Indie-Pop Band THE NATIONAL PARKS Discuss Their Newest Album ‘Wildflower,’ Their Current Campire Tour and More!
The folk-influenced male/female indie pop band The National Parks recently released their fourth independent full-length studio album “Wildflower.”
This album is about struggles and growth, hard times and faith, and knowing that through trials and tribulations the best is yet to come. The 15 songs on the ‘Wildflower” hope to inspire and uplift listeners and remind everyone to be authentically themselves and feel encouraged that we can all get through anything and everything life throws at us. Coinciding with the album’s release, The National Parks have also dropped the official music video for their latest single “Waiting For Lightning,” which wraps the visual trilogy running throughout the videos for previous singles “Wildflower” and “Time.”
To celebrate the release of Wildflower, The National Parks have found a creative COVID-style way to tour and bring their new music to fans with their intimate “Campfire Tour.” The 19-date outing, kicking off tonight, will feature special acoustic, backyard shows set under the stars around a campfire at private residences in Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Idaho. All shows, most of which are already sold out, are open to 40 people and will follow proper social distancing regulations per state.
“It’s hard to believe that Wildflower is out now!,” exclaims lead vocalist/guitarist Brady Parks. “This album has been almost three years in the making. We wanted to be patient and intentional with every word, instrument and message and because of that, it’s an album that we hold near and dear to our hearts. Wildflower is an album about life and love, challenges and joy, and about staying true to who you are through all of it. We hope the songs on this album can be a reminder that we are all in this together. We are so excited to release it into the world and to start off the Wildflower era around a campfire, playing stripped down versions and telling the stories behind the songs on the Campfire Tour. We’re ready to make beautiful memories as this new chapter begins!”
The National Parks bloom like never before on the aptly titled “Wildflower,” the follow-up to their 2017 release “Places.” Produced and mixed by longtime collaborator Scott Wiley, the new collection features the band’s best songwriting to date and a variety of sounds and styles, as well as a lot of heart. Distorted electric guitar elevates the hypnotic hook on title track “Wildflower” as a steady arena-size beat reverberates underneath soaring vocals on the rock-influenced song. On “Time,” warm acoustic strumming wraps around a glitchy electronic beat before an emotional hook urges for patience and perseverance through struggle. The folk instrumentation of “Waiting For Lightning” gives way to a sunny chant about putting yourself out there and waiting for your chance. The expansive soundscape of “Painted Sky” evokes a Spaghetti Western-soundtrack and illuminates the sonic adventurism at the heart of the music. Wildflower also features the band’s 2019 pop-infused single “I Can Feel It,” currently featured in Netflix’s new hit movie The Wrong Missy.
To learn more about the songs on Wildflower, check out The Wildflower Podcast. Each episode, approximately 20 minutes long, highlights an album track via in-depth stories and sounds to showcase how it was written, created and produced. PRESS HERE to listen to the episodes about “Wildflower,” “Time” and “Waiting For Lightning” with more to come.
Since emerging in 2013 with their introductory album “Young“, The National Parks — Brady Parks [guitar, vocals], Sydney Macfarlane [keys, vocals], Cam Brannelly [drums] and Megan Parks [violin] — have quietly grown into an independent phenomenon with roots embedded in blissful pop, cinematic electronics, organic orchestration, and rock energy. The Provo, UT-based band has racked up over 90 million total streams, sold out headlining shows, toured with Andy Grammer, Peter Bjorn and John and WILD, and performed at KAABOO Del Mar, SXSW and CMJ, while garnering praise and support from the likes of NPR, Paste, PopMatters, Relix, Atwood Magazine, Glide Magazine and Substream Magazine and comparisons to The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, and The Head and The Heart.
Connect With The National Parks Here:
Learn more about The National Parks in the following All Access interview with their lead singer and guitarist, Brady Parks:
Thank you for your time. So, given these unusual Covid-19 times, what does a typical day look like for this band? How have you adjusted to these times?
Thanks for having me! The typical day for us has actually been pretty busy lately! Since Utah and some neighboring states have opened up to groups of 50 people, we have embarked on a backyard tour where we play stripped down versions of our songs around a campfire for a limited amount of people. We’ve booked 19 of these campfire shows all around Utah, Nevada, Idaho and Arizona. It has been super busy but a blast so far.
What has been the hardest/most challenging part about being quarantined? Were you able to be together much? Is your city starting to open up more now?
I think the most challenging aspect has been figuring out how to release an album and play music at a time when all of our festivals, tours and other plans have been postponed or canceled. These have been crazy times for us as we try to navigate through the pandemic while still releasing music and everything that comes with that. In a lot of ways, it has forced us to get creative and think outside the box on how we engage with our fans. Utah seems to be opening up more so it’s allowing us to get together and work on all of these things together.
What has it been like having to reschedule so many of your spring, summer and most likely fall shows? What shows in 2021 are you are already excited for?
It’s been really tough to see some of these plans that we were really excited about get cancelled and postponed. We were planning our very own music festival down in Southern Utah by Zion National Park and we were so excited to be with our fans under the red rock cliffs and starlit sky. Even though we had to cancel the inaugural Superbloom Fest for this year, we are currently looking at dates for 2021 and are so excited to make that dream a reality when it’s safe for everyone!
Since we are all desperately missing live music, can you recall a favorite show of yours from the past? What do you think ultimately makes for a great show for this band?
A show that immediately comes to mind was actually the last full band show we played on New Year’s Eve in Salt Lake City. We got to ring in the new year with 15,000+ people and the energy was off the charts. We played our song “Wildflower” for the first time ever on stage and went crazy with it. That show was so fun. I think a great show for us is when we get to feed off of the energy of the crowd as they feed off of ours. It’s this amazing feeling like we are all in it together and I think we all leave feeling elevated in some way. It’s the best.
Let’s talk about your new fourth studio album, “Wildflower” which was released on June 19th. What was it like recording this collection? Did you approach the making of it any differently than your past albums? Did it get finished before the quarantine began in March?
Creating Wildflower was such a refreshing and beautiful process. We definitely approached this album differently than others in the past. Usually, I’ll write about 10-12 songs for a record and those 10-12 will usually make the cut. This time, however, I wrote 40 songs and we took 18 of those to the studio. We were really patient with this album and took our time to get it right and we are so excited about the outcome. And yes! We actually finished this album up completely in late October so we’ve been sitting on it for a while now. Feels so good to finally have released it into the world.
I think it’s pretty genius that you developed a podcast recently to go along with this album entitled The Wildflower Podcast to really dissect each song on the collection. Where did the idea to launch this come from? Are you all interested in podcasts to begin with?
Thanks! We are all podcast fans over here. Whenever we are on tour, you can usually find us driving down the road with headphones in, listening to podcasts. The idea for this actually came after listening to the “Song Exploder” podcast. We thought it would be cool to do a podcast like that but dive into each one of our songs on the album. It’s been really fun for us to make.
How do you think your recent single “Waiting For Lightning” prepares listeners for the rest of your album? How did this song in particular come together? What was the inspiration for it?
I think “Waiting For Lightning” was a really fun last single before the album came out. It’s a song that starts off with stripped down acoustic guitars and soft vocals. We focused on the natural instruments and it feels like a throwback to our roots. After that, the drums and electric guitars come in and take the song to a new place. I think that’s a fun vibe and is a good representation of the dynamics of the album. This song came together in a unique way. Usually after writing a song, I’ll create a demo and we take that demo to the studio and rework it. With this one, we decided to let it come together on its own in the studio and it was fun to build it from scratch. It’s about following your heart and standing out in the storm of life waiting for that magical moment to happen.
How do you think this new collection shows how The National Parks have grown over the years? What has remained the same? Do you think that what motivates you all to make music has grown and developed?
I think we have all grown up a lot over the last several years and I think that shows in this new album. We feel like this album is the most authentic TNP album yet. We made the decision that we weren’t going to chase trends or worry about fitting any mold that we felt like the industry wanted us to fit. We wanted to be “us” and make the music that we wanted to create. I think we were able to pull from each album we’ve released and create a sound that takes natural instruments and combines that with modern sounds in a way that makes it feel fresh to us.
Is it hard to believe that you have been a band for 7 years? Is there anything that you wish you could go back and change or tell yourselves 7 years ago? Or do you feel like you are just getting started and have lot more music to share?
I can’t believe we are coming up on 7 years already! Time flies. I think I would tell myself to be patient and to surround myself and don’t let any negative voices get to me. We have a lot of music left to share! We feel like we’ve grown up a lot but also feel like we’re just getting started!