Last month, we introduced you to PARKWILD and their debut single, Too Late. This month, I had the chance to interview them and talk about their writing process and feelings towards the new single.
Introduce yourselves. How did you meet?
We’re Austin Zudeck and Justin Thunstrom, aka PARKWILD. We met at the GRAMMY Foundation’s 2011 GRAMMY Camp in LA. Essentially, GRAMMY Camp is a 10 day music intensive for high school students wishing to pursue a career in music.
When did you first become interested in music?
I [Austin], from age 2 to 5, used to carry a guitar with me wherever I would go, and I would play (terribly) and sing for anyone that was willing to hear me. However, it wasn’t until age 13 or so that I really got into music, and I picked up a guitar and bought a recording rig, and the rest was history. I [Justin] would randomly hit keys on a piano that my grandma had and would always prefer that over any games or toys. In doing so, I began with teaching myself piano at an early age. I then took drum and guitar lessons and eventually combined all of these skills into music production.
What aspect of songwriting do you enjoy most?
We love knowing that when you go into the studio with collaborators, by the time you leave, you have created something out of nothing. Additionally, you are creating something that connects with other people, as music is such an important form of communication to convey aspects of yourself that you hope other people will relate with. We also love the competition with ourselves, in that we try to outdo ourselves and write the best song we possibly can each day.
What was it like working with Connell Cruise and having ‘Endless Possibilities’ featured in the 2017 Quaker Oats campaign?
Connell Cruise is an amazing collaborator to work with. We’ve had the good fortune of working with him on numerous occasions. We also had another collaborator Ben Antelis, on Endless Possibilities, as soon as we picked up the acoustic guitar and began writing in Connells living room in his NYC apartment, we knew we had something strong. Once we heard that we landed the commercial we were so excited, as it is such a massive platform for our music to be heard on worldwide television. I [Austin] remember watching the Today Show and the first commercial I saw was ours and it was such an amazing feeling to know that our song is connecting with people.
Do you have any fun stories you can share about your time working with different collaborators?
One time we were relaxing on a beach in Malibu and got a call for a last minute session with an awesome writer but we had limited time to get there. Austin came sprinting across the beach over to me and we grabbed our stuff and ran to the car as fast as we could. After driving an hour and changing in the car we went into the session full of sand and sunscreen, looking like we had just run a marathon and we actually ended up writing one of our favorite songs ever.
Speak about your influences. Where do you get the most inspiration from?
Most of our inspiration for PARKWILD comes from our own personal lives. In sessions for us, it’s almost like therapy. We dig as deep as we can/need to and see what’s at the heart of what might be on our mind. Or if we have a cool concept, we dig and see how that is connected to us. When we’re writing for other artists/with other artists for their projects, its a similar process of soul searching, but we may play more of the listener to their thoughts and emotions rather than going as deep within our conscience.
Your debut single was released on January 19, 2018; how would you describe that experience and how is it different than collaborating with other artists?
Our debut single was initially written during a writing trip to Los Angeles where we were writing predominantly for other artists, as we are also writer/producers. As the song came together, we knew it had to be for PARKWILD. It just felt right and came from such a personal place for both of us. We’ve been trying for years to discover what truly felt like our sound, and once we it hit, we just knew.
How would you describe your single, ‘Too Late’?
We both strongly connect to this song emotionally as it describes the experience of wanting to go back to certain time, place or even a previous version of yourself, but realizing that it’s too late to do so. Though it is a dark topic, there is a sense of optimism.
Do you have any stand out memories from the recording process of the single or even the EP?
Our debut single Too Late, was initially a song that we wrote on a writing trip to Los Angeles where we were writing predominantly for other artists. Initially the song wasn’t meant for us, however it came from such a personal place for both of us that we had to have it. That would have to be what stands out the most, because the song just stuck with us so much when we left the session, that we called our collaborators and asked for it to be for us and that’s not something we had done before.
What would you like fans to know about yourselves/your band?
We play a part in every aspect of what we do as a band. From the writing and production of the music to the creation and design of album covers as well as shooting and editing of the videos, we do it all.
Is there anything else we should know about your debut single/EP?
There’s a lot more where it came from.
Don’t forget to listen to their new single, ‘Too Late’, on Spotify now!