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Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall on How ‘Music Transcends Language’

"A song can articulate emotion and thought and passion in ways that [words] can't," says singer
CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 03: Winston McCall of Parkway Drive performs on stage at Cardiff International Arena on October 03, 2022 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns)

Winston McCall, singer of metalcore band Parkway Drive, grew up listening to a lot of Bob Marley. But it wasn’t until years later that he fully absorbed the “message and context”—the “desire for social change and revolution.”

“Music transcends language, in terms of breaking down barriers and forming human connection,” McCall tells SPIN backstage at Louder Than Life. “It goes so much deeper and so much further than simple words. A song can articulate emotion and thought and passion in ways that [words] can’t. It’s very, very simple. I think that’s why it’s so powerful and empowering.”

The vocalist’s connection to music is primal. “I haven’t studied music—I can’t read it,” he says. “In terms of writing music, I know what I like to hear, and that’s kind of the only thing I care about: passion. I care about the idea of it being an outlet. And for me, it’s a constant outlet for my worldview and my experience.”

McCall says he never wants to put up intellectual barriers with his music, instead allowing fans to make their own interpretations.

“The deeper you go down, the more there is to either interpret or uncover in what we do,” he notes. “And I’m constantly blown away by the fact that emotions I’ve had have been able to translate in what we do to our fanbase—but also the meaning that they’ve been able to take out of songs in a way that I didn’t necessarily intend.”