Interview: Brady Parks of The National Parks

Utah-based folk-influenced band The National Parks are whisking listeners away with their scenic new album Wildflower. To celebrate the release, the band bring intimate “Campfire Tour” to fans. The 19-date outing will feature acoustic, backyard shows at private residences in Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Idaho. The tour kicked off on June 19 in Utah and wraps up on July 25 in Arizona.

The Travel Addict had the chance to catch up with lead vocalist and guitarist Brady Parks. He talked about the new album and being inspired by nature musically along with quarantining during the pandemic and hidden gems in their home base in Utah. Check out the Travel Addict’s interview with Brady Parks below:

How are you staying busy at home and where are you quarantining?

We are in Utah and luckily things aren’t too crazy here. It feels like things are getting more and more back to normal. We have been trying to keep busy by practicing together and working on our music. We are releasing songs now. We have a lot of exciting things in the works. That is keeping our minds off how hard this time can be right now.

Can you tell us a little about how you came up with The National Parks name for the band?

I feel like nature has always been a big part of our songs. As a songwriter, I am drawn to it. I find a lot of parallels between nature and symbolism and our life and everything we go through. When we thought of National Parks it does play off my last name but it also fits so well because of the themes consistent in our music, nature and those metaphors. It is a perfect fit. We feel like our music talks a lot about getting outside and exploring the world and cherishing the world around you. It seemed to work well.

You guys have recorded videos in some of the most picturesque locations in the country or the world really. How did you choose the locations to film?

We are super lucky to be a band from Utah and surrounded by so much natural beauty. There are so many national parks close by. One place we have always been drawn to as a band is Zion National Park, which is in Southern Utah about four hours from where we live. When we were thinking of doing these music videos with a western theme on one of them we knew we had to go to Southern Utah where there are these amazing red rock cliffs and picturesque scenery. It was the perfect fit for how beautiful it is and also because we are from Utah and we take a lot of pride in that. It was a cool way to incorporate all of that.

I think a lot of people are planning road trips this summer. If people wanted to visit Utah this summer, are there any hidden gems of destinations you would tell them to visit?

For sure. I would say hit up the national parks. There are Zion and Bryce and they are amazing. Salt Lake City is super cool. Another gem would be Park City. In the summer, it has amazing Main Street with really great restaurants and a lot of fun things to do in the mountains while you are there too. Come to Utah, it is awesome.

My favorite songs were between the “Wildflower” song or “Horizons.” Is there a story behind “Waiting for Lightning” song?

Thank you so much. It means so much for you to say that since we are so close to these songs.

“Waiting for Lightning,” I remember I was sitting in my room one night and this thought of lightning kept coming to my mind. I was thinking about where we are as a band and the overall emotion of the song is when you do everything you can do and you are just waiting for this amazing thing to happen. I just pictured standing out in this rainstorm and throwing your arms up in the air praying for this lightning strike. I think that is where the song came from. At its core, it is a song about hope and determination for getting to the places you want to get to in life and see those miraculous amazing things happen and knowing they are out there.

What is the difference between playing festivals in front of a new audience instead of people who know you at a normal show?

There is a difference for sure. I love both of them. Getting to play in a venue in front of our fans, the energy is crazy because they know every word and it is really exciting. They know what is going to happen in a song and know when to start jumping up and down.

Playing at a festival, the energy is crazy because people are so excited to be surrounded by music and that is what they are there for. Getting to play a festival for new fans is really exciting for us because that is where we want to be. We want to grow. We want to reach new people. We want new people to hear our music everywhere. Playing festivals in front of new fans is a really cool opportunity to showcase what we are about and play our best show. It is motivation to prove ourselves and people can walk away and remember who we were.

The band was going to host The Super Bloom Music Festival, which I thought was a great idea in a beautiful location for August. Is it still happening or on hold?

Unfortunately, we had to put it on hold. It is very sad. It was our very own festival to put on to celebrate this new album and some of our favorite bands from around here. We were super excited for it. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we had to postpone. We are looking for new dates in 2021.

You guys have also done projects to support the National Parks Conservation Fund. Why is this organization important to you and are there other organizations you are currently supporting?

We did team up with them and it was a great experience because like we kind of said, I feel like nature and experiencing the natural world is an important part of existing and being human and being able to connect with your surroundings. We are so lucky to have these places, these national parks and if there is anything we can do to preserve them it goes right along with what we believe in for sure.

What are your favorite songs to perform live?

I think off the new album we have only had the chance to play “Wildflower” one time before everything got postponed. That was such a great experience. It became a favorite to play live. Besides that, I like to play our song “As We Ran.” The recorded version is big still but a little more folky. When we play it live we have a remixed version that is super energetic and super fun to play. Another older one would be “Monsters of the North”. We love playing that one too. I would pick those three.

Do you have any destination you are looking forward to going to once this is all over?

Definitely. Looking forward to getting back on tour. We had a big tour planned to support the album. We were pretty much going to go from coast to coast. I am so excited to get back on the road and play shows in all the states and hopefully out of the country too.

Do you have any messages to your fans, how are you staying connected to them?

We have been trying to engage with our fans during this time. We are all in this together. During the quarantine, there were not a lot of people could go do. We tried doing a lot of live streams and contests to bring joy to people’s lives during this hard time. My message is thanks for supporting us. Thanks for listening to our music. We hope everyone is staying safe and we are really excited for you to listen to our new album. We hope that it brings joy to their lives during this time.

The National Parks photo provided by McKenna Chatterley.

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