Honest Questions with We Demand Parachutes!

This past weekend, Alonna was able to secure a quick, email correspondence with the awesome dudes in “We Demand Parachutes”. After some technical difficulties, they all agreed on an email interview, and here are their answers!

1.) Introduction to your band (who you all are, roles in the band)

We Demand Parachutes is: Kevin McCord (Vocals, Guitar); Ben Shumaker (Drums); & Seth Richardson (Bass, Synth).

2.) How you guys became a band

In 2018, Kevin was deployed as a Green Beret in the US Army in Africa, Seth and Ben were both working in the music industry in live sound. Something in our lives all felt like it was missing. We had played music together as kids and when Kevin reached out with some initial demos and ideas, we all fell in love with the music and the idea of creating something as a group. We got together after the deployment and have been working on We Demand Parachutes ever since!

3.) In terms of your band name, how did you come with it? Does it have a significant meaning?

We kicked around name ideas for so long after we created this project, and nothing seemed to stick. We always joked that it was way easier to develop an entire song start to finish that a halfway decent name. It wasn’t until Kevin was away at training in the military in jump school that we were on a zoom call and kicking ideas around and Seth suggested “We Demand Parachutes.” Once we heard it, it stuck, it just felt like us.

4.) You guys just recently released Lost Her Mind what was the songwriting process like for that track? How long did it take to complete?

Lost Her Mind was actually one of the more difficult writing projects for us. The song has existed since 2016 and we never felt it was quite right. Only very recently did we decide to jump back in and do a comprehensive re-write.
We had a bit of a breakthrough when we decided it needed another contrasting view in the lyrics. Kevin re-wrote a second verse from the partner perspective. To translate that energy, we felt we needed a rockstar female presence. That half-melodic half-screaming vibe is so difficult to find but Seth happened to know Olivia and her dynamic range from some side projects he had produced with her in the past. We sent her the song to her to see if she was interested and she was pumped! Once we recorded her vocals, we immediately knew we were ready to finish the song!

5.) Can you give us the backstory on your new single?
In how many stories are you the villain? Lost Her Mind is our tongue-in-cheek take on relationships gone terribly wrong. “In Africa she hunted big game, and it’s insane!” We wanted to write a relationship song that was anthemic but also that was not so serious and took a new approach to a story told a million times. My decision was to start the song provocatively with the lyrics “I had a girl and she died…” and then explain “she couldn’t stand me and took a high dive.” We had a lot of fun with the song and hope it comes across very dramatically.
If you have not seen the video, it is a MUST-WATCH, we had a ton of fun filming Kevin being chased through the woods in Rhode Island! (link: https://youtu.be/COyT4G_vjlc)

6.) What is your current songwriting process like? Does it differ from the process from previously?

Our process has definitely evolved, we used to be very isolationist. Kevin or Seth would create a rough demo and send it to the group, and we would all fire ideas and revisions back and forth. For a long time, We Demand Parachutes existed in different states and countries, so we were forced to do things this way. Now we all live in the same general area, and we tend to still bring initial ideas from isolation but iron them out as a team. We have found working together, earlier in the process, while still in a very iterative way, has only improved our writing and cohesion.

7.) Individually, what was the turning point that made you decide you wanted to become a full-time musician?

We have all kind of had our own individual adventures in life and music has been that one constant that always called to us. We genuinely enjoy playing together and want to see how far we can take it. There’s nothing like the feeling of when we get together and play and just feel that connection with one another.

8.) How has the pandemic affected you as a band? Has it made you stronger, more inspired, or the same as you always were?

We had some really promising stuff on the calendar before COVID when the world was turned upside down and everything was put on hold, we felt defeated. We soon realized a lot of people had it a lot worse than we did and we grew motivated to pivot into working towards the new normal. It was after an extended quarantine, that we got together to write and created our song “Ketamine,” which we released mid-pandemic. (September, 2020)
To us “Ketamine” felt like a much-needed cathartic conversion. We changed the negativity and feeling bad for ourselves and pivoted towards working on where we wanted to be post-COVID. TO some degree our “addiction” is really music and this relentless pursuit of our dream, which is the inspiration for that song.

9.) Let’s talk a little bit about new music, if you can, can you tell us if you are working on anything new?

We are working on a series of new singles and videos as we speak! We hope to be releasing new stuff all summer long and start working on a larger project following that!

10.) If you could play any venue, anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why?

Webster Hall in NYC.

11.) If you could book your dream tour, with WE DEMAND PARACHUTES included, who would you also have on that tour?

HA! It would be a legendary line-up of us, Don Broco, The Killers and Blink-182!

12.) Do you think that the experiences of the past year had any impact on writing Lost Her Mind?

For us, our song “Ketamine” was strongly influenced by the pandemic and feeling defeated but working to pick yourself back up!
Lost Her Mind is more of a tune about a relationship gone horribly awry – though perhaps that relationship is 2020! It sure did try to kill us all!

13.) Do you think that your unique genre sets you apart from other bands who may have a similar sound? Who are some artists/bands that influenced this sound?

We really try to draw influences from a huge range of musical artists. Seth has toured as an engineer with a bunch of EDM and pop acts and those really inform his ear for synth-wave. Ben is a huge Dave Mathews Band fan. Kevin is a die-hard Don Broco fan and collectively we all love anything alternative and pop-punk. I think we do try to write in our own style but draw from all of our favorite influences and this causes a unique take on the genre. We are constantly trying to broaden our ears and our group chat is full of new artist and album recommendations.

14.) What track of yours means a lot to you? Why?

Upstate is a track that carries very special significance to us because it’s about a friend we had, we ended up falling out of touch with. The difficult thing about friendship and growing up is that too often, people tend to drift apart and take separate paths. The song is both a reflection on the great times but also a reminder that the true constant in life is change. Nostalgia can be such a visceral emotion.

15.) What can we expect from you guys in the future once life returns to normal?
I.E.- shows, tours, music, etc.

You will see a bunch of new music, gigs with some other great bands (we are announcing very soon) and a whole lot of fun content on social media and YouTube!
Stay tuned to WDP by following us on social media, Spotify and YouTube! Cheers!!!

– We Demand Parachutes


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