We’re inviting you to take a stroll today through The National Parks. The Utah-based group has just released their new album, Wildflower, on June 19th, fifteen new tracks of their addictive indie-folk/pop featuring their most diverse songwriting to date. There’s a lot of heart in this album, with songs such as “Time,” a track which encourages maintaining patience and perseverance while times are tough. Wildflower is the follow up to 2017’s Places and acts as a continuation of their distinctive sound, energized by blissful pop melodies, cinematic electronics, organic-sounding instruments, and rock n’ roll energy.
The quartet of guitarist and singer Brady Parks, keyboardist Sydney Macfarlane, drummer Cam Brannelly, and violinist Megan Parks began to emerge in 2013 with the release of their debut record, Young. Since then, they have toured with Andy Grammar, Peter Bjorn and John, and WILD while performing at KAABOO Del Mar, SXSW, and CMJ. The band maintains a real do-it-yourself attitude towards everything they do, with Wildflower now their fourth independently-released full-length record.
In order to get to know this rising band a little better, we spoke with drummer Cam Brannelly for our latest Geared Up interview in which he discusses his DW Design Series drum kit and all of the things he loves about it.
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Cam Brannelly: “Probably my DW Design Series kit (12″, 16″, 22″). I have been using the same kit for about six years and recently bought a new one with a different finish. Almost every live show I get compliments on its punchy, full sound.”
How did you come to possess the Design Series? Vintage shop, regular shop, borrowed money, gifted. Give us the details.
“I bought my original kit from Guitar Center. I have a friend at the time who was the manager and was able to hook me up.”
What made you choose the Design Series and were there any close seconds or alternates?
“I chose this particular kit because of the quality you get for the price tag. Many DW kits sound amazing but are more on the pricier side. The design series kit is an awesome kit for the price. It’s not quite as expensive as the higher tier models while having a comparable sound.”
What about this Design Series makes it so important to you?
“I think its reliability. It’s very versatile and seems to fit almost any gig. No matter what room I’m in, I know it’s going to sound amazing or, in trickier rooms, at least good enough to compliment the band.”
Did you use the Design Series during the recording of your latest album?
“Parts of my kit have been used in the recordings of our latest songs and album, Wildflower, or at least similar DW-sounding drums. Most of the album had parts of a DW kit in the recordings.”
Do you have a special way that you recreate your album tones in a live setting, or is it more just plug-and-play?
“More plug and play. There are specific sounds in the Roland SPD-SX that I use to recreate the recordings. I also try and match the cymbals closely.”
We know you love this piece of gear, but are there any major cons? (Ok, now you can also list the pros…)
“Honestly, no. I can’t think of any cons that bring this kit down. I have really enjoyed it and have not wished to change anything. It’s definitely more punchy than other kits, so if you are looking for a very boomy-sounding kit I guess that could be a con.”
If you could, or wanted to (maybe you don’t at all, and that’s cool), what would you tweak or mod on the Design Series?
“Nothing at all!”
How easy is it for you to tweak the device and get the tone/sounds you need?
“Very easy, simple drum tuning will take care of making this kit sound awesome. I also use some dampening pads inside the kick drum.”
How does the Design Series hold up with regular touring and gigging?
“So far, it has held up great. Been very durable. The white satin finish on one of my kits can get a little dirty. You have to stay on top of keeping it clean, unless you like that look, of course.”
Do you have a backup for it? If so, what?
“I do and my backup kit is the same one.”
Time for some fun. Give us your best “gear goes wrong” story.
“I was mid-song when my kick drum beater fell out of the kick drum pedal. I could feel it slowly coming out and knew it was broken. I was trying to think of what I was going to do once it fully dislodged. I was able to flag down our tour manager to start looking for my other pedal. Luckily, I had a backup pedal on this particular tour. Eventually, the beater fell out, our tour manager was quick to get me the backup pedal and I was able to swap it out without completely blowing the song.”
Any final thoughts or comments on the DW Design Series or anything else?
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the DW Design Series kit. It has fully lived up to what I have needed to get out of it and would definitely recommend it to anyone that is looking for high quality and a low cost.”