One-on-one with Parachute Singer and Guitarist Will Anderson and Nate McFarland
If that doesn't sound like big time visibility in terms of getting their music out to the masses, Parachute fans will also hear the band's song “She Is Love” on the May 4 episode of One Tree Hill before the Parachute track “Back Again” will be featured in the May 19 season finale of 90210. And to round out the recent and near future success of Parachute, the riding high Virginians will hear their song “Under Control” run in a new Nivea commercial kicking off May 4.
Currently out on tour with O.A.R. in advance of their May 19 "Losing Sleep,", with a single upcoming show with James Morrison, the guys of Parachute are getting a taste of how fast the music business works. While in New York City for a brief press day, Parachute lead singer/guitarist Will Anderson and lead guitarist/vocalist Nate MacFarland took some time out during their media blitz to call into TheDeadbolt HQ to talk about their upcoming "Losing Sleep" release, life on the road, their gig at this year's SXSW, donating album money to charity, what it's like to be a Mercury signed artist, and what's in store for the rest of 2009.
THE DEADBOLT: So how is the concert tour going?
WILL ANDERSON: The tour with O.A.R. is great. We’ve been on tour with them for a couple of weeks and they’re just great guys. You know, we’ve been touring all spring and it’s really fun to set up this record, "Losing Sleep," on May 19. It’s been a culmination of a lot of work. So to get to put the songs in front of fans has been nothing short of incredible to us.
THE DEADBOLT: What’s been the biggest challenge for you guys on the road?
ANDERSON: You know, it’s a lot of time away from friends and family at home. It’s always kind of weird to be going in this little world of five or six of us in a van, playing these shows, and it’s a weird schedule every night. So it’s tough. But again, this is such a great opportunity. I couldn’t ask to do anything more fun and anything better.
THE DEADBOLT: Have you guys done the CBS Early Show yet?
ANDERSON: No, that’s on May 30, 2009. It’s our first national live TV appearance and we’re really excited, and I think it’ll be a fun eye-opening experience.
THE DEADBOLT: Didn’t you already do the Nivea performance at Times Square on New Years Eve?
ANDERSON: We did. We played at Times Square. It wasn’t televised but we got to play in front of a million people there. It was probably the most surreal moment of my life. Being at Times Square is just amazing. But getting to play there onstage is just incredible.
THE DEADBOLT: So what’s the music scene like in Virginia?
ANDERSON: The music scene is great. I think, at least where I’m from, Charlottesville and where Nate and I went to school. You know, The Dave Matthews Band came out of there. Everything in Virginia is great. Charlottesville has got a terrific kind of organic scene. Richmond has a great rock scene. Virginia Beach has a great hip-hop scene. So you can find everything for everybody. We learned a lot from a lot of the bands that are Virginia based, and it was a great place to cut our teeth and really figure out what we were doing as a band. The fans are great, too. There are a lot of music lovers.
THE DEADBOLT: And a lot of F.B.I. and C.I.A. at Quantico?
NATE MCFARLAND: [laughs] Yeah, a lot of F.B.I.. That’s where I’m from, Northern Virginia, outside of D.C.
THE DEADBOLT: Your acoustic SXSW gig was great. Was that the first time you guys were there?
ANDERSON: No. We actually got together last year and stayed for a couple of days and played the showcase there. But this past March we got to go for the whole week and we were there just doing a number of interviews and showcases. So we got to feel what it’s like to be rockin’ around 6th street for the whole week and it was fabulous - good food, good weather, and a lot of music. And it was fun playing on Saturday with Stubbs and we got to sing with Third Eye Blind and P.J. Harvey and some great bands. So it was definitely a great experience.
THE DEADBOLT: Since SXSW is so big, is it still helpful or do you find that you just get lost in a sea of bands?
ANDERSON: No. I think if you’re a music fan you shouldn’t go to it. It’s so hard, even for people who pass as industry folk, to get into places. It’s ridiculous.
MCFARLAND: As a fan, there was one band I wanted to see and that was Greg Laswell. As a fan, I thought it was overwhelming.
ANDERSON: Yeah. But even as a band, though, we’re lucky enough to be signed to a major label and have all of this backing. And in the middle of our press junket, still, it felt like we were getting lost in the sea of all of these hype bands. So it depends. If it’s the right thing for the right band, I think it works. But for some bands I definitely think it’s possible to get lost in it all.
THE DEADBOLT: Since this is still fairly new to you guys, how do you handle the hectic schedule and obligations?
MCFARLAND: It’s funny compared to the past couple of years. When we were in college, doing the band stuff was even more hectic because that was doing classes, writing papers, and then on the weekend we were recording the CD. We started this album/CD about a year and a half ago. So we have one mission now rather than two double lives. We have one life. In a sense it’s a little more relaxed.
ANDERSON: It’s a little more refreshing to be able to concentrate on one thing. I mean this is fun for us, too.
MCFARLAND: And we’re still driving our ass off and waking up really early, going to bed really late to get to places and stuff.
THE DEADBOLT: So I guess that’s where the title of the album comes in?
ANDERSON: "Losing Sleep," yeah. I guess it’s an indication of what’s to come, whether good or bad. It’s an old song of ours that we all actually play, but the title resonated with a lot of the scenes throughout the album.
MCFARLAND: Also, Will writes a lot of songs really late at night. So when inspiration strikes - It’s definitely one of the meanings.
THE DEADBOLT: Since you're donating a portion of the album's proceeds to charity, is that something you had in mind from the very beginning?
ANDERSON: Yeah. You know, there are six of them on there and I think that each one of us has some type of special connection to it. So for us taking a chance to give back like that, in the end it’s just a small part of our bigger picture in terms of our work with these charities. I think that this is a first step in a long and healthy relationship with them, and it’s just something that we all really liked the idea once we thought of it. We really wanted to implement, and luckily have implemented, and we’re very thankful that we had a chance to.
MCFARLAND: And musicians seem to have a special place for social justice. We’re very inspired by Bono and U2 and they’re a huge role model for me and Will and the rest of the guys. And Dave Matthews Band does a lot of great stuff with the environment and stuff like that. It’s a unique opportunity, a unique pedestal. We’re not on a big pedestal right now [laughs], but we want to be involved in that stuff.
THE DEADBOLT: When writing songs and you're in the studio recording, how do you come together as a collective to decide what stays and what goes?
ANDERSON: You know, what’s great about this album is that these are songs that we all really, really like. I think the ones that even one or two of us were kind of sketchy on we got rid of off of the album. So we wanted only solid songs we were all happy with. We all just sat down and certain people voiced their concerns with some of the songs.
MCFARLAND: You know, some people may have liked them, but in the end we just wanted an album everyone was happy with. I think it came out great and it had to be something we were all really excited about. Literally, I don’t think there’s a song on there any of us don’t like. So it works out well.
THE DEADBOLT: "Under Control," that’s a great track.
ANDERSON: Thank you very much. Lately we’ve been ending every set with that song. It’s a favorite.
THE DEADBOLT: Since you've already made the viral video for "She is Love," how much different will the official video be? When will we see it?
ANDERSON: The official one we’re going to shoot at the end of this month, so we’re not that sure. We’re still in the early stages of doing it. But the viral video was something we threw together. It happened very quickly and very casually. I’m glad it turned out as well as it did, we were all really happy with it. Right now we’re going with that one and taking our time with the real videos, so no rush. Hopefully we’ll have something cool that does the song justice.
THE DEADBOLT: With "She is Love" and "She," it seems like you recognize a certain strength within women. Where does that come from in the songwriting?
ANDERSON: I just think it happened to be that those two songs in particular were just very clear. You know, they’re a large influence in our lives as heterosexual men [laughs]. I think that just as a songwriter I was inspired by that idea and love in the maternal sense, and love from the female perspective. Well, not perspective, but just from a female in general. I think a woman’s love is a very different thing from the love a man can give. So it’s a little more metaphysically and a little more literally as well. It goes both ways.
THE DEADBOLT: Have you guys been approached about contributing to a movie soundtrack at all?
ANDERSON: Not right yet. But hopefully, we will. I mean, I think we’ll field offers. But really, in the end we want the right movie and we want the right project. Either somebody will want our songs or to write a song for it. So for us it’s very important it reflects our music well and it’s not just something hokey.
THE DEADBOLT: Do you think a film like Twilight would help you guys? Would you even be interested in something like that?
ANDERSON: Yeah. You know, I think the Twilight series is cool. It obviously reaches a lot of the same fans that we’re going for. But it just depends on what they’d want to use it for and it would really depend on the situation.
-- Troy Rogers