“It’s been two years… we want to bring fucking bangers and that’s it”: Parkway Drive are ready to erupt at Ballarat’s newest festival
30.09.2021

“It’s been two years… we want to bring fucking bangers and that’s it”: Parkway Drive are ready to erupt at Ballarat’s newest festival

Words by Alex Callan

The Byron-native metal titans are leading the slate at this year’s Knight & Day festival held in Ballarat’s Kyral Castle.

In 2007 when Parkway Drive’s sophomore effort Horizons made it into the ARIA charts, people claimed the group were ‘taking over the metal scene.’ By the release of 2018’s Reverence, people had begun claiming that they were ‘taking over the world’. By the time that the group’s forthcoming (currently untitled) seventh full-length release drops, it seems people will be claiming that they are ‘taking over the solar system’.

But just because something is claimed by the masses doesn’t make it unfactual, as in reality Parkway Drive are one of the only bands that have managed to not only maintain their fanbase, but grow it upon each album release. At this point, it’s quite evident that each record cycle has seen them not only infiltrate new markets but completely commandeer them. 

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“The jump between who we were as a live band before the start of the Reverence cycle and at the end of the Reverence cycle was literally like going from struggling to sell out rooms with a capacity of 5,000 to headlining festivals in ridiculously large settings” reflects Winston McCall, the groups revered frontman. 

Speaking on how the group’s large-scale European headliner slots have altered how they approach writing, he expanded “feeling that process grow was a learning curve in itself and now we are processing that and trying to make new music and trying to incorporate everything that we learnt.

“It’s not like we are writing a bunch of festival songs. It’s more so that the actual artistic expression behind it is more solidified now because we know we can get away with a lot more, without having that question mark of if it’ll be accepted.”

An acceptance that took quite a few years, with many loyalists taking their time to come around to the European/stadium trajectory that the groups last two albums have taken. But for the group, it’s ushered in a new and exciting era of writing. 

“I think we are more confident in our ability and our knowledge of ourselves and how we want to express ourselves,” says Winston. 

“We know who we are, where the boundaries exist, how far we want to push them and what works.

“What we have been able to craft this time is a lot more expansive but at the same time a lot sharper… I’m not going to say more cohesive, but more refined and more certain.”

“But the whole album is really dark. The sounds and lyrics are really dark, but it’s all married with areas that we haven’t used before, a pace we haven’t used before, textures, song lengths and concepts that we hadn’t used previously because we didn’t know how to use those sounds.

“Now it feels like we are operating on a much larger canvas but you can see the entire picture much more clearly.”

When asked how he feels the fans might respond to such a diverse output so late into the group’s catalog, he simply laughs and said, “It’s not like you’re going to go ‘shit, this doesn’t sound like Parkway’… but then there are a lot of moments that’ll make you think ‘shit, I never thought they’d sound like that’.”

Having had to cancel the highly-anticipated Viva The Underdogs’ Australian tour, which saw the group headlining with Everytime I Die and Hatebreed supporting, Ballarat’s inaugural Knight and Day Festival will be the Byron outfit’s first time on stage in two years… An almost unheard of feat considering the band initially made a name for themselves by performing some of the most comprehensive regional tours Australia has ever seen. Speaking on how he’s feeling to get back on stage, Winston was buzzing with excitement.

“It’s been so long that I personally cannot remember the feeling and reactions and experience that I get standing on stage” he laughs. “That familiar feeling that has been part of me for over half my life is gone from my body. I know that I love it. I have visual memories to a degree of what it’s like but that actual primal connection that I have with it has left and that is only because of time. I mean, two years not doing something is fucking huge.”

When asked if their triumphant return would feature a showcase of any of the groups new material he immediately smiled and said, “There won’t be any new material premiered.”

“There’s a couple of reasons for it.” 

“As soon as Youtube came around I found myself not wanting to premiere songs live. I love the impact of getting music shown as the complete concept, not someone’s shitty home recording of the ‘new unreleased Parkway song’ where you can hear me giggling halfway through it. That doesn’t just go for us, it goes for any band.” 

“As soon as I see a headline that someone premiered a song at a festival I think, I’m not fucking watching that because it wasn’t made it be experienced through iPhone speakers.”

“Besides that, it’s been two years so we want to basically bring fucking bangers and that’s it.”

“It could literally be the first and only show that someone ever goes to, because that is now a fucked up possibility in this day and age, so it’ll be a set of fucking Parkway Drive bangers.”

“We just basically want to level the entire joint and make everyone have a fucking blast.” 

Knight and Day festival takes to Kryal Castle in Ballarat on December 30 & 31. Tickets are on sale now here