Interview: Chatting Reverence and more with Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall

After fifteen years and (soon-to-be) six albums, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone disagreeing that Parkway Drive are Australia’s metal kings. In the lead up to the group’s sixth album Reverence, frontman Winston McCall is excitable. Partly due to the vegan sandwiches we are eating, but also due to the discussion about the variance between the singles released so far.

Jeff’s favourite band is Metallica,” notes McCall when I raise the 80’s metal vibe of the second single, “The Void”. “On those two songs you’ve heard the tip of the iceberg, no two songs on the album sound the same.”

For many, this is probably a refreshing sentiment considering the lack of variance in the metal genre at times. For Parkway Drive, Reverence is about ignoring expectation and playing it where it lays, creating by interest.

“One of the things with putting out a single, there is nothing that sums up this album. The goal was to keep attention and interest rather than fading into the background.”

“Feeling confined is a very real thing, and that is something that we have had in the past, feeling confined by the things we have already done.” McCall continues to discuss how easy it would be for the band to stick with safe concepts that they know their audience will like, and how that can have damaging effects in the long run.

“You are walking along this path and looking at the direction your footprints have taken to dictate where you need to go, which is dumb because you could be walking around in circles.”

It took six albums for the band to write with confidence in themselves and what they create. This confidence was created by their legacy. Some may say they should have found that sooner as they were consistently leading the metal pack, but things are always different from the inside looking out.

“When we finally found ourselves in places that were new it was like, yeah this is fucking new, just do it! Tradition for the sake of tradition is stagnation, Darwinism exists beyond beings growing, and there is a reason why things survive and evolve, and it’s because environments change.”

It’s also a numbers game. McCall notes that the bigger you get, the more people there are to be receptive to the things you do, outweighing the power of niche crowds and allowing more creative freedom.

“When we were younger the goal was to write music for your mates and mosh, very simple. As you grow you tune out of the joy and interest, you got from adrenaline. Our music becomes very personal and the concept shifts for us.”

From a lyrical perspective, this may well be the most personal Parkway Drive album yet. The past three years have seen the band members battle with the loss of family and friends to cancer, and the music became the funnel for this grief. “”Wishing Wells” changes when you know that stuff is the context behind the song.”

Our chat ends back on the delicious vegan sandwiches, supplied by Melbourne’s Smith & Daughters. McCall, a vegetarian, used to cop crap from his bandmates about his meat-free diet only to have them follow suit in the present day.

“We were never straight-edge, people just liked to champion that idea because we never acted like drunk dickheads.”

Reverence by Parkway Drive is released May 4th via Resist Records/Cooking Vinyl Australia.