Myspace Gets Up-Close-And Personal With U.K. Sensations Morning Parade
Photos by Ben Lazar
Morning Parade are a legitimate rock n’ roll success story. Although the band has only been around for five years, they’ve already had a massive hit with their song “Headlights,” and their self-titled debut disc will finally be released in the States on Tuesday. Not bad for a group of guys who were paying the bills by doing manual labor in the not-so-distant past. We caught up with the band to chat about how they made the transition from blue-collar workers to rock royalty, and to find out more about the inspiration behind this incredible album. Oh and afterward they even treated us to a intimate performance and we’ve got photos to prove it!
Morning Parade – “Headlights”
How did Morning Parade come together?
Steve Sparrow: I met Phil when i was 11 and Chad when I was in college and we were in a band before this that stopped, and we knew the other two guys from the local music scene. I went to University and when I got back, we all got together. Phil was working in construction doing plastering at the time, so I would clean his buckets for beer tokens.
What was the songwriting process like for this album?
Phil Titus: It constantly changes. For example, Steve wrote “Headlights” in 15 minutes while he was in college, where the other songs are put together by a piano riff or something else someone comes up with and then we just come together in the studio.
Sparrow: We tend to work on five or six songs at a time instead of one, so there’s always something to move onto if you get stuck. There’s arguing sometimes, which is good, because if someone is passionate about one song and everyone else isn’t so sure about it, then that one person cam make it happen and it’s good for everybody.
How did you get hooked up with Parlophone?
Titus: Most people get to London and start a band and play to no one and the crowds are bad, so we instantly decided we weren’t going to play in London, we were going to travel for four hours and play Manchester or Liverpool. Then promoters started saying to people that Morning Parade were good and we started realizing labels were coming five hours to come see us. Actually we owe Myspace, because a year before we really started we had three songs on our Myspace page and EMI contacted us about the band based on that.
What was recording this album like?
Sparrow: It was really sporadic. We had been playing a lot of the songs live, so we went in the studio and recorded them straight away and then we were touring and writing songs on the road. We had 20 songs done at Damon Albarn’s studio and then we took three months of to tour and wrote a new bunch of songs and they felt different so we teamed up with David Kosten. We worked on “Headlights” with him, because it felt like an old song to us and then we did two more with him, too.
Do you think the fact that you were still touring when you made this record helped improve the final product?
Sparrow: Definitely. So many bands try to run before they can walk; they have one hit single so they’ll put it out, blow up, chase it, put out an album really fast and then they’ll disappear because they have no fans. All of our favorite bands like Muse, Radiohead and Biffy Clyro have been around for like 20 years touring their asses off properly and building it organically.
I remember seeing Biffy Clyro with 20 kids, and I wanted to be one of those bands where it was a rite of passage, and we did it properly. The music industry is really hard to survive in right now, so you’ve got to be real, you’ve got to be authentic and you’ve got to be good live to survive — and we wanted to make sure that came across in these songs.
Are there any tracks on the album that stand out to you?
Titus: My favorite song is “Under The Stars,” because I like the heavier stuff we do and I think it sums up everything we’re about in four minutes and ten seconds. It’s an exciting song because it keeps building and building, that’s something I’m really proud of. Plus it doesn’t really have a chorus, which is quite different.
Morning Parade – “Under The Stars”
Sparrow: That song was written on New Year’s Eve in 2009 and we finished the it in May of 2010 just as we got a record deal and that was what we started opening our shows with and it gave us notoriety, so it always reminds us of that time and it’s kind of been our calling card in Europe.
What inspires your lyrics?
Sparrow: I’ve never really thought about it. I try not to analyze it too much because I don’t want to overthink my own lyrics. Once they’re written and I’m happy with them, that’s it. I write about whatever’s on my brain and what I can’t deal with at the time; the stuff that won’t go away and keeps ticking. If I can’t put it away, then I’ll put it out there in my lyrics.
You tour constantly. What type of acts informed your tireless work ethic?
Sparrow: I love Muse, because there was a time that they couldn’t get a show booked in England but they could sell out huge clubs in France. The thing in the U.K. is that the press always want you to prove them wrong and that’s what Muse and Radiohead did. On their first album everyone hated Radiohead, and thanks to Americans, “Creep” became a hit and saved them, so I respect those kinds of bands that have never comprised in order to be big.
So what does Morning Parade planned for the rest of the year?
Titus: I think we’ll be here quite a lot, the reaction has been amazing. We love a challenge and we love touring.
Sparrow: There’s not really a destination is there? you don’t get somewhere and you’re like, “we did it.” You just keep doing it and enjoy yourself along the way. This is much better than my old job, that’s for sure. [Laughs.]
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