Interview: Parkway & Columbia Break Down ‘Wanderer’

Posted: by The Editor

Michigan indie band, Parkway & Columbia, just released their sophomore LP earlier this month, Wanderer, through 1212 Records. We spoke with frontman, Tyler Floyd, about the themes and inspirations behind the album. After questioning his faith and involvement within the Christian church, Floyd began to feel lost. Much of the record discusses his experience during this transitional time. Stream Wanderer below while you dive into our introspective conversation, dissecting what it means to come to terms with oneself in the shadow of fear.

The Alternative: Is there a reason why it took three years for this album to come to life?

Tyler Floyd: Yeah. I had a little more than a year of writer’s block after our last record, Transmissions, came out.  After about eight months of writing, I finally felt confident with hitting record. The recording, mixing, and mastering process took around a year and a half. I did a majority of the recording and mixing at my home, which was great, but having the option to tinker with the record at any time really dragged the process out.

How did your experiences with your faith play a role in the record? Would you consider yourself a spiritual person?

Over two years ago I started to doubt my faith. I was playing in a couple different church worship bands at the time, so I hid these doubts to keep the peace. I thought that maybe if I prayed enough and researched a bunch of apologetics for my beliefs, my faith would be restored. But, this did not happen. The apologetics just led me to doubt more and pushed me examine everything I had been taught as a child with a new perspective. During all of this I was terrified to talk to anyone about what I had been going through, so I put on the familiar face of a Good Christian and went on with my life. All the loneliness, fear, and wonder I felt during this time went into writing Wanderer.  

Do you find that there are a lot of like minded people who share similar experiences as you within the scene?

It seems to me that there are quite a few people in the music scene who’ve ended up leaving their faith at one point or another. Entering the music community really helped me grow as person as it does for many people. The longer I stayed in the scene, the more I started looking at people as people instead of souls that needed to be saved. The music scene didn’t push me away from my faith, but it did give me a nudge by introducing some cognitive dissonance into my life. If I was a betting person, I’d say that this experience isn’t too rare for a good amount of folks who’ve enter the music community.

What’s some advice you would give to anyone feeling lost or disconnected with life (disconnected with faith)?

If anyone is starting to feel a disconnect from their faith/starting to doubt, my advice for them would be to keep exploring your doubts and to reach out to someone you trust about what you’re experiencing. Try to avoid keeping to yourself. I did this and it really took a toll on my mental health.

What were some of your inspirations during the recording process?

I was really into Death Cab, David Bazan’s projects, and songs with really expansive mixes at the time.  

Which songs on the album are most important to you and why?

The song “Perpetual Sweater” captures the fear I’ve felt about coming out as an atheist to my religious friends and family, so that song means a whole lot to me. I’d also say that “Saugatuck” is a really important song to me. It follows a fond memory of mine and my realization that it had been tarnished because I couldn’t be fully real with the person I share that memory with. Also, I really like the synth parts I wrote for it. Honestly, all of the songs on Wanderer are really important to me in their own way.

Who are some of your favorite local bands?

Greet Death, Seaholm, Jake Kalmink & Further Closer, and Dogleg. That’s just to name a few, there are so many good bands in the Michigan music scene.

Anyone you want to give thanks to?

I’d like to thank everyone that played on the album, those who let me borrow instruments for it, all the podcast creators that helped me through my deconversion, Mike Higgins who got the ball rolling with this release, and the 1212 Records for helping me with releasing this record.

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Emily Kitchin | @deathnap4cutie

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