With a little more ‘sunshine’ at your disposal these days, The National Parks are the perfect band to ring in a new season of light and growth. The folk-pop band released their new single “Sunshine” last month, the first single off of their upcoming album 8th Wonder. “Sunshine” no doubt has a ‘sunny’ disposition to it, with a catchy groove, a loving tone, and a positive feel. The song’s writing was spearheaded by guitarist and singer Brady Parks throughout the band’s spring tour last year when he began to reflect on the sun giving life to everything. Not to mention who and what gave life to him.

The quartet took an interesting approach to write 8th Wonder. At the beginning of last year, the members all had a Zoom meeting where they fleshed out their New Year’s resolutions, both personally and musically, and from that meeting, the shape of the album began to form. They collectively decided that they wanted to make this next record a more defining one, establishing more of a connection with the natural world as the primary theme behind the record, which is what produced songs like “Sunshine.” In totality, 8th Wonder is a record full of love, positivity, happiness, and devotion to the world.

With 8th Wonder out today, Friday, March 3rd, we spoke with Parks about the new album, his love for playing music, the band’s songwriting process, and much more.

Tell us about your new album, 8th Wonder; what was your experience of making it? What went on behind the scenes? Any notable moments that stand out?

Brady Parks: “Working on our new album was an amazing experience for me personally. I wrote this album over the course of a lot of life changes and events. It spans a timeframe where (violinist) Megan (Parks) had a miscarriage, then finding out she was pregnant again, to then me becoming a dad for the first time.

“This album is about the adventure of life, and I think all of those things had an impact on me while writing. I’ll never forget these studio sessions because we actually brought our one-month-old baby with us. We’d put him down for naps in a pack n’ play in the vocal booth, feed him with headphones on when it was too noisy, and just get to hang with him while we created. It was a wild experience, but it brought so much joy during the process for me, and that’s something I’ll always remember. We even featured our little dude as an easter egg on our song ‘Garden,’ so see if you can spot it.”

How would you describe your own music?

“I think technically we say our genre is indie-folk/pop, but who even knows (laughs). Lately, I’ve been describing our music as road trip music. It’s the kind of music that we hope inspires people to go outside and experience the world with the people they love. We hope our songs find their way into the soundtracks of those experiences.”

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

“It would be a dream to collaborate with personal heroes like Justin Vernon and Stevie Nicks. I would also really love to team up and hang with Post Malone. It’d be perfect, we both live in Utah, and I think we could make something rad together. Post, if you’re out there, wanna hang?”

Artwork for the album ‘8th Wonder’ by The National Parks
Artwork for the album ‘8th Wonder’ by The National Parks

What do you like most about playing music?

“There’s nothing that really compares to playing live shows. For me, there is this tangible feeling with crowds where you kind of just realize you’re all in that moment together, feeling the energy from each other. A lot of times in life, we are so worried about a million things at the same time, but during a show, there are moments where everything fades away; you get lost in the lights, the songs and the love you feel. It’s the best.”

When you write, do you do so with the live setting in mind, or do you write a song just for the song’s sake?

“I would have to say both for sure. There are songs I write that are so personal, and I feel like I need to get them out of me. It’s a very cathartic process, and during those times, I’m not thinking about playing them live, or what anyone would think.

“On the other hand, there are times when playing live definitely influences the direction of it. I think it always starts out the same; it’s about the song and nothing else. And then, when the song starts taking shape, I start to think about production ideas and how we would want to play it live and how fans would react to something at a show. I think all of that finds its way into a song during the writing process.”

What is the story behind the name 8th Wonder?

“This album is an album about life, about experiencing all of the ups and downs with the people that matter most. It’s about adventure, getting outside, and experiencing the unknown. I think the name 8th Wonder captures the heart of the album. When I think of the seven natural wonders of the world, I think about the most epic, beautiful, and larger-than-life places on the planet. This album is about finding out what the 8th wonder for you is.”

Is there anywhere you would like to go that you have not been to?

“We’ve been able to go to so many amazing places as a band, but believe it or not; we have not been to Europe yet. We had plans to go in 2020 before the pandemic, and it’s something that is 1,000 percent on our minds. Can’t wait to get over to Europe and play shows and experience all of it.”

Do you receive a lot of support from your local scene and fans in general?

“We’re so lucky to be a band from Utah. It was the most amazing scene to come up in, and it’s always so fun to play our hometown shows here. You can ask any band what state the fans go the hardest in, and they’ll all say Utah. It’s special, and the fans we’ve made here have always been so supportive and kind and loving. It’s special, and we love our Utah people.”

What are your touring plans for when the new music drops?

“We’ll be on the road pretty much all year for the 8th Wonder Tour. It’s been about four years since we’ve done a headlining tour, so we are throwing everything we can at these shows to make them as special as they possibly can be. We’ve never been more excited to play music as we are right now! Gonna be a lot of fun.”

Tour Dates:

03/17 – Salt Lake City, UT – Union Events Center
04/20 – Rexburg, ID – Romance Theater
04/21 – Rexburg, ID – Romance Theater (SOLD OUT)
04/22 – Boise, ID – Treefort Music Hall
04/25 – Portland, OR – Mission Theater
04/26 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile’s Madame Lou’s
04/28 – Berkeley, CA – Cornerstone
04/29 – Santa Cruz, CA – The Atrium
05/04 – San Diego, CA – Voodoo
05/05 – Los Angles, CA – Troubadour
05/06 – Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom
05/09 – Houston, TX – The Bronze Peacock at House of Blues – Houston
05/10 – Austin, TX – Antone’s
05/11 – Dallas, TX – Kessler
05/12 – Oklahoma City, OK – 89th Street OKC
05/13 – Denver, CO – Bluebird

Author

Born in 2003, V13 was a socio-political website that, in 2005, morphed into PureGrainAudio and spent 15 years developing into one of Canada's (and the world’s) leading music sites. On the eve of the site’s 15th anniversary, a full re-launch and rebrand takes us back to our roots and opens the door to a full suite of Music, Film, TV, and Cultural content.