow-up to 2007ís Horizons, raises the bar in every conceivable way. While maintaining the bandís uncompromising metallic-hardcore style at its core, it pushes into exciting new realms, drawing from a wider scope of influence, incorporating everything from anthemic punk to bloodcurdling death metal. Winston McCall took the time to answer a few questions for me.
Tell me about your experience playing No Sleep TilÖ Tour with all those big bands.
Winston: The tour was insane. So many awesome bands, so many friends, basically a great way to start summer. Being able to play a great show on stage then go and watch The Descendants and NOFX was amazing. Plus, we got to play after GWAR which meant sloshing around a stage soaked in second hand fake blood. Good times.
Speaking of which, Who do you want to tour with, but havenít yet?
Winston: Bad Religion and the Gaslight Anthem. I know we donít really sounds ANYTHING alike, but I just love both the bands. Just the chance to see them every night would be amazing.
I know you toured with Killswitch Engage in the states back in 2007, and Adam Dutkiewicz produced your last two records, so do you think you two will be touring the states again any time soon?
Winston: Iím not sure, is Killswitch still touring? I think there is probably more chance of Parkway and Times of Grace touring. Either way, weíd be stoked to hang with Adam again. Heís a great guy.
Do you prefer to play huge festivals, or the smaller, more intimate venues?
Winston: Both. Itís like comparing apple and oranges, theyíre both great but they taste different. Playing on a massive stage to a sea of people is indescribable, but at the same time, there is nothing like a small sweaty venue with people flying from every angle. I guess weíre lucky enough to be able to play both.
How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
Winston: Itís been a natural progression. We havenít exactly pushed it in leaps and bounds. We like the music we write and we try and keep it interesting and challenging for us to play, but weíre not out there trying to reinvent the wheel or anything. Itís generally a case of small refinements and personal taste that leads to the little changes we make. That and faster, heavier, catchier. That one works for us too.
What made the rest of the band choose the instruments they have now?
Winston: Jeff plays guitar because he loves Metallica. Pig plays guitar because he learned power chords at school and thought that made him a punk. Gaz hits the drums because he has ADD and love to be louder than everyone. Jia play bass, well no, actually he doesnít; he still sucks, and I yell because there is no place for a harmonica in the band. We donít mix it around that much, mainly because we are lucky we can play anything at all, let alone a second instrument.
Any chance youíll re-record some old songs like you did with Hollow (Man)?
Winston: Maybe, you never know. Hollow was kind of a rewrite rather than a re-record, but you never know.
What records have you been really enjoying lately?
Winston: Trapped Under Ice Ė Secrets of the World, 50 Lions Ė Time is The Enemy, Mother of Mercy, Symptoms of Existence, Sufjan Stephens Ė Age of Adz.
Do you find it hard as a musician to enjoy yourself at someone elseís show without analyzing it all in your head?
Winston: Sometimes. I depends who you are watching. If itís a band Iím passionate about in the first place, it is very easy to get lost in the moment. If it is something unfamiliar, it can be hard to just listen and not analyze.
What do you enjoy doing the most when youíre not performing or working on your music? I know you like to bodyboard back home.
Winston: Yeah, the beach. For me, itís my family and the beach. They are both things I miss on tour. Also, sleeping in the same bed for more than one night in a row.
What has been your favorite nation to tour in?
Australia. Best country in the world.
Where do you view Parkway Driveís role in the worldwide hardcore scene?
Winston: I have no idea. Weíre kind of nomads. It seems like a lot of people like us, but Iím sure just as many think weíre idiots. For me, I still love and care about hardcore. It will always be a part of my life. Whether people think that it is represented through Parkway is up to them, but thatís how it stands for me.
What were some of your inspirations for writing Deep Blue?
Winston: Life and the world we live in. Lyrically, it was a combination of the world I have seen, meeting the world I know and grew up in, and the impact it causes when the two collide.
What song changed the most during the recording process of Deep Blue?
Winston: Hahaha, this is a weird one to answer. Unrest, because it is the ONLY song that changed, and all that happened was we added one bar to the last breakdown. Thatís literally the only change we made from jamming at home to the final product.
Last question; pick two songs; one from your catalog, that you want new fans to check out after reading this interview. And one song from any band/genre.
Winston: Karma. It was the last song we wrote for Deep Blue and i love it. Jeffís lead sounds Egyptian, haha.
For the other one: Bad Religion Ė Do What You Want. This song is responsible for me listening to punk in the first place. It was amazing when it was written and still gets me psyched to this day.
1. For the record, state your name and what you do.
Carly: Iím Carly Krantz, and I sing/write music/play piano
2. Give a brief history on your previous bands, and how you got to where you are now.
Carly: I was in a band called Kenotia and we signed to Sumerian Records in 2007 and we put out our album, ďYouíve Dug Your Grave, Now Lie In ItĒ the same year. After the band had basically run itís course I decided I wanted to do a solo project, one, because I wanted to do something different and two, I honestly didnít want to deal with anyone elseís bullshit anymore.
3. What records have you been listening to lately?
Carly: Iím way behind the times on music. I donít really pay attention too much to what comes out when, I just come across things in my own time so right now Iíve been listening to a lot of different stuff. I think the three or four main things Iíve been playing are Emarosa/Relativity, Jessie J, Bruno Mars, In This Moment and Iím going to be honest, Iíve been rockin some Britney Spears lately..
4. Can you give a description of what your band sounds like?
Carly: Right now, Iím doing a pop solo project, and Iím just writing whatever happens to come at me at the time. There are some definite rock tracks, but for the most part, itís very straight forward pop music, which is a long way from where I started in Kenotia. I had been writing these ambient rock songs for so long that I just wanted to write something fun that didnít have to be so serious musically, something that people could put on and have a party to.
5. What are your musical influences?
Carly: I think I take a lot of different things from most everything I listen to. My favorite band is Heart so in the back of my mind, I know down the road I want to come back to that raw, basic, stripped down feel. But for now, I try to listen to everything and mix all the things that I like because thatís the awesome thing about music, there are no rules. You know, who says I canít have this r&b club track that maybe has a heavy sort of break down in the bridge? Do what you like, however random it is and who knows? You may create a genre.
6. What genre of music do you consider your work to be?
Carly: Kenotia was an ambient rock band and now my solo stuff is pop/hip hopÖÖ..big leap. :)
7. What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
Carly: I think the thing to remember for people that want to start a band is that it really is hard. Youíve got 5 or 6 different people that want to be right and want things to go a certain way, so compromise is something that you have to be able to deal with. Bands donít just randomly break up, thereís a reason so many bands have member changes. And also do it for the love and not for the money because if youíre expecting to make a living off it, then good luck, because thereís very little out there. But as long as youíre doing it because itís in your heart to do it and thatís who you are, youíll be fine. Like I said, do what you like and to hell with everything else.
8. How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?
Carly: You can find my stuff on www.carlykrantz.com, there are links to iTunes and tunecore where you can download songs and there are some videos and pictures up. There are also links to my twitter and facebook and so forth.
9. Anything else youíd like to say to your fans?
Carly: First and most importantly, there are fans that have been with me since before Kenotia was ever signed, so to those people that have continued to support me and write me on facebook and tell their friends about me, thank you so much. It means the world to me that you guys have stuck around. The second thing is, keep an open mind about music in general. The great thing about music or any art is that there is a time and place for every type, and it doesnít all have to be so serious. Sometimes you need to just blast a song that makes you want to dance like an idiot, thereís a beauty to all of it. So donít be afraid to like something different! And remember I love you!
Note: This interview first appeared on ATLmetal.com which was written by me.
Through Tragedy are an unsigned Canadian progressive metalcore band from Calgary, Alberta, formed in June of 2009. The band consists of vocalist Eric Koch, guitarist Calvin Chapman, bassist Brett Miller, and drummer Ryan Kusz. With a strong do it yourself work ethic, the band emerged with their self-titled demo released in 2010, and then proceeded to tour in support of it. Through Tragedy embodies the do it yourself work ethic by booking their own tours, recording their own music, and doing their own art. With a vast array of musical influences spanning across all members, Through Tragedy uses that to their advantage to create music that is unique, meaningful, and powerful. They took the time to answer a few questions by e-mail for me:
Whatís the origin of that name and have you changed the bandís name before?
Through Tragedy, our band name was derived from one of our older songs which was influenced by the tragic events we have all faced in our lives and the steps to recovering from them
Who are your major influences?
Parkway Drive, As I Lay Dying, Misery Signals, Between the Buried and Me
How did you meet each other?
Calvin and Eric met through the magic of the internet about 3 years ago, it was a bromance from the get go.
Eric met Brett Miller through a different band 4 years ago, and when we had to replace our bass player, we called on Brett and he was down. Ryan and Kyle shared a jam space with us in their former band for about a year and a half, when we lost our other members it was just natural to call upon those talented and beautiful individuals.
What inspired you to make music together?
All of us have an intense passion for music and really Ė itís the only thing weíre good at.
Are you subject to brand loyalty or will you play with whateverís available? (What made you choose the instruments you have now? Was it cost or was it a style/model/brand/color preference?)
Ryan Ė ďWhatever is cheapest, and stays together the longestĒ
Calvin Ė Esp and Peavy
Brett Ė Fender Bass/Amp
Kyle Ė Digs LTD and Line Six
Eric Ė Korg Pianos
Calvin has brand loyalty to ESP, everyone else is really flexible to what we play, as long as itís good and of quality we are down.
Where have you performed and do you have any upcoming shows?
All over Western Canada so far. Weíre playing in the town of Wainright in general is always a great time, and everywhere in BC was amazing. We are playing Wainright January 8th at Theatre 75, Calgary January 15th in Verns, Edmonton January 22nd.
Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play any covers? Do you have a set play list?
Our two favorite songs to play are Curse Called Time, and Reply and they will probably be kicking around our set list for quite some time. We just released our version of Gimme Sympathy by Metric onto our Myspace so that will be the cover we will be playing for the time being. We donít really have a set play list; we like to change things up from town to town.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
We all write the songs, no one in specific writes the song Ė one of us presents an idea and everyone makes their own version then we see which works best where. To say the least, it is all a collaborative effort. I write the majority of lyrics with contributions from everyone else if they have ideas. Typically, the topics vary from anything such as religious ideas and themes, to personal experiences and issues faced, and everything in between. Itís hard to say how much the topics will change over the course of time, but it is a guarantee that as our music gets more mature, so will the lyric base, where that leads remains to be seen.
Could you briefly describe the music-making process?
Someone writes a riff, we build upon it, put it together and then polish it off with vocals and piano parts
What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?
Spontaneous jams typically; we usually jam for a couple hours 2-4 times a week whenever we can really as everyone has a fairly busy schedule. At rehearsal, we basically just take a look at what we are weakest at and then practice the hell out of it.
How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
Our music has evolved dramatically since Calvin and Eric first started making the formation of what became Through Tragedy. In the beginning, there was a lot more punk influences and as we finalized the band line up, we slowly evolved to a more heavy and progressive style.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band and how did you overcome it?
Kicking out the douchebags that were previously in the band, and stabilizing our lineup with the group of friends we have now. Over the years, we have lost a few members who proved themselves to be, letís say unreliable and shady. Luckily through the connections we made in the band previously, we were able to create a solid lineup.
Was there ever a time on tour when you almost died?
Forget ďaĒ time, try multiple. Some people on the road DO NOT know how to drive.
What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
Stay positive, overcome the obstacles, be persistent and donít take shit from assholes who like to talk on the internet and douchebag promoters.
How can fans-to-be gain access to your music?
You can find some of it on our Myspace or you can also download songs such as our Metric cover off our ReverbNation. On top of that, if someone has spare $4 dollars, you can grab our EP off iTunes and we would be more than happy to personally email you the Metric cover if you want it!
Is there anyone youíd like to acknowledge for offering financial or emotional support?
Our family, our close friends who have stuck with us from the beginning, especially the ones that came to our shows and moshed when we especially sucked as well as all the amazing friends, promoters, and fans we have made on the road so far.