Growing up in Charlottesville, Va., high school friends Will Anderson (vocals, guitar), Johnny Stubblefield (drums) and Christopher “Kit” French (saxophone, keyboards) all had a love for music, and joined together for the band Parachute.
Mixing classic pop, heartfelt rock and tuneful soul, Parachute went on to success with the release of its debut album in 2009, charting Billboard as the No. 2 album. Over the last 10 years, Parachute has had hit songs in “She Is Love,” “Kiss Me Slowly,” “Forever and Always” and “Without You.”
On May 1, Parachute will play D.C.’s 9:30 Club, and on May 10, it will release a new self-tilted album.
Loria: With the album set to be released soon, what can you preview about what fans can expect?
Anderson: It’s definitely the best songs we’ve ever written, and I know everyone always says that, but I feel we really captured what we wanted to say. The production was spot-on for what we wanted to do, which was make top music that was still authentic to us. It’s really a reflection of the music we like.
Loria: You worked with noted producer Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, James Bay, Dawes) on the new album. What did he bring to the process?
Anderson: He took these 10 songs that we are really proud of and somehow cracked the code on hearing what I was hoping for in my head. It really pops and is authentic.
Loria: The first song on your album is called “Young” and seems like it will be a breakout hit. What can you tell us about that one?
Anderson: We’d just gotten off the road, and I’d sold all my stuff and moved from Nashville to New York to be near my then-girlfriend, now-wife. The song just spilled out of me one day, and it came from a place of feeling terrified of growing up but also wanting to get to the point of feeling more settled in my life, and not so out at sea.
Loria: I was also taken by the piano-led and harmony-rich “Had It All.” Tell me the story behind that one?
Anderson: Writing that song, I put myself back in one of those situations from my past where I’d messed up and hurt somebody. It’s sort of my big apology into the unknown, a way of getting out what I’d say to them now if I ever got to see them again.
Loria: When you first came together in Charlottesville, what were your hopes for the band?
Anderson: We didn’t have any specific goals. We were so in love with the idea of being in a band, and I liked writing songs so much, that we just wanted to make music together. That was enough for us in high school. We’d take things one step at a time and we were goal oriented and tried to figure out the next step of our plan, but never looked too far ahead. That’s what allowed us to keep going.
Loria: As the fame came, how did that change your lives? Was celebrity everything you thought it would be?
Anderson: No, not really. We are very much the middle-class of bands. We make a living off doing it, but we’re not out there jet-setting. We’re on a tour bus, and for us, that’s amazing. When you’re younger, you have an idea of what a band is like. It’s really a lot more hard work than we thought it was going to be, but it’s been great. Not to say it’s not glamorous, because a lot of times it is, but there’s also this part where you are sitting on a couch trying to write a song before you have to go play.
Loria: Do you have a favorite moment from your career so far?
Anderson: Honestly, for me, it’s always when I write a song I like and it fulfills me creatively. A couple of the tunes on this new album, I felt like I was really in the zone. Also, anytime we do a headline tour and we’re in a venue that’s sold out and we hear people singing along to our songs. It’s little things like that.
Loria: You’ve all been friends a long time. What keeps the friendship intact while out on the road?
Anderson: We know each other so well that we know each other’s rhythms. We have an idea of what each other needs. We literally lived in the same house at times and we respect each other’s needs and space. They know in morning I need to have my coffee and chill out for a while before I’m good to go. The other guys have their own specific things. We know how each other work and have a lot of fun together. We know when to push something and when not to.
Parachute plays the 9:30 Club at 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 1. Tickets are $25. For more information, visit www.930.com