With plaudits ranging from Zane Lowe through to Vogue, a clutch of high profile support slots already under their belt and both Under The Stars and A&E getting loads of airplay, 2011 looks set to be an exciting year for Morning Parade. Before they head out on their own UK headlining tour LeftLion had a chat with lead singer, Steve Sparrow...
Hello Steve, how are you?
I’m good thanks. I’ve been in a meeting about something I didn’t understand, so this interview has got me out of it. I’m now trying to walk to the studio as quickly as possible as it’s too noisy on the street to be talking on the phone.
There is a buzz around Morning Parade at the moment, it must be pretty exciting?
It’s really exciting to be honest, but also a bit daunting. We had no real perception of what it would be like to get signed. I find it pretty surreal.
How would you describe your sound?
The sound is a mix of dance and rock. We go for a euphoric and real sound.
The singles have been getting a lot of airplay, do you feel a lot of pressure for the album to do well?
There is always pressure when you get signed to any type of record label. Most of the pressure comes from ourselves within the band. As a new band, it is hard to tell what people think of us, we just want to connect with as many people as possible. I’m sure the record label will think differently, but we don’t feel any pressure to sell records, but we want to be successful. It depends how you measure success too, I guess. I just want us to do a strong record.
How is the album coming along?
When we started recording the album in November, we had 15 songs. Then we played some shows and the label was pleased with what we had, so we started to plan out 2011. But, we are always writing songs and wanted to write some B-sides. The pressure if off when you do B-sides in a way as they are not expected to sell anything; so some are heavy, whilst others are mellow. Out of that, because we were still writing, we then ended up with 24/25 songs to choose for the album. Fans always ask about the album, and we don’t really know. Although it looks like it will be out in the late summer, as we want to have something when we play the festivals. We just want to get the songs out there as a few of them have been around a while. For instance, the new single A&E is two years old.
What music are you in to?
You always read interviews where people say they grew up listening to their parent’s record collection, stuff like Dusty Springfield. Well, my parent’s record collection was rubbish. When I was younger I used to listen to rubbish dance and pop. Then I started to play guitar and got in to people like Jeff Buckley. It wasn’t until I started going in to small gigs in my home town that I really started getting in to music. I saw Mew, which was definitely an early crucial gig for me. I’m open to anything, but I’m always bad at keeping up with music, I get recommendations from the band and stuff.
Do you have any non-musical influences?
For a lot of the songs that will be on the album, I’m just influenced by the stuff going on around me and that I experience. When we first started playing gigs in London it was a bit of an eye opener, as there were all these jumped-up posh twats doing stuff of no significance. It was all very false and there was no content to them. I prefer stuff that is more melancholic and that comes from the heart, bands like Elbow and Martin Grech. I don’t get the London scenesters.
You are about to head out on tour, including a date in Nottingham? Do you remember playing here before?
We played downstairs in Rock City for Dot To Dot (jn 2010). I love that venue, it was the first big venue that we ever played. Daniel was really helpful to us when we were first starting out and came down to London to see us play. So we have a lot of love for them. The staff and everyone are great. Nottingham was definitely the best of the three gigs we played for Dot To Dot.
What have been your most memorable gigs to play?
The first big show we did was supporting Feeder at this student night at Rock City. It was the first time we ever played in front of a big crowd of around 2000 people. It was overwhelming. The Godiver Festival in Coventry was another good gig. When you are in a band and start to play festivals, you never know what to expect. We played in front of 15,000 people and there was a massive reaction; it gave us validation for what we do. Then when we first got signed we played a Parlophone Away Day, which is basically a staff party for the record label staff. We played with Eliza Doolittle, Tinie Tempah and Kylie Minogue in this tiny pub.
What are the highlights of your career so far?
There have been loads of highlights. Recording an album has always been a dream of ours. I’m a bit of a technophobe, it’s Andy our drummer who does all of the technical stuff, and the fact that we get make the album with all of these people who really know their stuff is amazing. We are recording it at Damon Albarn’s studio too.
Do you have any advice for bands just starting out?
It would be to write as many songs as you can. Do it for the love of your music, don’t do it to fit in to any kind of scene or trend. If you are good, then people will start to listen. There is a Bill Cosby quote I heard the other day that I tried to remember, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody”.
Maybe you should dedicate the album to Bill Cosby and out that quite in the liner notes...
I’m going to get it tattooed on my back!
Are there any musicians you would like to play with?
I would just like to meet people to get inside their minds. People like Jeff Buckley and Josh Homme. And meeting Maxi Jazz would be cool.
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
To be able to smoke and drink as much as possible without it affecting my health.
Any final words for the LeftLion readers?
Just come and see us when we play The Bodega.