Exclusive Interview with Morning Parade Lead Singer Steve Sparrow

Morning Parade

Photo Credit: Morning Parade

If you watched Pretty Little Liars Season 3, Episode 5 — the one where Jenna Marshall threw a birthday party slash “I Can See, It’s a Miracle” extravaganza for herself — then you probably heard an awesome track entitled “Speechless”! (Just as a refresher, it played when Emily spotted Jenna planning out her fiesta at The Brew and goes a little something like this: Cause you’ve got me right where you want me / As a tsunami tide rolls over / The landscape that we built a home in / Inside of our minds.) Well, that song just happens to be by a British band called Morning Parade that is comprised of five talented (and super cute) guys who are performing at the 2012 Olympics, have opened for Coldplay and 30 Seconds to Mars, recently released an emotional rollercoaster of an album, and were beyond ecstatic to be featured on a music savvy show such as PLL. And we just happen to have an exclusive interview with the band’s lead vocalist Steve Sparrow (no relation to the pirate Jack, sorry) as well as a video of their recent in-studio jam session right below. Enjoy!

PLL: Congrats on being featured on an upcoming episode of PLL! How excited were you all?
Morning Parade: Yeah I know what song it is and am really excited. I mean it’s amazing! We got the call I think maybe a week ago and  I don’t know what scene it is but I know it’s the song “Speechless” from my debut album.


PLL: What are your thoughts about music on TV in general?
Morning Parade: We love it and think it’s a great way for new artists to get introduced to new audiences. We were featured in The Vampire Diaries a really long time ago — right at the very start of our career — and instantly we saw a  new kind of fan base pop up. We’re still meeting a lot of people that are like, “Oh I saw you guys first in The Vampire Diaries!” I think its one of the best things about American television. You have artists such as Imogen Heap making huge strides out here because her songs are featured on Grey’s Anatomy, a show that’s well known for its great soundtrack. To be involved with the Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars is amazing for us. It definitely helps us meet new people.

PLL: Can you tell us more about your upcoming tour with The Civil Twilight? What can fans expect?
Morning Parade: We just finished with the back of one tour and we’re going home for a little bit and then performing at the Olympics show in the UK where we’ll be playing with The Wanted. Then, we’re heading out with Civil Twilight at the beginning of August. It’s going to be an amazing time — they’re very talented and we heard their tracks and were like this is great. It’s gearing up to be a good tour!

PLL: We hear you’re going to be playing during The Olympic Torch Relay Celebration in London. How did this amazing opportunity come about and what are you look forward to about the experience?
Morning Parade: We are definitely excited about it! It’s the easiest decision we’ve ever had to make. They were like, “Would you like to be involved in playing massive shows around the Olympics, the biggest British sporting event of the last hundred years?” Uh yes please we’ll be able to do that. Thank you. [Laughs] We’re just disappointed we couldn’t be involved in the synchronized swimming though — we wanted to be in that and I look really good in a pair of speedos and a little swim hat on! [Laughs] But in all seriousness, it came about when we were approached by the co-director who actually had sponsored the event and they liked the tunes, they liked the sound, they liked the live show, and they thought we could offer something different from the rest of the artists listed. Without a second thought, we were like, “Yeah lets do it!” We get to play some pretty crazy shows. I think the first one’s on Saturday — it’ll be my birthday — and we’re playing to like 20,000 people in Birmingham. But it’s amazing at the end of the month on like the 26th of July we’re playing for like around 60,000 – to 80,000 people in London. I believe it’s the day before the Olympic games off. So its quite an honor. I think its kind of my “hi mom” moment. They “Hey, Mom, I’m at a big stage. Look mom, I done it, told ya!”

PLL: You’re on the road a lot! What do you miss most about home while on tour?
Morning Parade: My dog. He’s named Rocky. I wanted a pal when I was 21 so I got a dog called Rocky who lives with my parents whenever I’m on tour. I definitely miss him. And I miss my bed. And of course I miss my friends, but I’m in a band with my best friends so I’m pretty lucky about that. But you do have to get time to visit home and spend time with your family because you don’t get to see a lot of them while traveling.

PLL: Where has been your favorite place to perform so far and which song do you love to perform live?
Morning Parade: We’ve been to so many places and so many of them have special memories for different reasons. Playing in Moscow was crazy for us because, who goes to Moscow? We were like we’re gonna play a gig in Moscow? We had no idea anyone even knew us there! We flew in and played a show to a thousand amazing Russians. Rome was amazing because it’s Rome and it has such a beautiful history. You walk around and get to visit the Colosseum and then in the evenings you get to play a show for all these wonderful Italian fans — it’s amazing! Also, I think our first show in LA of this tour was one of the most special because it was kind of our introduction to America — like some sort of fiery baptism full of crazy crazy fans, so many people. It’s kinda hard to tell though because  this whole tour has been a magic experience for us.

PLL: Do you experience any crazy fan encounters while on tour?
Morning Parade: There are a few. I think the craziest ones for us are the fan gifts which are always amazing. You never know what you’re gonna get from fans — they bring you a myriad of wonderful presents ranging from teddy bears that sing Russian songs when if you pressed their belly to Post-It notes wrapped in rubber bands with girls phone numbers and pictures — that’s quite strange. [Laughs] But I think the most overwhelming thing is when fans come to you with tattoos with your lyrics. It’s kind of crazy. At first I was like, “Whooooooa! I feel like your parents are going to come find me to tell me off for starting some crazy sect or cult!” In fact, in Germany, one girl she came up to me after a show and said “Could you hand write two lines from this song and the line is “cut your heart in two/half for me/and half for you” and she had it tattooed across where her heart is. It’s kind of that full circle thing when you realize you’ve touched someone in the way you’ve always hoped to. In my own handwriting as well.. it’s crazy!

PLL: What’s a lyrical moment from any of your albums that you’re really fond of?
Morning Parade: Every band member’s got different ones. I’m really proud of the new record as a whole since it’s something I’ve wanted to work on and develop over the last year. I also think “Under The Stars” [featured in The Vampire Diaries] has got a few great lines: “So let the street lights shine away/Till the breaking of the day/For tonight all of the saints are sinners”. It kind of wraps up the sentiment of the song pretty well and I think that’s always the hardest thing to do to be able to say what you’re trying to say.

PLL: Where do you draw inspiration from a band – does everyone contribute to the songwriting process?
Morning Parade: It honestly varies. We’ve got five talented people in the band that all have a lot of passion for songwriting and making music. In the old days I  did some of the writing on my own but as we grew together and spent more time together we really tried to bounce off of each other. [For example,] one song that really clicked on the album [for all of us] is in the closing track of the new album called “Born Alone”. It was one of those songs that just finished itself, we didn’t really have to try and it’s kinda nice when that happens.

PLL: We are especially fond of “Close To Your Heart” and “Headlights.” Can you tell the back-story to these tracks?
Morning Parade: “Headlights” is one of the songs we got in America as a single now and we’re going out and people are singing it back to us. It was written in about 15 minutes while I was attending college in the southwest of England in Bristol. The song’s got a sickly sweet melody. It’s very upbeat, very up tempo. But the lyrics are kind of shady, a little bit of a darker in terms of undertone. “Headlights” is sort of captures the truth in relationships for me. You can have the beautiful romance but there’s also the kind of gritty side to it. And it’s about really taking somebody for all they are and loving them for it almost unconditionally. So that’s what headlights is about.

“Close To Your Heart” was written in the back of a van on the way back from a festival one day. We just had a guitar and were just playing around with these chords. It was one of those moments where we just performed for some stellar fans, the day was beautiful, the sun was shining, and everyone was high on life. I think its about letting go of your worries and trying to focus on the wonderful things. Just the feeling of being alive.

PLL: A big Morning Parade fan on twitter would like to know, “If you hosted your own headlining festival, which big name bands would you love to open for you?
Morning Parade: That’d be too scary wouldn’t it? You couldn’t have any of your heroes. You couldn’t have Radiohead or any of those bands because they’re the biggest best bands in the world. But wow! There’s a band we love from the UK that we’d love to play more shows with. And we’d love to have Walk the Moon who we just toured with. And if we could have people that weren’t dead, I’d have Jeff Buckley and maybe Elvis as well because I never got to see him perform live.

PLL: Do you have any particular songs by other artists you love to cover while on stage?
Morning Parade:We have done a few covers actually over the years. We normally tend to do them just when we’re doing radio sessions or stuff like that because it keeps it interesting, it gives us something to do instead of playing the same songs every time. On this tour we’ve been doing a cover of the Black Keys “Gold on The Ceiling” just because we love the song. It’s massive. I think it’s undeniably one of the best songs of the last five years. We’re up for covering everything. We covered Rihanna’s S&M, last year and David Bowie’s “Life on Mars.” I think we just pick songs that we we’re very fond of as well as some of the old favorites as well.

PLL: Another fan would like to know what movie you’d love any of your songs to be featured in?
Morning Parade: Wow! Any song from this album in any movie? Well we have a tradition before we go on stage, our warm up is –this is really weird, I don’t actually know why , but we do it—we sing the Terminator two tune. [sings tune and laughs] …yeah I don’t know why  we do it. I think we do it to make Chad happy.  I’d say “Under The Stars” at the end of The Terminator. That’d be amazing. Why not? [Laughs]

PLL: Thanks so much, Steve! It was such a pleasure chatting with you.
Morning Parade: Thank you for all your great questions. Most interviews are kind of the same questions every day so it’s nice to have some fresh ones and very inventive ones as well!

For more information on Morning Parade’s addicting tracks and upcoming tour dates, visit their official site: http://www.morningparade.com/. Plus, keep up with their latest news and performances by following them on Twitter at @morningparade!

Are you a huge Morning Parade fan? Which of their songs is your absolute favorite? Tell us in the comments!


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