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LOCAL SPOTLIGHT: Q&A with The Parachute Brigade

Article by: Miranda Woody Photos courtesy of Annette McNamara The Parachute Brigade, a southern West Virginia band made up of members Eric Robbins (Vocals/Guitar), Jodie Cox-Puett (Vocals/Bass), Justin Puett (Guitar/Piano/Vocals), Brittany McGuire (Vocals/Piano/Etc.), and Timothy Basham (Drums/Vocals) are releasing their very first EP in the next few months after recording for the first time in Nashville, Tennessee. East Coast Live got the chance to speak with the band before their big release and ask the important questions. Check it out below:

Q.) Let’s start with the basics. When were you guys formed? How?

A.) Robbins: We formed in 2013. It started with me and Justin. We were in separate bands but we started hanging out and jammin’. When Boston Beanery was open in the Crossroads Mall in Beckley, Justin and I put on a little set there. Brittany was there that night, so was Jodie. The four of us started singing and doing a lot of covers after that, kind of like choir class, honestly. We just played music together and eventually it went somewhere; we started doing weddings, covering more songs, and later on we added Tim, our drummer. We all knew Tim so we wanted him to join, for sure. So we did covers for a long time, and had like one original song until recently. Lately we’ve been writing all original material. It’s pretty new for us.

Q.) Awesome! What inspired the name? Why The Parachute Brigade?

A.) Robbins: We were always The Parachute Brigade, from the beginning. We all have similar mindsets and things, so we started throwing out ideas. We were sitting in a pub (Sir Walter’s Tavern in Beckley, WV) and we started tossing around that name, “The Parachute Brigade”. It matched our aesthetic, our “vibe”, if you will. A “parachute” is literally something that catches your fall, that slows you down, and we liked that image. It fits our sound and our purpose well.

Q.) That makes sense. So, I saw you guys cover R. Kelly at a show once. Who is your favorite R&B performer and why?

A.) Cox-Puett: TLC has a special place in my heart. The “Crazy. Sexy. Cool.” album is my favorite. I would jam out to it on my Walkman while hiding under my bed because my parents didn’t like the word “sexy” being spoken in their house— much less on a cassette tape their daughter was listening to! Puett: Boyz 2 Men, their harmony is just perfect. It inspires me to sing harmony and experiment more with that sound. Robbins: None of us would really consider R. Kelly our “favorite”; we really just picked “Ignition” by R. Kelly because it’s so much fun. It’s such an iconic song!

Q.) Pretty cool. But seriously, who do you all cite as your biggest musical inspiration? Why?

A.) Robbins: One is definitely a band called The Head and The Heart. The way they incorporate harmony and folk influence along with modern rock sounds and textures is something we’re really inspired by. Cox-Puett: The Lone Bellow are one of my favorites right now, too. Puett: Manchester Orchestra for sure if you ask me. They’re my favorite band of all time. I love everything they do— their vocal style, guitar style, lyrics, everything.

Q.) Does everyone in the band share the same taste, or would you say you’re all pretty different? A melding of conflicting influences or like-minded ideas?

A.) McGuire: There’s definitely a melding of influences! I did jazz, blue grass, folk, all that before joining this band. I was definitely into rock and alternative; especially classic rock! As far as performance goes, though, that sound was new to me. The first few performances took a lot of close listening and working on blending with the group. After a while, though, it all worked out and things fell into place; it all felt pretty natural.

Q.) You all definitely seem like it comes to you naturally when you’re performing on stage. You recently recorded your first EP in Nashville, correct? What was that like?

A.) Puett: Well, Nashville is in Tennessee! (Everyone laughs, and Robbins interjects). Robbins: Fact. Anyway, we haven’t really decided on the title yet, and some of the songs are also still

under working titles. The common theme surrounding the record, though, is basically trying to figure things out. Like, how do you deal with things in life? How do you deal with loss, doubt, and radical changes in your life? How do you deal with depression? It’s about life’s growing pains, really. Some of the songs are positive, but it’s only five songs. It’s an EP, so like a third of the songs are really happy and more optimistic. It does have that running theme of emotional growth and sorrow, though, for sure. Cox-Puett: It’s like life. You know?

Q.) Have you had any other releases prior to this one?

A.) McGuire: This is our first professional recording of an EP, we’re really getting things going. We recorded a single a few years ago but up until now we hadn’t recorded in an actual studio or anything.

Q.) How was the recording process in Nashville? Any late-night writing sessions?

A.) McGuire: All of the songs were already written by the time we got to the studio. Robbins: We only had four days there, so we had to get it done.

Q.) When will the EP be released and where can your fans listen to it?

A.) Robbins: Most likely mid-fall at this point. Check our website, Instagram, Facebook, and all that for updates. It will be available wherever music is available in both physical and digital renderings.

Q.) Is there anything else you all want to add? Maybe that I didn’t ask, or that you really feel deeply about?

A.) Robbins: Well, I’d just like to tell everyone to look out for more community shows in West Virginia, mostly here in Beckley, our home. People can be on the look out for pop-up shows at various local venues coming up soon. Also, one of the main things that fans should know about us, well, one of the lyrics that really sticks out in my head, is this: “everybody’s mining their coal; I wonder what it’d be like if we just struck gold”. It really resonates with us right now. We still do covers and we love that, but it’s time for us to reach out and go for more as a band. Also, it resonates with West Virginia as a whole right now, and we feel very strongly about that.

The Parachute Brigade can be contacted and streamed online via any of their social media accounts or their official website.

Instagram - @theparachutebrigade Contact - theparachutebrigade@gmail.com

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