From first glance, Kael Higbee, Noah Patterson, Kendall Jamison, and Lance Devitt may seem like any other group of high school buddies looking forward to spending the summer hanging out and enjoying free time. And while the boys enjoy hours of Call of Duty as much as the next guy, any free time may be easier said than done with a summer packed full of festivals they’re performing at and further work on an upcoming EP release.
Parkway Avenue was formed when group members Noah and Kael were only 14, and it only took them a year to throw in Lance on drums and make the transition from singing covers to writing their own material. Fast forward to today, the guys are only in high school and have already added a second guitarist, Kendall, put out music videos, and are just coming off a successful set of shows. A recent show this past March was at Utah’s very own Velour Music Gallery in Provo, a venue that has been attributed to starting the careers of numerous local bands including Neon Trees and Imagine Dragons in the beginning if their respective careers.
The guys are finding themselves ahead of bands twice their age who have been in the game longer, but they’re anything but intimidated by the industry or their imminent success. They have their sights set on bigger venues and are continuously pumping out song after song.
Their talent is undeniable, and the band’s rising star goes without question, but at the root of it they’re a bunch of buddies who enjoy making music together, and the fans and listeners are simply the cherry on top.
Make sure to keep an eye out this summer for Parkway Avenue upcoming performances and impending EP release.
Scorpius: How did you all meet originally?
Noah: Well Kael and I have been friends since kindergarten-
Kael: (laughs)I used to bully him.
Noah: So we started hanging out around 5th grade and just played Rock Band all the time, and that’s actually how we discovered we loved music. In 7th grade, Kale decided to learn to play the bass and got a bass guitar, so I went and got an electric guitar, and we learned together
Lance: Then I showed up.
Noah: Yep in 8th grade, we met Lance, who was super weird. I didn’t like him at first (laughs) but we had a promise between him and another friend that whoever got a drum set first could be in the band, and he got one first.
Lance: A little $50 piece off of KSL
Scorpius: So, it’s just you three in the beginning, what kind of music you were initially playing?
Noah: 8th grade was just Smells Like Teen Spirit, we didn’t learn any other songs. Maybe a couple Green Day songs in there too. By 9th grade, we started writing our own songs.
Kael: Ya we started to really crank it out
Noah: When we discovered we could write our own songs, that was a big turning point. That was fun.
Scorpius: How was the transition from three of you to four?
Noah: We’d only been a three-person band for a long time, but playing live we wanted that second guitarist just to add that flavor.
Scorpius: For sure, a different sound
Noah: Exactly, So we found Kendall on Instagram maybe a month ago, so he’s just getting a feel for it.
Kendall: Ya I’ve been playing guitar for about 3 ½ years.
Scorpius: Has incorporating a new member affected the dynamic at all?
Noah: No actually it’s felt pretty smooth, a lot smoother than I thought it would.
Kendall: I think with another guitarist it helped it all flow a lot better.
Scorpius: So, where’d the name Parkway Avenue come from?
Noah: We were originally called Deer Crossing, something that was suggested and I thought would be funny. That was more of our cover band name though. Once we started writing our own stuff, we would practice at Lance’s house which is right next to a park on the road called “Parkway”, and then we moved practice to my mom’s garage which is on an “Avenue”. So, we just put them together.
Scorpius: It’s got a ring to it.
Scorpius: Describe your sound to someone who’s never heard you guys before.
Noah: Indie Rock
Kael: Ya alternative is what I’d say
Scorpius: Who’s writing the songs?
Noah: Everyone plays a part. Typically, I’ll come up with a riff and then we’ll build the song together off of it. So, we usually start with guitar or Kale with a bass line or Lance with a drumbeat and then build off of it together.
Kael: Lyrics and writing is mostly Noah and I who have worked together on a couple songs.
Scorpius: Who are your musical influences?
Noah: A big band for me was The Killers back to maybe 1st grade when their song Human came out.
Lance: One of my biggest would be The Who, I really like Keith Moon. He’s just a crazy drummer, and Dave Grohl.
Kael: For me, what really got me into music was the Alice In Chains and the Soundgarden. All that 90s grunge. How they started out in music was a very big influence on me.
Kendall: As strange as it is I would say Coldplay, I mean their older songs have been around my whole life.
Scorpius: Wide range there for sure, that’s a pretty eclectic music taste.
Noah: Ya I would say another band that if they didn’t exist, I wouldn’t play guitar would be Blink 182. The guys know that for a year I just wanted to cover all of their stuff
Kael: (laughs) Just out of nowhere he was like, “We gotta learn all of these” and we did
Scorpius: Any songs you really love, songs you’d wish you’d written yourselves?
Band in Unison: All the time, always
Noah: Every time a song comes on, I think I wish it were mine. The biggest one for me, the Killer’s song, Mr. Brightside, it’s incredible. It’s just one of those decade defining songs.
Kendall: Mine would be 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins because Billy Corgan was able to make people feel nostalgic who weren’t even born in that era.
Kael: There’s a lot of songs, my latest would be Fade to Black by Metallica.
Lance: Probably For the Longest Time by Billy Joel.
Scorpius: Can you describe that feeling of playing the Velour?
Noah: At Velour, that was when I first realized that people actually really liked our stuff. We played one song, and people knew the words and were singing along with us
Scorpius: Is there a nervousness when you guys perform at all? Especially in front of large crowds?
Noah: I’m definitely more-
Kael: Maybe loose
Noah: Ya, I’d say loose. I take the stage pretty seriously, I get up there, and I’m confident. I have more confidence on stage than talking to a girl.
Kendall: We’re more comfortable on stage.
Scorpius: What songs of yours are your favorites to perform or simply listen to?
Noah: It’s not other people’s favorite, they say it’s too slow, it’s one called Starry Night
Scorpius: I’m so glad you said that one! I loved that song when I first heard it.
Noah: That one I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t sleep, so I grabbed some Mountain Dew, picked up my guitar, strummed a few chords and thought it sounded good, even though I was half asleep. I wrote all the lyrics in maybe 15 minutes.
Kael: I would say Apparitions or Crashing Cars.
Kendall: I would say The Summer Song, as weird as it is, it’s a simple song, it’s easy, I like that.
Lance: One of my favorites is Who I Once Was.
Scorpius: Where do you see yourselves moving forward? What’s in the works for this summer?
Noah: We’re playing a lot of festivals this summer. We really want to make a bigger name for ourselves, hopefully having a bigger fan base not just locally and in Utah. Vegas, L.A, big cities. That’s the end goal.