We got to talk to the lovely Parker Armstrong of the upcoming band Conspire about their latest album ‘The Scenic Route‘, the doubts that come with music and getting that fateful message from InVogue Records.
So you have just released your new album ‘The Scenic Route’. Are you finally excited that the album is out there?
Absolutely. We recorded these songs almost two years ago so it feels great to be able to share them with others. I had listened to them enough times to grow sick of them. Receiving feedback has definitely given a bit new life to these songs and has made me eager to continue performing them live.
What song off that record would you say encapsulates the message of what Conspire is all about?
That’s a tough one, there are a few that I’d like to choose from. Personally, I believe “Row” and “Congruency” give the listener a solid idea of what we’re about. Throughout the album there are a number of ideologies being tossed around. Amidst the unrest it’s possible to completely miss a resolve, or the need for one. Songs like “Row” are there to remind us that any hope of redemption starts with mending relationships regardless of opposition.
Your first music video was for the track ‘1971’. What is the song about and who came up with the style for the video?
That video was a lot of fun. We actually shot it at a brewery in Florida called 81Bay. A friend of mine, Sebastian Coolidge, had created the artwork on the walls behind us. I felt it was a very fitting setting for the track. David Borges filmed and edited it all himself, somehow. We didn’t give him much to work with. We had a small window of time to film, we’re not experienced in front of the camera, and also had a couple of equipment issues that made filming a bit more complicated. But somehow David was able to make something beautiful out of next to nothing. Very stoked on how it turned out, as we were hoping for this to be more of a simple play through to introduce Conspire. Next one will certainly be more along a storyline.
When or where you were born never justifies the carrying on of hate for the sake of traditional values. ‘1971’ suggest that we learn from the mistakes of our past and put to rest a cycle of bigotry. The title itself is the year in which Liberty University was founded. All throughout the song you’ll hear reference to my experience attending this institution.
What was it like getting the call/message from InVogue Records saying that they wanted you to be a part of their label?
I was thrilled to hear that InVogue had expressed interest in us. I recall eating Thai food when I received word via text from our manager, Daniel DeFonce. That night we met as a band to discuss our options. After spending an hour or two on the phone with Nick Moore (IVR Owner), I knew this was the proper fit for ‘The Scenic Route’ to be released.
You recently toured with Everyone Dies In Utah, what was that whole experience like?
It meant a lot for EDIU to give a new band a shot on their CD release tour. Overall that was a really fun tour that provided an opportunity for us to get our feet wet a bit. However, meeting up with the tour was quite the ordeal. A hurricane was rolling through at the time, so our hometown tour kick-off show in Tampa, along with Orlando got cancelled last minute. On top of that I contracted a rare viral disease that was passing around Florida. In case you’re unaware, a lot of strange things happen in Florida. Due to the illness being highly contagious we had to miss the first half of the tour. But we definitely made the most of it and hit the road as soon as possible!
What was the most enjoyable part of that tour for you?
Oh man, I don’t know. I really enjoyed getting to know the other bands on a personal level. Each from a different part of the country, with a unique sound that sets them apart. Convictions, and Glass Houses were the other bands. They’ve both got so much energy live, being a part of that each night was something special. We capped off the tour with a visit to Dallas, TX at So What?! Music Festival. I’ll never forget playing the Tree’s stage as we opened up for Citizen. A whole lot of people were there, it was awesome getting to make a lot of new friends and run around catching sets from an outrageous line-up.
So what got you into music and made you want to be in a band?
I’ve always had a slight interest about being in a band. I believe that got stirred in my brain as I was captivated by Elvis Presley and his chilling stage presence. I don’t emulate an ounce of that, but still admire from afar. Aside from playing (I wouldn’t call it playing, as I was god awful) clarinet in the middle school band, I had owned an acoustic guitar and knew a few chords. But I had nothing worthwhile to sing about, though I’d pretend to know a thing or two about love and write some embarrassing material. It wasn’t until I was 22 years of age that I realized I wanted to pursue music as I felt I had somewhat of a story to tell. I was in college at that point where I had recently met our guitarist, Ryan. One night we drove a few hours to see For Today, Impending Doom, Hundredth and a couple of other acts at a show the next state over. That night allowed me to rediscover my appreciation for heavy music, and years later led to the start of Conspire, as Ryan and I moved back to our hometown and began writing music with friends.
Have you ever had any doubts about continuing with the project and if so, what made you overcome?
As I stated earlier, we’d been sitting on this record for quite some time. There were some hiccups on the recording side of things as some personnel we worked with turned out to be less than reliable in the end. We thought we’d never see the end of it. But the whole time our phenomenal producer Ricky Armellino assured us that things would get situated and we’d have an album that we were happy with. He was right. And the unanticipated time it took turned out to be a blessing for me as I was able to focus on my health. Sitting around drinking and waiting for the album, I had gained a stupid amount of weight. I didn’t have much confidence to push on with the project. But instead of calling it quits, I decided to see things through to it’s full potential. Got back in shape, physically and mentally and didn’t look back.
What advice would you give to fans who are in a band and are going through those same doubts?
I’m not the most experienced guy to give that sort of advice. But from our own trials as a band, all I can say is that patience is a friend. In an industry that’s heavily reliant on constant use of social media, I imagine it’s easy to get discouraged if you’re sitting idle for a bit. But as long as that time is used crafting quality music, or making sure everyone’s personal life is in check, it’s worth it.
What are the plans for Conspire in 2017?
We’re currently figuring that out. Definitely another U.S. tour and Music Video in the Spring. I don’t have any reservation with where Conspire goes. As long as we’re playing shows and building a compassionate community, I’m happy. Just along for the ride, hopefully a stop in the UK is included 🙂
Any final words to your fans?
Thanks for taking a chance on new music. I really appreciate you taking the time to listen, and read if you’ve gotten to this point in the interview. My final words are interwoven somewhere in the lyrics. But to summarize, as individuals we’ve got a whole lot of power. We can’t control everything in this world, but we can control how we perceive it. May we not lose sight of reconciliation. Erase fear and make exploitation a way of the past. Let’s build something beautiful!