fproFresh off playing the Whale Rock Music Festival in Paso Robles, I sat down with Próxima Parada to talk about their experience at the show, their last album (Big Seven), and what they have coming up.
Próxima Parada is:
Nicholas Larson (keyboards, guitar and vocals)
Joshua Collins (guitar)
Kevin Middlekauff (bass)
Aaron Kröger (drums).
So Próxima Parada just wrapped up playing the Whale Rock Festival. What was that like?
Aaron: It was so fun because the day we played it was sold out; there were 3000 people there. Michael Franti was there. Shows like Whale Rock feel extra special because you know everybody’s there for the music.
Josh: People were just down to party and we just had a really great time. We packed in all these songs and people really rose to the occasion of having this little time with us to hardy down and get crazy.
Nick: It felt like these kind of sets should be the norm. It felt like we were all really connected and it was cool to see that on the grand scheme.
Were any of you excited to see any particular artist that was also playing there?
Josh: Oh yeah! The Motet. I love the Turkuaz. The Suffers.
Aaron: The Suffers were cool. I really enjoyed all those bands.
Nick: Las Cafeteras, they were sick, very high energy and entertaining. They were so good. They had such a blend, so much variety.
Did you play a lot of songs off Big Seven?
Josh: Yeah we did, we played most of them. And all the songs have changed so much since Big Seven was released. They’ve all gone through complete transformations. When we recorded them we had just learned them, so now, even finding the tempos we really like for them has been a process. We’ve been realizing the components of the songs and their features and been able to highlight that to make each song more special.
It’s fair to say that even in its original form Big Seven was a big hit. Time in a Circle has over half a million listens on Spotify (866,000 and counting as of March 1st). Did you guys expect that? I know it was put out as a single but did you expect that song to be the representative song on the album?
Nick: I think it’s hilarious.
Josh: I had just learned the song (when I went in to record) and the guys were like, ”just do something,” and I did that little guitar part that opens the song. I think it helped with the direction of the tune.
Nick: We went in and recorded it, drums, bass and piano, all live. And then you put the guitar over it and I put the vocals over it. It’s funny because it’s one of the more musically simple songs on the album, but people connect with it.
Josh: A lot of those guitar parts I hadn’t even worked out very much.
Aaron: It’s also one of the more lyrically honest songs on the album too. It’s fairly straightforward and not too cryptic and i think people connect with it in one way or another.
Nick: And it’s always personal for me too, which might not have anything to do with how other people see see it.
What are each of your favorite songs off the album? I really enjoy One Cloud is Lonely.
Josh: Maybe Better now?
Nick: I think I would go with either Time in a Circle or Move It Out. I like them both because they come off pretty simple and I like simple, but they both have some really cool catchy melodies and they get stuck in my head a lot.
Aaron: Whatever song gets me #1 babe Natalie Portman (referring to poster in room).
Maybe this article will reach her. In Better Now, the line, “I’ve never felt this way before,” is a pretty strong motif. Was there something that inspired that?
Kevin: It’s a nostalgic song about things that happened in the past and wanting to be in those moments again, whether it’s friends or situations, and always looking at the past and assuming its so great. But looking back you tend to forget about the bad or harsh times, you remember all the good things. So it really comes from realizing that where I’m at now is actually a better place than where i was then.
Josh: I like it ‘cause it’s in 7. It just has a feeling with resilience too; I like all the colors and the feeling that it has. I don’t really listen to the lyrics at all, I don’t really even know what the lyrics are (everyone laughs), I just like the modulation. It has a good effect from the verse to the chorus (Better Now modulates from G to B) and I feel like it has a very open nostalgia joy in that, but there’s also a sadness to it like you’re cutting your losses. I feel like if I could explain what I’m trying to say I wouldn’t have to play music or guitar.
I saw you did that out of breath monologue contest on your Instagram, that was pretty cool! Are you aiming to encourage physical activity here for people in SLO?
Aaron: Absolutely. It’s art so however you want to interpret it.
In regards to classical literature, I was checking out the biography you guys have up on your website. It’s so ridiculous in a great way, I just had to ask if you guys have any favorite pieces of classical literature, and whether any of that rolls into the music at all?
Nick: Kind of actually, you mentioned One Cloud is Lonely, and it’s not classic literature, but its classic in our opinion. There’s a book called Watership Down from the 70’s and “one cloud feels lonely,” is actually a line from that book, so it definitely comes in.
Moving on to new material, when are you looking to record again?
Nick: I bet we could record a new album within 2018.
Aaron: Before we die.
Nick: We’ve got more but we want to keep polishing them and playing them in a live setting because when you play them live then you get to develop them.
Josh: So maybe do all that work up front.
You recorded Big Seven with Vince Cimo back at the Speak Studios right?
Nick: Yup, that was the last album, and we were also his first album there too. Songs of Music was the first album he did in that space. I kind of have a dream for our next album to work with a producer that’s maybe more well versed in hip hop sounds. Not that we want a hip hop album, but the thickness and fullness of it would be so cool in terms of the fat sound.
You guys have been doing a lot of things in and around SLO, are you looking to do any kind of a tour anytime soon?
Kevin: That’s another thing we’re working on is getting a manager and a booking agent, we need a team now. You can only do so much as a band; we’ve always been very DIY like we can do anything, and it served us well to a degree but now I feel like it’s holding us back and slowing us down. It would be nice to have a team and have more credibility than just telling people, “hey we’re a band, we’re good,” it’s very different.
Have you been producing the music videos yourselves?
Nick: Yeah, we’ve had help but no third parties involved. We’re there for everything.
In regards to the merchandise side of things, I really did like the music book you guys put out. I thought that was cool and something that you don’t really see anybody else doing.
Josh: Aaron and I put that together. Aaron did all the graphic work on it which is a crazy undertaking too, it’s cool to do all that stuff in house but it would also be cool if all we had to focus on was the music. It would free us up so much.
I really liked the voice box effect you utilized at your Claiborne & Churchill show.
Josh: It definitely freaks people out. People were pretty scared, and I was doing it pretty intensely because I had it on an octave pedal. Now it feels a lot more intelligible.
Nick: (laughs) People were having nightmares about it. Now it’s more put together.
Thanks guys for meeting with me! Check out Próxima Parada on Instagram (proximaparada_music) and Facebook for updates on more of their shenanigans, or check out their music videos at