Morning Parade, a five-piece band from Harlow, Essex, released their debut album back in spring of 2012. The alternative rock quintet recently spent some time in Atlanta recording their second record and of course, we had to get all the details!
We were lucky enough to catch up with Steve Sparrow (vocals/guitar) while the band was spending time in our beautiful city. Check out our conversation to learn about their experience in Atlanta, working with Ben Allen, and more!
As an English band, what made you choose Atlanta to record your album?
The reason we chose Atlanta is actually because of the producer. We’ve never been to Atlanta before. I think we drove through it once, but we never actually got to play a show here. There’s a producer called Ben Allen, who we talked to while we were looking at who we wanted to make our second record. And he sold it to us. He wanted to work out of his studio, The Maze, which is on Wiley. It seemed to make sense. We really liked the vibe, we liked Ben, so we came here to record it.
How did you get connected with Ben Allen?
It was actually through his manager. His manager was a fan of our first record and saw us a bunch of times at SXSW, CMJ, always kind of followed our career and what we were up to. And he said, “Ben should make your next record.” Our actual first reaction was “No he’s not the right guy, we don’t want to work with him.” He kept saying look, just have one Skype conversation with him. So we did and it was a little like flirting at first. We both sort of kept our hearts close to our chests about what we thought about working with each other. He kind of gave us some tough love at the start about some of our songs, but eventually we kind of mutually agreed that this was the best idea for us both. It’s kind of a departure of what he’s done before and for us to step into his world was kind of a departure for us as well. So we both felt that we were kind of in the right emotional place to make a record. I’m glad we did because we just heard the mixes and we’re over the moon about how it sounds.
How long have you been in Atlanta recording?
I think we’ve been here for six weeks now. We did five weeks of recording, actually maybe seven weeks total. We have seen a fair bit of Atlanta. Well we’ve frequented many of the bars. We’ve been to The Pink Pony and we’ve been to all the kind of “band” spots, we’ve seen a few gigs, it’s been really exciting.
What have been your favorite things about Atlanta?
I think that it’s just so different from England, to really anywhere else we’ve been in America. The food here is amazing. It just seems like everywhere you go, although it’s such a big city, it’s kind of localized. Everybody kind of knows each other in the areas, you know East Atlanta, Edgewood, the Highlands. There seems to be a really good vibe here. Everyone just seems really chilled out. There’s definitely a slower pace of life here. It suits us very well.
What are the main differences (if any) between recording in England and recording in Atlanta?
I think the only difference is, obviously, that we’re working with American people. Our last record was made in England by English people. I think that it really doesn’t matter what nationality you are or where you’re from, but I think it’s the influences you have and the career you’ve had. Which will shape the artist or producer you’re going to be. It’s definitely been fun learning a bit about each other’s cultures and working through language barriers. The funniest thing is that we’re both from nations divided by the same language. Phrases and things often get lost in translation. Sometimes the guys take things literally and sometimes we don’t know what they’re talking about.
What’s the direction of this new record? Is it a departure from your debut or is it fairly similar?
The debut was written and recorded much earlier than it was released. So the songs on that record were written when I was 22 and now I’m 27. It’s a long time. We’ve done a lot of touring in that time, we’ve played with a lot of bands for instance Smashing Pumpkins, the Wombats, Walk the Moon. You learn stuff, you pick a lot of things up. It’s definitely a departure, it’s a different direction. The first album was written in a lot of minor keys and this one seems to be mainly in major keys. So that’s kind of a first time we’ve got a lot happier sounding record, a lot more upbeat. It’s got a lot of determination about it. There’s a lot more energy in this one than the first.
Do you have any plans to play a show in Atlanta?
Nothing yet for Atlanta. We’ve just booked our first tour with Biffy Clyro, who are really huge at home. They play like arenas and such back there. So we’re going on tour with them in September and October up in the North East. Sadly nothing down here yet. But obviously we have to come here now, now that we’ve spent so much time here. We’ve been to a lot of music venues and we’re like, “Ah! We have to play here.” Whether it’s this year or next year I don’t know, but we’re definitely going to come and play in Atlanta for sure.