POZ Interview: Park

by Zack Zarrillo - Jul 2, 2013


Park are back, writing a novel, and recording an album based directly off of it. PropertyOfZack is super excited about the news, so we thought it’d be a great idea to interview frontman Ladd Mitchell to get details behind the reunion, his novel, an EP and LP, the future, and much more. Check out a great new interview below!

Park has been dead for several years, which led you to Tiger Tank. When exactly did this reunion start to take shape?
December of last year. Actually, at my wedding. For months prior, I had asked Miles to practice or to get the band back together. I think he thought I was joking. Finally, we were at a bar after my wedding and I said, “Lets just do it.” When we practiced, it was like we had never stopped playing. I thought it was going to be a shit show. We had practiced here and there for reunion shows, but it had probably been two years since I played any Park songs. We had a lot of fun, then sat down after practice and decided we wanted to do it. I told them ideas I had for future plans, and they wanted to do it.

Even though you’ve done reunion shows, deciding to make the band active again must have been a thought out decision. 
I think we all had that connection, and that we were all curious to see what everyone else thought. It was one of those situations where I think everyone was thinking the same thing, but we were all too scared to say it. And then we eventually all said we wanted to do it. Three years again, Alex, Miles, and I talked about being a band again but it didn’t go anywhere. Life happened. Alex had a kid, I had a kid, and it just wasn’t feasible. That was short lived and we never told anyone about it. This time around, it’s been a whole different thing.

Tiger Tank happened last year. Did you envision that being a one and done project, or did it just go that way?
I actually wanted Tiger Tank to do the project that Park is now going to do. I kind of thought to myself that I was pretending to be my old band. I didn’t like that, which is one of the main reasons I spoke to Miles about my plan. Tiger Tank is still a band. I think the direction we’ll go is the complete opposite of Park. We were never really a touring band. It was really fun recording with Beau Burchell in California. The Kickstarter experience was invaluable too. I learned a lot of things not to do when we do a Kickstarter with Park.

I was listening to Tiger Tank today, and there was definitely a moment where I felt it was just Park 2.0.
Those songs were all really, really rough demos of future Park songs. I didn’t say I was going to try to be different. I think people make projects so different that it shoves away the fan base. I thought I should stick to what I was good at doing, which is why it came out that way.

There was a pretty large amount of excitement for the reunion news. Was that a nice feeling?
It was really great. We just played a show here in Springfield at a festival, and I wasn’t expecting anything. I have nothing to do with promotion for the band because it’s not my thing. Before we played, I didn’t understand why there were 400 people in the street watching us. There were people with these weird webcam stick things so they could video us over the crowd too. I felt really, really bad after because we were on a small stage and everyone left for the band after. I’ve been in that position so many times, so I stayed to watch them played. It was a really good feeling though. We never got a huge response when we were a touring band.
POZ: It’s funny how that happens.
Ladd: It happens all the time.

At this point, we know that you have a book in the works that the album will be based off of, right?
I’ve always been really intrigued by concept albums. In modern times, I feel like that’s a lost thing. Some bands try to touch on it, but they just touch on the concept part and then it loses form. The concept gets lost because it’s only conceptual to the artist. Which makes sense, because sometimes I’ll write a song about something, but someone else misinterprets it. When you write an actual concept album, I think you need to actually have a real story that revolves around it, and I think a lot of bands fall short of it because they’re trying to write the story around the music. I’m writing a novel, and we’re writing the songs around the chapters so that it doesn’t lose its meaning or momentum. I want to do things big, or not at all.

Is this novel written yet?
Everything is completely outlined, which has taken me about a year. I have the prologue finished and several bits and pieces of some of the chapters. Writing a novel is very different from songs. I’m learning that I’m not super good at it, so I’m going slow. I’m probably not as bad at it as I think I am. Getting everything outlined with characters planned has really, really helped. It’s going to be a bit of a process getting the whole album finished. We broke off the prologue into an EP, which is what we’re working on now. 

Have you ever written anything other than music before?
I’ve written short stories, but never a novel with the scope of several plots and themes wired into it. The outline has been re-written about four or five times.

Are you willing to share any of the plot?
We’re going to wait a little while longer. It’s a simple story with twists and turns, but we want to wait a little bit longer to get people more enthused. 

You’re turning a concept from a book into an album. Does the band have any input on the story?
The story is all me. I gave them a rough summary of the story, and they were all into it. We’ve started demoing, and I think the only issue we’re going to run into is song order. In the situation we’re in, we have to go by chapters so you can’t skip song orders around. If there are concerns with that, which I’m sure there will be, we’ll have to rewrite some stuff. It’s not going to be a flawless process. It’s been a real good experience so far. 

What’s the band’s timeline for each release?
The prologue itself is pretty much finished. We’re going to try to make an EP out of it and have it recorded by the end of summer. We don’t really have a strict timeframe on it. In terms of the actual album, I’d like to have something out by the middle of next year.

Is this EP going to be self-funded?
We don’t know at this point. It’s looking like it’ll be self-funded. We’ve spoken to a few labels and we’re waiting to hear back. I think we have the means to do it ourselves, which would probably be more beneficial to us.
POZ: Did you say record by the end of summer, or release by the end of summer?
Ladd: Record by the end of the summer, and probably get something out in late-September or some point in the fall. The demos I’ve been writing have been going really quick. Hopefully we can do it as soon as possible, but we don’t want it to suck.

Concept albums are hard. Bands that release albums either see praise or hate. Are there nerves going into it on your behalf?
I don’t think we’re going to run into that problem. I’m going to market the books as well, so you can buy the book along with the album. When I was a kid, they sold vinyl records of Gremlin, and it came in four parts. You’d listen to the record and read along with the books. That’s kind of the idea. You can understand the references, because lyrics from the songs will be taken from the chapters. It won’t be a thing where some certain bands write concept albums that it’s impossible to connect. Both releases are between a concept album and a musical, a musical in the sense that there are characters and themes - but it’ll all be Park. It’s going to be a motherfucker to do, but hopefully we can do it correctly.

Assuming your timeline goes the way you want it to, do you envision the band playing shows this fall?
We all have our own careers and all of us have children except for Miles. We’ve all set out an amazing amount of time to do this though. We all live in different areas except Miles because we practice at his house. It’s a challenge, but we make a day out of practicing when we do. We’ve got a ten year anniversary coming up in mid-August, and we have a few other shows in the works as well. The scope of the project is so enormous that we probably won’t play much before then. When the album comes out, we’ll play as much as possible without truly touring. 

Is this a one time project for Park, or will the band continue on?
I can see us putting out an album after this one. There’s no reason why we wouldn’t. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, but we all have great fun together. We screw around a whole lot and don’t get a lot done sometimes because we’re just happy to be around one another. I wouldn’t doubt having another album out after this one.

Park left on a high note musically, which continued on with Tiger Tank. Should we expect the classic Park sound?
I think so. But there’s going to be an edge to it. The stuff I’ve been working on has been a little bit more powerful. I grew up on Metallica and Megadeath, and I’ve been really heavily influenced on how they structure their music.

I’d expect there will be a lot more information soon.
We’re trying to figure out how to market the information. The story is a lot to take in, which is why we’re breaking off the prologue. 

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