Perusing the Web Thursday, I found myself scrolling through the concert calendar on newbrooklandtavern.com. It had been a while since I’d gone to a local show and I knew I had a scheduling conflict for Toro Y Moi Saturday night and couldn’t find a ride/companion for Trey Anastasio in Charlotte Friday night; I was fiending live music in the worst way.
As luck may have it, I stumbled upon Parachute Musical headlining NBT that night. I had seen the Nashville-based quartet at The Channel in Greenville earlier in the year and was blown away by their chemistry and strikingly complex approach to pop music. Thanks to the power of Scene SC and Twitter, David got me on the guest list.
Not only did the guys put on a terrific, high-energy show (albeit for a very small crowd), they were kind enough to humor me with an interview for the site. Bass player Andrew Samples and frontman/keyboardist/guitarist Josh Foster joined me on venue’s back porch to discuss the band’s new album, some touring hi-jinx and have me make wild assumptions about who I think they sound like.
You guys came out with a new record recently, right?
Josh: We put out a new record called Kill It Cut It Down; it’s been out for just a little while. We recorded it this year in January and…got it out this year [laughs]. That’s an accomplishment for us.
Is there anything in specific, songwriting, etc., that has progressed or evolved from your last effort to this one?
Josh: We released a two-song EP thing – a two-song single I guess you would call it – called No Comfort about two years ago…That was kind of like the gap between our last full-length and this one…It showed a little bit more educated songwriting…it has more pop sensibilities, but we still maintain who we are and what we like to do…Everything’s Working Out Fine in Some Town was very orchestrated and loose in terms in structure, but it was also a storybook record so it kind of made sense to do that.
What would you say that your biggest influences are? When I listen to your music, it’s a hodge-podge trying to describe you guys in my head. There are a lot of pop elements, things you might hear on the radio – one band stuck out to me that made no sense listening to your music, but did at the same time. You guys sound, or have a very similar vibe to Rush…
[Andrew starts laughing]
Josh: That makes me vomit dude.
That makes you vomit?
Josh: I hate Neil Peart, I hate Geddy Lee. I fucking hate Rush [awkward moment]…I’m not gonna beat you up or anything.
Well, when I listen to your music, you have a lot of unison runs between instruments and well-crafted harmonies. There’s a lot more effort put into the music you’re playing than most typical pop…It feels like each piece feeds off of everything else intentionally, making a really intricate composition…kind of like Rush.
Josh: (Geddy Lee voice) “Living in the limelight, the universal dream…” [I laugh uncontrollably]. Well when you put it that way…
Andrew: We all do listen to a lot of different stuff. I think we all bring what we listen to to the music when we’re writing parts…There is kind of a hodge-podge feel to it.
You’re touring right now in support of the new record – do you have any idea of what you’re going to work on next?
Josh: To be honest, we don’t really know. When we put this record out, we threw a lot of cards on the table to do it. We did a Kickstarter project which raised like $17,000 and we put it all into the record. We’re still kind of, right now, in the middle of fulfilling all the Kickstarter prizes. Like, some people paid $500 to have us write a song for them…we’re in the middle of doing that. I’m always writing. Sometimes it’s for PM, sometimes it’s for a country artist…I don’t know, whatever’s happening at the moment. So one day, I’ll probably sit down and five songs will come out that are perfect PM songs. Then we’ll just have to decide what we want to do with them, you know? I think right now we just want to have fun. We don’t know what we’re gonna do, but whatever we end up wanting to do it has to revolve around having fun. We’re just too old to not have fun.
What would you say your second home has become when you’re out on the road?
Josh: D.C. Besides me, the other three guys are all from the D.C. area, so that’s definitely a second home. We have a lot of big shows there…Knoxville was great the other night, I don’t know what the deal was with that. We haven’t played there in a while. The Carolinas, we come here a lot because regional touring is kind of minimal for us. The East, we’ll hit New York and stuff…that’s become nice for us.
Is there anything that you can take away from the touring grind? Do you write better on the road or do you prefer to sit down and take time?
Andrew: You don’t get any personal time and you don’t really take out your instrument, it’s all packed up and shit. There’s not room to bring other instruments…I don’t know. For me, it’s hard to be creative.
Josh: I come up with little lyrics here and there, but nothing too…I try so hard and it’s always contrived.
Andrew: If we had a bus and we had our own rooms and things like that, with our own acoustic guitars, I’m sure we’d get a lot of writing done since there’s so much down time.
Anything else that you guys want to get across?
Josh: Ask us crazy stuff. Be the one interviewer to ask us really crazy, weird stuff and we’ll shake on it that we’ll answer completely honestly.
This is the point where drummer Ben and guitarist Tom joined us outside and Andrew stole the show. I can’t possibly do justice in print to the stories that he told , so I’ll provide you all with the original audio recording for each question.
Poop in a bag
The shoe licker
Parachute Musical just finished up the short tour they were on with Kyle Andrews, but be on the lookout for them to return to the road in the near future. If they come anywhere near you, it’s your duty as a lover of good music to go see and support them. Check out Kill It Cut It Down and the rest of their releases at parachutemusical.com.