Breakout folk-pop trio The National Parks are breaking barriers and making a name for themselves. The Utah-based band’s debut album, Young, peaked at lucky number 13 on the iTunes singer/songwriter charts, already solidifying what we knew about this interesting group: They’re ridiculously talented. With stunning music videos on Youtube and a unique sound, The National Parks are poised for stardom. Check out Planet Stereo’s interview with Brady Parks:
Planet Stereo: Thanks so much for doing the interview. How are you?
Brady Parks: Fantastic!
PS: Your new video for “Helsinki,” has recently been released and it is beautiful. How involved in the process of creating the video were you?
BP: Normally, we’re extremely involved in every step of the process, but this one was a little different. Jonathan Turner (director) contacted us and told us he was a huge fan and wanted to make a video. We hadn’t met him but we know his filmmaking resume, so we were definitely interested. He had ideas for a few songs, but when he pitched the idea for “Helsinki” and told us he wanted to take a crew to Finland to shoot on location, we were sold. Jonathan kept us in the loop as they fleshed out the concept, made casting decisions, etc., and then during the post-production process too, so we were involved but primarily just in terms of giving approval throughout the different steps.
PS: Young was such an incredible album. Do you have a favorite track?
BP: Thank you. It’s hard to pick a favorite because each one has a unique memory, situation, or experience attached to it that makes it special in some way. I think I feel most attached to the song “Bird’s Eye” on the album. It’s one that means a lot to me and has taken on several different meanings to me as time has gone on.
PS: What is your favorite part about going into the studio?
BP: I love everything about the studio. My favorite part is watching a song come to life as different ideas are poured into it. It’s amazing to bring in a core idea and then watch it explode into something new.
PS: Would you mind walking me through the creative process?
BP: For me, the creative process starts with an emotion that sparks a general idea for a song. When this happens, I grab my guitar and start finding chords and melodies that fit that emotion. The lyrics then seem to fall into place like a puzzle. After the song is written, I bring it to the band and we all play it and polish it. I then like to create a demo of it where I can experiment with new sounds and ideas before taking it to the studio where the magic happens.
PS: Can I ask, why the name The National Parks (other than your surname)?
BP: Well, my last name is definitely a factor. [However,] we also feel that a lot of our music has been inspired by nature and the parallels that can be found between nature and life, love, religion, etc. So overall it just seems to fit us.
PS: Your songs seem to have a lot of soul and emotion packed into them. Do you ever find it difficult to bare your soul to such a vulnerable extent?
BP: I actually really enjoy that part. There is something cathartic about being able to express something out loud that you would have trouble just saying in a normal way.
PS: What would you like people to come away with when they hear your album?
BP: We want people to enjoy it, of course, but also we hope that it can be inspiring to some degree too. We want it to be more than just entertainment so hopefully the music can help them in someway. We are very excited for our new album and we hope that people will be able to relate to it and be able to take something away from it that will benefit them in their lives.
The National Parks – “Meridians (Acoustic)”
PS: Do you have a favorite song to perform live?
BP: Right now I would say that our single, “As We Ran,” is my favorite to play live. It has been the song we open our shows with for a while now and it never gets old to play. There is a lot of energy from the beginning of the song that the crowd really reacts to. It seems to break down the invisible barrier between us and the crowd which sets the tone for the rest of the show.
PS: How did you get involved in music?
BP: I’ve always loved music. I took piano lessons when I was a kid and then picked up guitar in high school. Since then I’ve been writing songs and really got serious about it in college. The music scene in Provo is amazing and has really helped us grow as a band.
PS: If you could work with any artist, past or present,who would it be and why?
BP: I would pick Justin Vernon. I would love to sit down with him and just pick his brain. Collaborating with him would be amazing.
PS: As artists who really seem to utilize YouTube, what advice would you offer other artists in regards to promotion?
BP: We find it helpful to remember that we were fans way before we were artists. Quite often, we’ll ask ourselves, “What kind of things would I want my own favorite bands to be doing?” and then we just do those things. That sounds pretty obvious [laughs], but it really has helped. And that definitely applies to YouTube – we love watching good music videos and we personally use YouTube to discover new music all the time so we wanted to allow fans to enjoy and discover our music that way too.
For more on The National Parks, please click HERE.
You can purchase tickets and buy CDs HERE.