For a band who say they were ‘‘never that great at making music in the first place’’, Byron Bay hardcore act Parkway Drive have come a long way, chalking up a thousand shows and a decade together.
LIVE caught up with singer Winston McCall ahead of their Atlas Australian tour, including a show at Newcastle Panthers on Monday.
Despite their runaway success – including top-10 albums, sell-out tours worldwide and a legion of fans – McCall can’t recall how the band made the move from mates who liked music to mates who formed a band.
‘‘[I’m] not really sure to be honest,’’ he said. ‘‘I think we were all interested in trying something new, there wasn’t really a particular catalyst and we were never that great at making music in the first place, I think we all just thought, why not?’’
Of staying together 10 years: ‘‘We expected to survive half this time at max, so this is crazy. Time flies when you’re having fun.’’
And having fun he is, saying playing live is a vital part of enjoying being the frontman of Parkway Drive. He loves getting up on stage as much as he ever did: ‘‘It’s a part of me that I don’t know what I would do without.’’
This year the band have played shows across the UK, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Hungary and the Czech Republic. But, ever an Aussie at heart, McCall rates Australian audiences above them all.
‘‘It’s always great to come home,’’ he says. ‘‘You never realise how awesome Australian shows are until you hit the stage again, then it’s just, wow, this is what we’ve been missing.’’
Case in point was the manic crowd response to the band’s blistering set at this year’s Groovin’ The Moo, Maitland. The reaction left them eager to return.
‘‘[We’re] so psyched. Newcastle has always been so good to us from the word go. No matter how many people came to our gigs, it was always crazy and that hasn’t changed with time,’’ McCall says.
Over the years the size of the crowds has changed considerably – Parkway Drive now plays Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion and Perth’s Challenge Stadium. McCall reflects on the impact of playing to stadium crowds on the live show: ‘‘I think it has changed our confidence at what we do, but it hasn’t changed the core of this band, that being our aim when writing music and the way we feel when we play.’’
The singer, who grew up on a diet of his parents’ music – The Rolling Stones and reggae – before getting into punk, hip hop, a little techno and, later hardcore, says he doesn’t have a ‘‘super favourite’’ song to play live.
‘‘We try and play a bit of everything but it’s getting harder and harder to fit a bit of everything into one set,’’ he says. ‘‘We’re blessed with the curse of people loving all our stuff, and no matter what, we can’t play everything at once so someone’s going to miss out.’’
The band will include songs from their latest and fourth studio album, Atlas, at next week’s show. McCall says the album, which was recorded in LA with Matt Hyde (Slayer, Sum 41, Hatebreed, Alkaline Trio), is a progression from their previous album, Deep Blue.
‘‘I think Deep Blue was the spark for creating this record,’’ he says. ‘‘We tested little things with Deep Blue but with Atlas it was no holds barred, nothing off-limits. We took the structuring of the record and the flow and feel that we had learnt, and built upon it. Every aspect we tried to use to its maximum effect, which is why it is so heavy, yet so melodic.’’
Parkway Drive play Newcastle Panthers with special guests I Killed The Prom Queen, Northlane and Survival on Monday. Tickets at Moshtix.