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Appreciating Aussie Metal With WINSTON McCALL From PARKWAY DRIVE

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“I very rarely do music awards (but) these days I’m kind of taking the chance to do it because it’s a really fun thing.”

Winston McCall

While the annual APRA Music Awards have always celebrated the abundance of talent coursing through the Australian musical landscape, the focus has always been on the more mainstream artists and side of the industry.

Hard rock and heavy metal have long been touted for inclusion, but for varying reasons have never quite made it onto the big stage for Australia’s most prestigious awards.

Until now.

The 2024 APRA Music Awards will, for the very first time, include a category which rewards and recognises this country’s strong and growing stronger metal scene with the inclusion of the inaugural Most Performed Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Work category.

The point could – and will – be argued that heavy music should have been included long before this, but in the overall scheme of things, the fact this category has been introduced is recognition and vindication of how much heavy music is progressing in our own backyard. It is just reward for a scene and genre that has never claimed to be for the masses, but through sheer weight of listening numbers has ensured long overdue acceptance in the public spotlight.

Nominees for the category this year include Alpha Wolf, Polaris, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, The Amity Affliction and Parkway Drive, all bands who have played a significant role in the increased growth of heavy music both here and abroad.

“The idea was never to last. We never had bands that went for more than two years before doing Parkway.”

Winston McCall

To celebrate this landmark event, HEAVY tracked down Winston McCall from Parkway Drive to discuss just what something like this means to Australian heavy music.

“It’s sick,” he smiled. “It’s awesome that they have added that category. Awards are humbling in general. I’m really stoked for more recognition for our scene and community, full stop. Because right now it just seems like… it’s honestly bigger than it’s ever been. The more that we can do to push that forward and make people recognise it, the better for it. For us to get an award, sweet, I’m stoked the award exists with a bunch of really, really cool bands.”

As good as it is to have APRA finally recognise the heavy music community, their hand has been pushed somewhat by the continued expansion of artists within this genre. It is a sense of pride to everyone in the metal scene, and one not lost on the bigger fish like Parkway Drive.

“Yeah, 100%,” McCall agreed. “And that’s the way it works. At the base of that, the really cool thing is being involved in a scene where situations like that come about because of the community behind it. It’s like an engaged scene of people. Everyone pays attention to everything that’s going on. Everyone supports everything. Not every scene is doing as well as ours at this point in time. Post-COVID it’s been difficult, but I look out there, and I see people who still care about this music that is their passion and still support it 110% and look at where it is now.”

In the full interview, Winston expressed pride in the Australian music scene and the community’s support for the genre, discussed his upcoming attendance at the awards night and his lack of preparation for a potential speech. The conversation also included a lighthearted exchange about sending photos of outfits and the casual approach to the event.

Winston also reflected on Parkway Drive’s 20th-anniversary tour later this year, expressing gratitude for the band’s journey and the community’s support. He shared insights on the band’s supports for the tour and discussed the challenges of managing the unexpected popularity. Additionally, Winston discussed the band’s upcoming European festivals and Australian tour, hinting at new music in the works but expressing a preference to focus on the existing material during the tour.

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