Gigwise has been behind Morning Parade since they first burst onto our radar in the middle of 2010.
Fresh from the release of new single 'A&E' and now well into the recording of their debut album, singer Steve Sparrow sat down to chat about what fans could expect over the coming year, including their Gigwise Presents gig at the Scala in London in June.
How have things been for you over the past year?
Pretty crazy really, we’ve gone from working our old day jobs to sitting on the phone to our manager saying ‘what’s happening, what’s happening’ to being given a calendar every Monday morning - being told this is what you have to do for the week and struggling to find time to finish stuff - but it’s a nice place to be for sure.
Have you enjoyed all the recent success and hype of the band?
It’s been brilliant. It’s obviously put a lot of pressure on us to do well but it’s still a lot of fun at the same time.
I think with all the recent hype and stuff, we’re quite careful that we don’t read too much into it or especially with all the polls that were around at the beginning of the year. It got to a point that when they all started to come in I decided that it was best not to look at them. They don’t really for me hold any kind of weight in what’s going to happen within the next year or so. We kind of try to hide away from it a little bit but it is definitely nice to be in them.
What have you made of all the other new bands around at the moment?
We’ve met a few of the other new bands around. We played with Brother but they didn’t really talk to us. I said hello to them quickly because we kind of know their manager. I think they’re a really good band with some solid songs, I think they’re very clever about what they’re doing at the moment, hats off to them.
How did Morning Parade come together?
Well we all met when we were pretty young. I met Phil when we were both around eleven at school and Chad at college, the other two were kicking around in other bands in our area. I can’t really remember how it happened, we just started jamming together. We’d all finished things in previous projects and none of us were in band so it was just for fun at first. We started getting together to play pointless fifteen minute sessions here and there which were quite rubbish to be honest.
A friend of ours said that we should start playing some gigs. We weren’t that great at first but we defiantly liked the idea of playing in front of an audience again.
Morning Parade - 'A&E'
You all came from different bands – so was it hard to decide on the sound for Morning Parade?
Yeah, me and Phil had been in bands together throughout school and when we were teenagers. I had also been in a few bands with Chad, so we kind of always had crossed over in some way or another. Where we're from it’s kind of a big network of musicians, we all jam together and all head the one venue to play in, so you kind of end up getting the feeling of being a bit of a band slag, you’re in five different bands at one point and none of them are going anywhere.
It was when we started pulling together some of the songs that are now going to be on the record, that’s when we started to realise that the reception was getting better and more people were coming to see us. Then we started to get labels interest and it all kicked off from there.
How did it feel being signed to such a big label?
There is an underlining amount of pressure with anything or any career you do especially when somebody makes such an investment in you. You’ve got to prove to yourself and them that you’re worth the risk. Parlophone Records is a wicked label, it’s got great heritage and history and an amazing roster. It was a bit daunting when we got signed last year and we had to go into the offices and they’re pictures on the wall of Radiohead, Colplay and The Beatles. You walk into EMI and it’s drenched in music history so it’s pretty overwhelming but it’s definitely the right label for us.
When did you start work on the album?
It was around July, over the festival summer months, we’d spend the weekend playing live and then head back to the studio to record in the week.
We had a fair few songs before we started recording the album but I don’t think we ended up keeping a great deal of them. A lot of them had gone out early on when we’d given away some songs but we’ve written most of the album since being signed. They were really laid back about it; they said ‘there’s no rush’. The main thing we said to them when we signed to them was that we don’t want to be in a rush to put a record out because we wanted a bit more time to develop.
They were good because they saw something in us but we knew we weren’t quite ready yet, we we’re always so cagey about signing so early and not being able to deliver. We had a couple of months just knocking about and then the MD said why don’t you go and do some demos of the new songs just to get us used to being in a studio.
We ended up going in to do two days with Jason Cox, who ended up producing the record, at Damon Albarn’s studio.
Morning Parade - 'Under The Stars'
How did you finding recording at Damon Albarn’s studio?
It was an amazing studio; it was just so strange being there. When you’re growing up and your in a band you go to these little s*it studios all over the place to record in some farm yard with a dodgy stoner. You pay £80 and you get these rubbish demos back then you send them out to all of the venues. Being in Damon’s studio was such a lovely environment and it had such a great vibe, everywhere you go there are discs from Gorillaz and Blur. We were saying before that you can turn on any instrument in there and hear something from an old Blur song.
We bumped into him a couple of times, Jamie Hewlett (Gorillaz) and his art team work on the second floor so Damon works on the first floor and the bottom studio. He’s always in his little room at his desk.
How did the recording and writing process for the album work?
We pretty much write everything before we go into the studio and we have an idea of how we want songs to sound. We have a clear vision of what we want so when we get to the studios it’s just a matter of laying down the tracks.
One of the things we were most sure about when we started recording the album was that we didn’t want to over produce it as it is kind of an epic sound anyway. So it would have been easy to over produce it, we wanted to make sure it sounded as live as possible. The good thing with Jason was that he said ‘Lets set out microphones in front of you and just record you from that’. We pretty much recorded everything as it is live.
Was it a pretty easy process recording the album?
It was such an easy and smooth process between us and the producer.
We never really had a fall out; they’re always discussions which can get a bit heated but not anything major. It’s always what’s best for the song rather than it being a clash of egos.
What are the plans for the rest of the year?
We’ve got our new single ‘A&E’ out at the moment and then we have our own headline tour which will be amazing. For us playing live is the best bit, I think if I could just play live then that would be fine for me.
We’ve got the Scala Gigwise gig with you guys coming up which should be fun, I think that will be our biggest London gig so far. Hopefully we can fill it out; it will be nice to go out and play live and bring a bit of production to the show. We’ve been playing kind of short support sets for ages so it will be nice to showcase some more material.
Any records you’re looking forward to hearing this year?
The new Glasvegas record for me will be worth the wait. We recorded the best part of the album over at thirteen but at the moment we’re finishing off at Battery studios. The producer who owns the studio has been working with White Lies and Glasvegas so we’ve heard a couple of Glasveags’ bits in the studio and they sound amazing. We’re big Glasveagas fans.
Morning Parade will play a Gigwise Presents gig at Scala in London on June 9. Check out morningparade.com for ticket details.