As reported by Mediaweek, filming for the campaign took place at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium last week, with Parkway performing alongside players from several of the NRL teams – the Melbourne Storm, Penrith Panthers, Sydney Roosters and Brisbane Broncos – set to compete in this year’s finals.
Speaking to the publication, Fox League host Lara Pitt said that having players involved in the campaign was pivotal. She explained: “The players absolutely love it. First and foremost it is what gets you pumped up for having that month of footy where only eight teams are left. Charlie [Lambert, Fox Sports’ creative director] and his team put something together each and every year to try and make it different. I think we’ve nailed it.”
Lambert himself described the campaign as one of the biggest he’s worked on, noting that this year’s edition will feature a total of four songs. “Usually,” he said, “it’s just a one-lead single that we push but we wanted to make this a campaign that lasted for six weeks, from now all the way through to the grand final. Rather than having one song, we thought why not give three of the new songs [a go] and then one of their older songs? We’ll have way more variety in all of our edits and promos.”
Fox League are yet to announce the list of songs that will feature in the campaign, however NME can confirm that one will be the title track from Parkway’s forthcoming seventh album, ‘Darker Still’, and another will be the album’s opening song, ‘Ground Zero’.
Winston McCall of Parkway Drive. Credit: Gina Wetzler/Redferns
Speaking to NME, frontman Winston McCall explained: “Whenever there’s a break in [the match], you’re going to see our heads screaming at you and playing songs, and when someone’s getting getting tackled, you’re going to be hearing ‘Ground Zero’. Apparently they’re using ‘Darker Still’ as the soundtrack to the [opening] ceremony at Allianz Stadium.”
McCall expressed shock over the scale of the production, describing the experience as “some crazy shit”. He continued: “When this got presented to us, I was like, ‘Oh yeah…’ Like, you know when you hear Fall Out Boy on a Channel Ten ad for the footy and you’re like, ‘Woah, that’s pretty mainstream’ – I thought, ‘They’re probably going to do that with a couple of [Parkway] songs and it’s going to be, like, just some background music.’
“But then we got down there and [the organisers] were like, ‘You’re launching the stadium. You are the promotion for the stadium. Here’s the NRL trophy with the Penrith Panthers all lined up around it – you’re playing around them.’ And then the presenter for the full promo of the Finals series is walking in-between us, doing his whole spiel while we’re fucking headbanging, pyro’s going off and everything, and I’m like, ‘You’re not editing us out of this?’
“They’re literally leaning the other way, like, ‘Nah, we want you to be the face of this thing.’ I’m like, ‘Huh!? That is highly mainstream, man, you know what we sound like?’ And they were like, ‘This is what it’s got to be.’ And it suits it. They’ve got some balls for going for it, but apparently they’re fully behind it, so I’m just like, ‘Fucking send it!’
In his chat with Mediaweek, Lambert noted that Parkway “chipped in financially” for the production of the campaign’s visual aspect. “From lighting to pyro, even flights and accommodation, we’ve split it down the middle,” he said. “That’s rare in this type of thing. Bands don’t usually chip in, they want to be paid and that’s something we’re trying to build at Fox by collaborating more and making it more about 50/50 and them getting exposure and us being able to make some great content.”
Jack Harlow. Credit: NDZ/Star Max/GC Images
The director also touched on the dissonance in sound between Parkway and Harlow, noting that “a lot of the Panthers players are right into” the latter. He continued: “They came along to the gig where we filmed it. With the team that’s dominating the last couple of years and sitting on top of the ladder, we just thought that was an appropriate music choice. He was out here on the back of Splendour so the stars aligned.
“It doesn’t matter about who the artist is or what their image is, as long as the music works with sport. Rugby League is so tribal, it doesn’t really matter who the artist is, as long as the music works and it matches up with all our footage and the shoots with the players. It’s just cool and if we can help engage fans or inspire some kids watching at home and I think we’ve done our job.”
Parkway Drive will release ‘Darker Still’ on September 9 via their own label imprint, Parkway Records. They shared lead single ‘Glitch’ back in June, before ‘The Greatest Fear’ arrived last month. In a press statement, McCall teased that ‘Darker Still’ represents “the final fulfilment of [Parkway’s] ability to learn and grow, catching up with the imagination that we have always had.”
Meanwhile, Harlow said earlier this month that his dream collaborator would be Outkast’s André 3000. “That’s a big one I’ve been manifesting for a while,” he said in a recent interview. “A lot of the collaborations … are ones that [I said] in interviews over the years I hadn’t done yet. I was like ‘Man, I just want Pharrell, Drake…’ And then they would happen. I’m just gonna keep saying André 3000 with faith that it will happen.”
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