PARK RD's Idyllic Surf Rock Is Very Necessary Right Now [Q&A]

When we meet Park RD ahead of their set at Auckland's Ones to Watch showcase, lead singer Tom has his arm in a cast. "Skating accident," he says of the injury. It's hardly surprising - the band is made up of five very chill young guys who grew up around the beaches of West Auckland, surfing and skating the sunny days away.

Their music sounds equally idyllic. It's a bit surf rock, a little indie pop, all good vibes. Their debut EP Sandcastles, released early 2020, is stacked with jangly guitars, clean harmonies and pacey drum lines. It's the kind of music you can imagine bopping about to in the crowd of a sweaty festival, which is just as well, as they've no doubt got a few on the horizon this New Zealand summer.

The five members met at high school, reshuffling roles until they settled on Tom as lead singer, Leo on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Angus on rhythm guitar and lead guitar, Carlos on bass and TK on drums. We caught up with four fifths of the band ahead of their set for a quick chat about their influences, music bucket lists and wanting Harry Styles on speed dial.

Ones to Watch: How and why did you guys get started?

Park RD: Tom: We all went to the same high school and were all pretty good friends, so we ended up getting together. Carlos was the last member, he was just there after school one day and we were like, 'Oh you play bass, right?' And the rest is history.

Was it hard figuring out who was going to take what role in the band?

Tom: Originally, we did have Leo playing the bass, and also the drums. So, we'd play a song then TK and Leo would switch around, and Carlos would hop off stage for a song, but we've all kind of gotten into our roles now.

How would you describe your music to someone who's never heard it?

Carlos: I'd probably describe it as somewhere between alternative rock and indie pop. It gets a bit funky in between, but that's sort of how I'd describe it.

What are your biggest influences?

Tom: We've all got different influences. I've got quite a big pop influence, whereas Angus is more classic rock. We kind of come together and it just happens.

What's a band you look to and are like, that's the kind of career I want?

Tom: I really like Lime Cordial.

Leo: Bands like Drax Project are doing some pretty cool stuff right now.

Who would you collaborate with?

Angus: Benee would be a pretty sick collab.

What are some things on your music bucket list?

Tom: We definitely want to play a whole bunch of festivals and go to Australia at some point.

You were meant to go there pre-Covid, right?

Tom: Yeah, it was kind of in the plans, but it might be off for a little bit. And then a world tour would be super cool.

What're you guys like on the road? Partiers or pretty chill?

Tom: In between.

Leo: We haven't really gone on the road much.

Carlos: I feel like it'd be a mix of both. Sort of like, one day partying, one day off.

Who do you think would be the messiest?

All: TK.

Who do you think would be the worst on a hangover?

All: TK

Are you just saying that because he's not here?

[Laughs] Yep.

What music have you got coming up?

Leo: We've got a new single out, "Golden." We recorded it ages ago but then Covid happened, so it's finally out.

What would you say your biggest successes to date are?

Leo: Selling out the Tuning Fork was pretty cool, just after the first lockdown. And we've got a pretty good number of streams on Spotify.

Ok, so this is a variation on Kiss/Marry/Kill but you have to choose who you'd Tour/Jam/Record with, out of The Beach Boys, One Direction and The Cure.

Angus: I reckon it'd be pretty awesome to record something with One Direction.

Carlos: I'd want to jam with The Cure, I love The Cure.

Leo: But I'd also want to tour with One Direction, because of the fan base.

That's strategy.

Leo: So, I'd say tour with One Direction, jam with The Cure, record with The Beach Boys.

Carlos: Yeah, I'm good with that.

If you could have anyone on speed dial, who would it be and why?

Carlos: I'd probably have Max Martin on speed dial, I'd like to know how he writes so many super successful songs.

Leo: Pharrell. If I'm ever in need of production help.

Tom: Harry Styles.


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