Parachute Musical has come a long way since their early days in DC. The band was formed in 2003, but it wasn’t until 2007— when they relocated to Nashville — that they began to really take off. From the time they released their debut, self-titled album in 2003 to January 2010 when they released their two-song single No Comfort, their sound has grown sharper, clearer and stronger. When lead-singer Josh Foster and band mates Tom Gilbert, Andrew Samples and Ben Jacoby moved down to Nashville, they immediately began touring and growing their fan base around their newly found home. By the time they released their sophomore album Everything Is Working Out Fine In Some Town they had quite a following in the southeast, and since then have toured all over the US.
Parachute Musical’s newest release is piano pop rock at it’s best. In “No Comfort” and “Drop Me A Line” Foster’s songwriting really shines; his vocals soar with witty lyrics and a catchy melody. Paired with driving piano and guitar hooks, and Jacoby’s notably tight and emphatic drumming, it’s clear that this new stuff is heading in the right direction. Currently they’re touring down south and will be heading out west with The Winter Sounds for dates throughout April and May. Check out their touring schedule here and go see them live! Meanwhile, Josh took some time to speak with OurStage about his life on tour and how they keep up their daily tour blog. Check out the Q&A, OurStage playlist and live video of one of their new songs below!
MD: I saw that you played the Road to Bonnaroo down in Nashville [last month]. How did the show go?
JF: It was awesome. It was a really nice experience. The place was at capacity, there were like 550 people there. They were only letting one person in as one person left, that type of situation. There was a line of people out the door. It was cool, very lively. We played some new songs that we had never played live before and it was fun to do that and get a good response out of it. We didn’t win or anything like that, we kind of went in knowing that we probably wouldn’t win, but we had fun and we were glad to be a part of it.
MD: Awesome. So, when did you guys start touring?
JF: I moved to [Nashville] January 1, 2007 and we’ve played non-stop so that we could develop a fan base here. We knew it would be really important to trade people shows, you know their good hometown for our good hometown, and in that time period we recorded a record and went out and supported that record. So we’ve been touring pretty much non-stop for two years.
MD: Where do you usually stay on the road? At hotels, or friends and fans houses?
JF: We stay at friends or fans houses usually because it’s pointless for us to make $100 from a show and turn around and spend $80 on a hotel room when we could just sleep on some couches and rough it a little bit. People are so hospitable, I mean they’re open for what we have to offer and they like meeting new people as well so it’s usually mutually accepted that we stay at their houses. But sometimes it’s not and we sort of have to con people and convince people that, that’s going to be the thing what we’re doing tonight. [laughs] And that’s not always the best case scenario for us.
MD: How do you keep yourselves occupied on long drives from city to city?
JF: I read a whole lot. I bring a ton of books with me and make it a goal to read as much as I can. We always listen to music too, we have our laptops and bring DVDs. You know, we talk a lot. We talk about the future, which is always a long drawn out conversation [laughs].
MD: [Laughs] Good time for band bonding. I checked out your YouTube channel and it looks like you guys have a ton of videos from the road. In your opinion, what’s the value of making these tour videos and what’s the best formula to make the video entertaining, yet informative? Some bands have a knack for it, others don’t.
JF: I guess the reason that we do it is the same reason why we do anything. We don’t necessarily know what it is we should be doing and we try a lot of different things and I had this idea one day that I was going to commit to making a new tour video every single day to kind of keep our fans around the US that we’ve met interested. We can’t put out new music every single day and as hard as we try in that department it’s a long time between releases. So, it’s just extra stuff to keep people reminded that you’re still there, still touring and working your ass off.
I film all day long pretty much. I film us doing random things and try to get some show footage in there, that’s about it really. The next day when we’re driving to our next destination I’ll upload all the footage and try to sift through what’s good and what’s funny and what’s not. I get rid of about 90% of what we film. Sometimes we’ll stage little funny things that we do, but I do my best to try and not edit it too much to keep it raw and real.
I don’t know if you’ve checked out our Tumblr page, but that’s our blog completely dedicated to the honest truth of the road. So many bands out there do these bullshit things where they say you know, “It was amazing! We had a ton of people every night!” this, that and the other. They’re falsifying the truth to make themselves appear greater than they are. I wanted to give people the real deal and say, “Man, Memphis really sucked tonight because there was no one there and this crackhead kept asking me for money.” It’s no holds bar. We write about everything we experience on the road and how we experience it. I think being honest to people is more appealing than faking it.
MD: Who are some of the bands that you’ve toured with?
JF: We’ve toured with a ton of bands, The Winter Sounds, Modern Skirts, Heypenny, All Get Out, Sequoyah Prep School, Wakey!Wakey!, Keegan DeWitt… lots and lots of people. More recently we’ve been trying to meet new people, we met All Get Out and went on tour with them. They are our best friends in the entire world, you know? We’re tour mates, same with The Winter Sounds. We meet bands basically through Nick [their manager/booking agent] we say, “Hey this is what we can offer you guys, would you be interested in doing a run together?” See how it goes and either say yes or no.
MD: What’s your favorite region or venue to play?
JF : I love Charleston, South Carolina. I love Charleston because it’s a cool vibe in that town, everybody’s really laid back and it’s fun. We’ve had a lot of time off there, it’s right by Folly Beach and it’s just really nice. It’s the only time we’re ever on the road and feel like we’re vacationing. We’re going back there on this run and I think it’ll be great. The last time we were there was with The Winter Sounds and it was awesome. I also enjoy playing in our hometown, DC. We can always count on the crowd and it’s always fun.
MD: Any advice for bands just starting to tour?
JF: Do 4-hour drives, don’t go out for 2 months at a time, you’re just going to wear yourself thin. If you’re just starting out you’re going to have a lot of bad shows. It’s good to go out for 10 days and build up a good 10-day market, and tour regionally. Try and build up that home base. It’s really attractive to other bands that might want to play with you and it’s really attractive to booking agents because they see dollar signs. So tour regionally and tour often, but don’t do it in big blocks.