Creation Stories: PARKWILD

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New pop duo PARKWILD are excited to release their debut single, “Too Late,” out today!

PARKWILD is made up of Austin Zudeck and Justin Thunstrom who have been working together as a songwriting and production duo since meeting in 2011 through The GRAMMY Foundation’s GRAMMY Camp. After collaborating for years long distance, Justin made the move from his hometown in Minnesota to work full-time with Austin in New York City.

For as long as they have been working together, they have been carefully curating a sound of their own and are finally ready to introduce their personal artist project, PARKWILD, to the world.

We caught up with Justin and Austin to talk about how they formed, their inspirations, and what’s next. Check it out below.

How did the duo come together?

We met at Grammy Camp LA in 2011. Soon after the camp had ended, we stayed in touch and worked on projects long-distance since one of us lived in Minnesota and the other in New Jersey. After a couple years of collaborating and becoming great friends through facebook, email and Skype, we decided to work together in person for a week in Minnesota. The week was very successful as we ended up writing and producing five songs in five days, which confirmed how good of a team we were. Eventually, after multiple writing trips back and forth, I [Justin] moved to NYC and we’ve been working non-stop since. Since I [Justin] moved we’ve been working daily, writing and producing for both PARKWILD and other artists.

Who or what has inspired your sound and debut track, “Too Late?”

Our sound is a combination of our musical tastes and experience as well as our biggest inspirations. We feel that our sound falls somewhere in between OneRepublic and Imagine Dragons. Too Late was originally written in a session for another artist but it felt too real for us and now it’s the debut single.

Is there a story behind your band name?

During the process of trying to figure out our name, we struggled for weeks to find something that we felt really captured the essence of who we are, and what our music is. Finally I [Austin] was so fed up with coming up empty, so on a drive back to my girlfriends hometown I got Justin on speaker phone and decided that we were going to figure this out, and that we were not hanging up until we’ve got the name. After throwing out names for nearly an hour and coming up empty, or having them being taken, I was so frustrated that I read off the next highway sign for “Dorney Park Wild Water”, and put the words together PARK-WILD as a joke. Then there was some silence on Justin’s end and we both realized that was a pretty cool and fitting name. After a google search and some scouring of the internet, we found that it wasn’t taken and so PARKWILD it was.

What is your favorite show memory?

Justin and I experimented with an artist project back in 2014, well before PARKWILD was a concept. We ended up going on a tour of summer camps all around the country, and we brought along a rap artist friend of ours Jake Bugella aka Cubb. On the first show of the tour, midway through our set, a bunch of our gear malfunctioned. In the moment, we grabbed an acoustic guitar and just had Jake start freestyling. It ended up being one of the worst scenarios turned into such a unique and enjoyable moment.

What would be your dream tour and why?

We would love to one day have our our own arena headlining tour. However, we would absolutely have a blast as an opening act, and we would love to open for One Republic or Imagine Dragons. Both Ryan Tedder and Dan Reynolds are such prolific writers and the bands themselves are fantastic, that it would be such an amazing atmosphere to be in.

Tell us about your writing process; any unusual quirks?

Despite the process being significantly different every time, we generally will write and produce songs at the same time. As the chords inspire the melody, the lyric will inspire the mood and different sounds in the production and it just evolves from there. The lyric, melody, and production build off of each other in a way that’s hard to explain and before we know it, the song is done. Sometimes when we get stuck in the middle of the process we will get out of the room and play ping pong or throw a football until one of us suddenly gets an idea for the song without even thinking about it. Sometimes the best remedy for a creative block, is getting distracted.

What’s your favorite song to cover?

For a while we were doing a super fun rendition of “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry in her original key. It was always unexpected to say the least.

If you were to create a “soundtrack to your life,” what songs would be on it?

The soundtrack to our lives would have to be all of the songs we’ve had the privilege of being involved in as both artists, and writer/producers. Every song that we have created either comes from a situation or emotion that we have personally experienced or can relate to and so it’s only fitting that it kind of tells the story of our lives.

Would you like to add anything else?

We could not be more excited for “Too Late” to finally be out (out today!), and more music will be coming in March with our second single “We’ll Never Change.”

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