Parachute to perform at Wooly’s

Jon McLaughlin will open for Parachute at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Wooly’s in Des Moines. 

Andi Schieszler

Parachute will perform an all-ages show at 7:30 p.m. April 8 at Wooly’s in Des Moines. Jon McLaughlin and Brynn Elliott will support Parachute on this tour.

Tickets for the show are still available at $19 and can be purchased through ticketfly.

Formed 10 years ago, pop-rock band Parachute is embarking on their largest tour to date after the release of their most recent record “Wide Awake.” “Wide Awake” is the fourth full-length album that Parachute has released since they formed in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“This is probably one of the largest headlining tours we’ve ever done, probably seven or seven and a half weeks,” said Kit French, keyboardist, saxophonist and one of the vocalists of Parachute. “It’s weird because it’s something we’ve never done before in terms of size and production.”

Supporting Parachute on the “Wide Awake” tour are Jon McLaughlin and Brynn Elliott.

Born in Anderson, Indiana pop-rock songwriter Jon McLaughlin released his debut EP, “Industry,” in 2007. Since then he has released seven more EPs and studio albums, with his most recent “Like Us” in 2015.

Indie-pop artist Brynn Elliott started to first release music in 2012 after the death of a loved one. Performing for her was an outlet and she released a few singles prior to the release of her album “Notions of Love.” While she is performing she is also attending Harvard as a philosophy and literature student.

French said that the actual stage production of this tour is something that is meant to match the sound and tone of “Wide Awake.” He said that they wanted to make something that the band was truly proud of, especially because the album took around three years to release.

“[Delays] always happens when you don’t want [them] to. We’ve had a couple different changes. We actually switched labels, which is a good change. We switched to Vanguard, which is a record label based out here in Santa Monica, and they’ve been so good to us and they’ve given us a lot more creative control and let us do the things we want to do and the things we know our band can do,” French said.

On top of the fact that Parachute did switch record labels they also had a change in members. Two of the original members of Parachute decided to leave the band, which left the remaining members to redefine their sound.

French said that they did leave on good terms and decided to just remain as a three-piece band because it meant that it was easier to write when you have less people contributing to a sound because there is more of a stable direction to go in.

During tours Parachute will travel with touring members rather than having backing tracks.

“We’ve always since the very next show without those guys. We hired friends from Nashville to put as touring members. We’re still having people on stage, in fact there may be even more people on this tour on certain days. We really love getting as many people on stage as possible. We’re definitely five at the bare minimum to see live,” French said.

One of the major differences about this tour than in the past is that Parachute has a “bigger and bolder sound” than in the past and that the band was a lot more focused when writing “Wide Awake” than any other EP or studio album in the past, French said.

Now that the band has matured French thinks the members of the band can deliver a more powerful performance than they would have been able to eight years ago when they were driving around in a van.

He said one of the biggest surprises about being in a touring band is how close you get with the members of your band. After starting Parachute as friends, touring in vans and living in incredibly close quarters, French said you learn what you need to bring to the tablet to make sure that the band lasts and that everyone can work together as a unit.

“When you picture yourself, you have this most incredible experience. You travel around the country and you get to see al these beautiful places and get to be with your friends, [so] it’s the best possible scenario,” French said.

French said one of the biggest misconceptions about being a touring musician is that their life is glamorous. He said a lot of the touring musician life is figuring out whether to pass time by reading or just playing around on their phones.

While Parachute has grown as a band, French said that all the members of the band have matured and are a lot more honest during the writing process about what they think will work and what they know will not.

“I think bands always need to evolve their sounds to avoid going stagnant. I think that’s just a natural aspect of a band,” French said.

French said that most of the songs from “Wide Awake” received a highly positive response from fans, and he cannot wait to perform them live. One of the songs he is looking forward to playing most is the closing track, “Waking Up.”He likes that it is more of a pop-rock song to play rather than a singer-songwriter close out.

“I don’t think we dread playing any song because when we set the [set list] we always change it up,” French said.

In choosing a setlist, French said the band looks at their more popular, older songs such as “She is Lov”e and decide if it’s worth it to play to make sure that both the members of Parachute and fans get an interesting and different show.

French said that fans can expect to hear songs off of all four albums. They are putting more of a focus on “Wide Awake” because it is their newest album and the name of the tour, and they are planning on playing for about an hour and a half.

During the writing process, Parachute did the recording north of Los Angeles in a very flat area. Will Anderson, the lead vocalist of Parachute, sent out a tweet about wanting to ride roller skates down some of the hills where they were recording.

Randomly Parachute received a package full of roller blades.

“Immediately we decided we were like, alright we’re done for the day and were unpacking the roller blades in the streets. We had some rollerblading sessions for sure during this recording. Luckily no one got hurt, [but] I think it was a bad idea in hindsight,” French said.

Regardless of some of the joking around French does think that the band has been incredibly successful, but he does not think that they have made it yet as a band. They want to keep reaching more ears, recording more and gaining more fans.

“I think whenever you turn around and say you’ve made it, it’s just a bad perspective. I feel like you just need to keep your head down and keep working because it can go just as fast as it comes,” French said.

Regardless of not thinking that Parachute has made it as a band they have survived in the music industry for over 10 years. French credits Parachute’s ability to survive in the music industry for over 10 years to their amazing fan base. Social media and concerts help connect with fans beyond just recording music as well, he said.

“It’s really important to just stay relevant and stay out there and keep playing, and I think that’s really helped us in our career,” French said.

For more information on the show visit the Wooly’s website.