You first saw them on MTV, swathed in peacoats and scarves and crooning, “She is love, love, love, love, love.” Ever since, Parachute have infected the world with tunes that are starry-eyed enough to bring out your inner romantic, but also soulful and bluesy enough to preserve the most uppity of musical tastes. Before hitting The Blue Note on Thursday night, the majorly multi-tasking Parachute member Kit French spills about the band’s summer tour, a new album and everyone’s favorite country girl.
[MOVE] So how’s the tour been so far?
[Kit French] It’s really a blast. The pairing with us and The Cab has worked out so well. We have a lot of different fans, and a lot of the same fans. But the different ones—we’ve just all gotten into a huge group, and everyone’s having a good time discovering each other.
[M] Any favorite tour memories yet?
[KF] There’s been so many sold-out shows on this tour. That’s really been the best memories--when you roll into town, and you know the night’s already sold out.
[M] You guys have been all over the U.S., Canada and Europe as headliners and with artists like Kelly Clarkson. What inspired this tour to stop in places like Columbia?
[KF] We just haven’t gotten a chance to go around some of these markets in a headlining fashion for a while, so what we wanted to do with the second half of the summer is that. We’ve been working on a bunch of new songs for the album, and we wanted to get out there and try them out.
[M] New album, you say?
[KF] I’m literally outside of the studio right now, outside Nashville… We’ve been messing around with it a little bit, and it’s real fresh, but it’s gonna be coming at people a lot quicker than normal albums do, so we’re pretty excited.
[M] How’s it shaping up?
[KF] There’s a little 80s sax solo at the end. Not sure if we’re going to use it or not, but it’s there…We’ve got a lot of plans, a lot of songs, and we’re just going through it right now and figuring out which ones we’re good at and when we’ll even have a chance to get in the studio to do them.
[M] I read that you guys started out as Sparky’s Flaw? When was that?
[KF] It was a high school band name. It was something goofy. We thought it was funny, but as we got it a little older, we realized we didn’t want our name to be that. We wanted to have a little more serious impression. Plus, it’s impossible to pronounce when you first hear it. It’s like, “What? Sparky’s ¬Flew?”
[M] Why the name change to Parachute?
[KF] It’s just kind of free of connotation, a very neutral word. You can’t imagine how hard it is for five people to agree on a band name…We were all sitting together trying to catch a flight out of Reno, and I think I just said “parachute.” They were like ¬yes.
[M] How has the band’s music grown from the days of your first major label debut Losing Sleep (2009) to your last album, The Way It Was (2011)?
[KF] It’s the constant touring—we’ve just become better musicians. Performances have become stronger, the songwriting has become stronger, and it’s just--for lack of a better word--just getting dialed in, getting tighter all around and having more fun with it. First time around, first album…it was very stiff process very unnatural…Now we’re a lot more comfortable with it and everything that comes with it.
[M] How do you work to distinguish Parachute from the rest of the pop-rock music scene these days?
[KF] We play accessible, radio-friendly music, but we do that with real organic instruments, you know. We’re real people playing real instruments. I haul around a massive organ and all that crap every day and set it up and play some saxophone. When you come out to a show, and you see all the gear we bring out and our interest in keeping everything as authentic as possible on stage and off, I think that sets us apart.
[M] You do sax, keys and vocals. That’s got to be quite the juggling act onstage.
[KF] It is! It is it can get complex. Sometimes I forget what thing to grab at what time.
[M] What’s your favorite song to play live? Why?
[KF] I’ve been having a real good time playing “White Dress”… It gets the crowd going. Me and Alex are playing these bass lines together, and the chorus, and it just hits so hard.
[M] So, serious questions aside for a moment—with most of us at Mizzou hailing from the Midwest, we sure love our Taylor Swift. There are Internet rumors that “White Dress” is written about her. Care to comment?
[KF] (Laughs) I don’t know. I mean, Will’s friends with her. We’ve all met, and we’re friends. So you know, it could be a subconscious connection there.
[M] What can we Mizzou students expect tomorrow night at the show?
[KF] We’re bringing out a lot. This is the most production we’ve brought out to any tour. We have new lighting, new onstage vibes [that] let us perform at a level that we haven’t performed at yet. Every night has been a complete blast, and everything’s just really clicking.
[M] Any big plans do you have lined up for the future?
[KF] We’re going out in September and October with Need to Breathe on the East Coast and Midwest stuff, and we’re going to go out with All American rejects on the West Coast in October/November. Somewhere in between, we’re going to be jumping in and out of the studio. And eventually we will finish an entire album and get that out as soon possible.
[M] Anything else you’d like to add?
[KF] We’re just really excited to come to Columbia tomorrow and have a great time—and especially a good closer to the summer!
Doors open at The Blue Note at 6:30 p.m.