Interview: Climbing Through Rough Hills with The National Parks

The National Parks is a Provo, Utah folk/pop band. Since their fourth full length release Wildflower on June 19th, we had the pleasure of talking with drummer Cam Brannelly…

What’s the inspiration behind the name The National Parks?

The inspiration comes from the focus on nature found within the music. It’s meant to be beautiful, exciting and adventurous all at the same time. Brady’s last name is Parks, which also plays into it.

What was the earliest musical memory you have that made you realize that pursuing music was your destiny?

When I was young, I remember watching a live concert video of Rush. I had already started playing the drums but to see Neil Peart playing with his high energy in front of huge crowds really resonated and made me want to pursue the drums even more. I would watch that DVD before going to bed most nights. It had a huge impact on me and made me realize that if I could live my life doing what I watched in that DVD, I would be happy.

Talk about some inspirations for the new record. Who are some of the artists/musicians and what are some of your favorite records that keep you going? Additionally, any special people, places or past life events that have made you write a song?

Some of the major inspirations for the new record centered around nature and the lessons we can learn from it. The music in the album was our way to express the highs and lows of life through the perspective of nature. The cactus and the wildflower became symbols that we related to as a band. Cacti and wildflowers grow unattended in the wild. They grow in their own way and at their own pace and are beautiful in different, unique ways. We sometimes feel like that as a band in our growth and in our music. We also felt like it was a relatable feeling that a lot of people have in their own personal lives. 

Does your songwriting process have a strong model that you always use or does it change based on the path the song takes?

Yes, the songwriting process usually follows a strong model from start to finish. Brady will usually create a demo with the main idea of the song and lyrics. From there, all band members will receive the demo and add their own parts to the song. Most of the time the bulk of collaboration happens in the actual studio.

 What bands are you currently listening to?

Glass Animals, Bon Iver, Phoebe Bridgers, The 1975, Haim, The National.

Questions by Scott J. Herman