AU ABROAD

the AU interview: Steve Sparrow of Morning Parade (UK)

Morning Parade is a five-piece alternative rock band hailing from Essex in the UK. The lineup includes Steve Sparrow (lead vocals and guitar), Phil Titus (bass), Chad Thomas (guitar), Ben Giddings (piano/synths) and Andrew Hayes (drums). Their debut, self titled album was released earlier this year. 2012 also saw the band tour the US including support slots for the Kooks and The Smashing Pumpkins. Miranda Holker of the AU review asked some questions of Steve Sparrow.

Your sound has been compared to bands like Elbow, The Stills and Coldplay - how would you describe your music, your influences and how you bring it all together?

Its really hard to give an adequate description of how we see ourselves. We finished the record nearly 18 months ago and we have grown and changed so much since its completion. Our influences range widely from britpop, to singer/songwriters, to dance, electro, rock and even pop.
I think the glue that holds it altogether is our focus upon melody, lyric and their relationship together. Everybody in this band has different ideas but we always work towards presenting a song and its emotional content in its truest or most interesting light. Our first record was about us harnessing the basics of songwriting, I think now our sights are set on expressing ourselves and bending the rules further.

Two of your members (lead vocalist and guitarist Steve Sparrow and bass player Phil Titus) are childhood friends. When did you start playing together and how did the rest of the band form?

Phil and I met when we were 11 on our first day at secondary school, we were in the same form group and met in Art class. He could already play guitar and drums and taught me both. We started jamming as soon as I was good enough and I started writing songs soon after. I left school and met Chad at our local college on a music course and we bonded over our love for a Danish band called Mew. He, Phil and I were in a band and Ben would come to the shows as a fan, and we'd often support the band Andy was in. Our music scene was very tight and I was involved in a side project with Andy through a mutual friend. He was and is now an even better drummer and tech head, I always wanted to work with him.

You have been touring the US with the likes of the Kooks, Anberlin and The Smashing Pumpkins, playing the arenas and appearing at SXSW in Texas…is breaking into the US market and headlining big shows an aim for the band and do you think you are getting there?

We've been around a lot of places and toured with a lot of bands, everyone dreams of touring in America and we still retain that wide eyed naïve nature that makes it so exciting and rewarding, no matter how hard it gets.
I think our goals are ever shifting and right now we're happy with where we are and everything that's on the horizon.

How was the CMJ experience?

Great. We played a late show at Santos Party house after very little sleep the previous night and the energy in the room was awesome. Those kinds of gigs are the ones you sometimes dread as a band but we'd been broken in by SXSW back in March.

Your debut album was released this year…tell us about that album.

It was released in the UK in March and the US in June.
Its self titled and its a tidy snapshot of where we were at the time. A collection of songs from a personal viewpoint about the things that were happening in and around our personal lives. Its a very honest, heart on your sleeve record built with a range of songs written from the start of the band, and some written right up until the eve of its completion. It's about observing situations and doing your best to understand them and yourself in relation to them.

There is a lot of talk about your live shows, and their energy and precision. What do you try and achieve in your live performances?

To have as much fun as possible.

With the US dates wrapping up, what is next for the band?

We're finishing this year with a bunch of US radio shows all over the country, we're looking forward to seeing a lot of the bands on the bills, silversun pickups, grouplove, passion pit, awolnation etc and also to hook back up with the smashing pumpkins for their arena dates. I think then we'll go homes and see if our friends and families remember us, and hope that they'll feed us for Xmas. Once that's all done I think we're all feeling ready to get started on another record. There are a lot of songs floating around so we want to get started on those, and then fit in some more US touring around the next single Under The Stars, and who knows? Maybe even some festivals.

And finally, any plans to tour Australia?

We'd love to get out to Australia. We've never been. Maybe next year, maybe on our next album. We're floating on a landscape which is ever changing so we never say never.