A few weeks back, Utah folk-pop outfit The National Parks dropped their fourth studio album Wildflower. Today, singer-guitarist and band namesake Brady Parks (on the left in the picture above) drops his guard long enough to get suckered into answering my silly questions. For that alone, he’s earned my respect — and his band’s uplifting music should easily earn yours. Check out his answers and their tunes below:
Introduce yourself: Name, age (feel free to lie), home base and other details you’d like to share — height / weight / identifying marks / astrology sign / your choice.
My name is Brady Parks, I am 30 years old and my home base is Salt Lake City, Utah.
What is your musical origin story?
I started in piano lessons as a kid, but quickly felt drawn to the guitar. One day my mom came back from a garage sale with a guitar when I was about 13 years old and that’s when I picked it up and started teaching myself chords and immediately tried writing songs. I’ve always loved songwriting because it can be such a cathartic experience. When I moved to Utah from Colorado for college, I started going to open mic nights at a local venue in Provo called Velour Live Music Gallery. I loved being able to play my songs on stage and eventually met Sydney, our keyboardist and other vocalist, through some mutual friends and after jamming for a couple of years, we formed The National Parks and released our first album in 2013 and the rest is history!
What’s your latest project? Tell us everything we need to know.
We have a brand-new album called Wildflower and we’ve honestly never been more excited about anything we’ve ever created. Wildflower is an album consisting of 15 songs that range from soft and moody to upbeat and dancey and everything in between. Usually when we write an album, I’ll write close to the exact number of songs that ends up on the album. With this one, however, I wrote about 40 songs and of those we took 18 to the studio before locking in the 15 that we chose. We took our time with this album to get it exactly where we wanted it to be. This is an album about faith and hope, struggles and difficulties and knowing at the end of the day you are a wildflower that is planted for a reason. We hope this album can be a hope and a light for everyone during these times.
What truly sets you apart from other artists?
We have a unique sound that combines natural instrumentation with modern beats and sounds and songs that make you feel something. We feel like with this new album we know exactly who we are and it was fun bringing the modern and folk worlds together on Wildflower.
What will I learn or how will my life improve by listening to your music?
We hope that our music can help uplift you and keep you going through whatever challenges arise. We hope that Wildflower can be a reminder that better days are ahead and that we are all in this together.
What album / song / artist / show changed your life?
I think the Coldplay album Mylo Xyloto was one that definitely changed my life. I remember listening to it over and over again and just kept feeling like it was taking me to new places. That album was incredibly influential to me in a lot of ways.
Tell us about the first song you wrote and / or the first gig you played and what you got paid.
The first song I ever wrote was called The Hot Chocolate Song and yes, I still remember it to this day! Freaking banger. And the first show I ever played was in Provo, Utah in 2008. Me and my friend had a little band and we played a show at Muse Music Cafe. I don’t remember making any money that night. But that show was so fun and scary.
What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you gave?
Good question. We’ve played so many memorable shows but a couple seem to stand out right away. One was the Rooftop Concert festival in Provo where we played for 15,000 people and we were just so hyped. It was one of the most energetic shows I’ve ever played. Another memorable one was also in Provo at the venue where it all began for us — Velour Live Music Gallery. It was a limited seating, acoustic show and I just remember feeling like the room was just completely filled with love. It was incredible. As for the bad performances, I won’t go into those, haha. I’m sure there’s been a few in there. And the strangest was during Canadian Music Week in Toronto a few years back. We had a 2 a.m. slot in a small bar on the last night of the fest. There weren’t many people there at all but those who were were going WILD haha. One guy even got on stage and started hitting our drums. Super weird night but really memorable for sure.
What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you’ve seen another artist give?
One of the best performances I’ve ever seen was in 2008 at Velour in Provo. It was a band called Love You Long Time and the whole show was the craziest energy and best stage presence ever. Everyone in the crowd was going nuts. I’ll never forget it.
What do you want to be doing in 10 years?
I want to be on a tour bus with my wife Meg, who also plays violin in the band, and maybe some kiddos! I want to be playing music every night and keep living this dream!
What living or dead artists would you collaborate with if you could?
I would love to collaborate with Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Justin Vernon and Chris Martin to name a few!
What artist or style of music do you love that would surprise people?
Not sure about this one or if it’s a surprise but I love T-Swift and her RED album is one of my favs. Such a jam.
What are your favourite songs / albums / artists right now?
I love The 1975, Phoebe Bridgers, Dua Lipa, Vampire Weekend, and so many more!!
How about some other favourites? Authors / movies / painters / philanthropists / you name it.
Love all the Harry Potter books (and movies). I’m a huge Wes Anderson fan. And I gotta add Michael Jordan to this list. The GOAT.
Who would you be (or have you been) starstruck to meet?
I would be starstruck to meet Michael Jordan for sure. I grew up watching him and he was a hero for me. I’d love to meet MJ.
Tell us a joke.
What type of music are balloons afraid of? Pop music (this was the hardest question haha),
What do you drive and why? What do you want to drive and why?
I drive a Ford Fusion. It’s reliable and gets good gas mileage. I want a vintage sports car. I don’t even know which one specifically. There are some beauties out there and I’d love to put the top down on a sunny day and just cruise.
What superpower do you want and how would you use it?
I wish I could have the super power of having my teeth brush themselves when I get really tired after watching TV too late and have to get up and go to bed.
What skills — useful or useless — do you have outside of music?
I can juggle. And I know what you’re thinking… “Wow, who doesn’t know how to throw some bean bags up in the air and catch them.” Right? Well, the truth is I can juggle torches and machetes, etc… I won the talent show for it in middle school so yeah… pretty cool.
What do you collect?
Music festival badges and lanyards.
If I had a potluck, what would you bring?
What current trend or popular thing do you not understand at all?
Avocado toast. I’m allergic to avocados so maybe that’s why
Tell us about your current and/or former pets.
I had a guinea pig when I was little named Gitters. He was the best.
If you could have any other job besides music, what would it be and why?
I’d like to be a home flipper and remodel and flip cool old homes. I’m a sucker for Fixer Upper.
What’s the best advice and/or worst advice you were ever given?
Best advice was to follow my heart no matter what. That’s good advice right there.