Don’t Be “Too Late” to Listen to Parkwild

By Rhiannon Levengood

There are roughly 1,200 miles between New York City and Minneapolis, Minnesota. It would take a little over 18 hours to make the drive without breaks, and about $350 for a nonstop, three hour flight from LaGuardia to Minneapolis International. You could always take a train, and for $200 with Amtrak, you’d reach the other city in 28 hours. It’s a lot of planning, but if you’re anything like the tech-savvy Austin Zudeck and Justin Thunstrom, collaborating on music can happen over the internet. For them, there was simply a one hour time difference between their two cities, and an occasional visit to one another. Until now.

Together, Austin and Justin make up the alternative rock band PARKWILD, which is now based entirely in New York City. The two met at GRAMMY Camp LA in 2011 and after some back and forth collaborating in the months following their meeting, they realized that working together was actually inevitable. Fast forward six or so years and we have a duo that’s ready to release their official debut single “Too Late.”

The track starts out slow and quiet, laying out a vibe very reminiscent of “Demons” by Imagine Dragons. It builds gradually with the pre-chorus as a brisk beat is brought in, and crescendos smoothly throughout the chorus before coming back down for the second verse. To put it simply, “Too Late” is a bop that not only slaps, but is smart and intricate to musicians’ ears. If you’re in need of a new driving jam, we found it for you.


Lucky for us, there’s a second single coming in March, so definitely keep PARKWILD on your radar! Check out our interview with the guys below and follow them on twitter @parkwildmusic and on Instagram @parkwild.

Do you think your hometown and childhood has influenced the music you create today? Can you recall your earliest memory involving music?
Austin Zudeck: I was born in New Jersey and raised in New Jersey and New York City. The fast pace of NYC and the edge and spirit that the city possesses definitely had an influence on the music we make today. I grew up playing gigs all over NYC and its left a mark on my creativity for sure. I remember being two or three years old and I would carry a half-size acoustic guitar with me everywhere I went, and I would try to sing and “play” for everyone I could, despite not knowing how.

Justin Thunstrom: I was born and raised in Minnesota. I think it has had an influence on my music, not necessarily due to location, but by the people around me. My earliest musical memory is playing my grandma’s piano at a very young age and doing so every time I was at her house growing up.

Where does “Parkwild” come from?
Austin: During a drive back to my girlfriend’s hometown I got Justin on speaker phone and decided that we were not hanging up until we’ve got the name. After throwing out names for nearly an hour and coming up empty, or having them being taken, I was so frustrated that I read off the next highway sign for “Dorney Park Wild Water”, and put the words together PARK-WILD as a joke. Then there was some silence on Justin’s end and we both realized that was a pretty cool and fitting name and PARKWILD we became.

Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom is an amusement park I grew up with in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Just a little childhood nostalgia insight for you all. Carry on!

What are your roles in the band?
Austin: We are both songwriters and producers, especially when it comes to the music for PARKWILD. We both kind of play every instrument when it comes to recording in the studio, and I sing the vocals. [For live performances] I take care of the lead vocals and second/rhythm electric/acoustic guitar. And Justin takes care of all of the keyboards and synths, triggering/sampling on the computer, and backup vocals.

What was the most challenging thing about working in a long-distance situation?
Austin: I would have to say scheduling because when you are in different cities and time zones, personal life and work life don’t really align with each other. Now that we are in the same place, we are able to set distinct times to work and our schedules are in phase.

Justin: The challenge is not having that in-person connection which is so important when creating. We had all the tools to collaborate over the internet but it was very limiting, which is why we began traveling to each other’s studios.

Who are your biggest influences musically?
Austin: Musically, my biggest influences range from Otis Redding, Carole King, Ryan Tedder (of OneRepublic), 30 Seconds to Mars, P!nk as well as Ashley Gorley, Shane McAnally and Craig Wiseman (all amazing country songwriters). However, on a day to day basis I am inspired by all the collaborators we work with, that are constantly pushing me to hone my craft and strive for the best.

Justin: I’ve always been influenced by my friends and all the people around me who are involved in music. It’s inspiring to develop your skills alongside great people doing the same.

Who has been your favorite person to work with so far?
Austin: Aside from each other, we have had so many amazing collaborators that it hard to pinpoint just one person. The majority of our collaborators end up becoming our friends as well, which makes naming one even more difficult. Definitely love the songs we’ve done with Nick Seeley, Andrew Tinker, and Emily Vaughn — one of which is our single “Too Late!”

Do you have any advice for other songwriters when it comes to curing a creative block? Do you have other hobbies you turn to?
Austin:I don’t really believe in writer’s block, I think you just need to find your mental release from what I think really stems from overthinking. For us, that’s throwing a football or playing pingpong in the short term, or taking a day to go snowboarding or taking a vacation.

Justin: Creative blocks can be very frustrating but they don’t have to be. A lot of times when we get stuck on something, we’ll go do something else outside of the studio. We try not to force our way through creative blocks and are patient until the right idea comes to us.

Do you have any advice you would give to yourself five years ago?
Austin: Be patient, and stress a little less, life’s got a way of working itself out, and it may not be how it initially seems, but retrospectively it’s usually for the better.

Justin: Everything I was doing five years ago led me to where I am today and I wouldn’t change anything about that.

Where do you see yourselves in five years? Do you have any long term goals as a group? Individually?
Austin: As long as I am still having the privilege of making music, and making it with people I really enjoy spending my time with, I will be super happy. I would love to sell out arenas and have multiple number one records of course, but as long as I can make music for a living, then life’s good!

Justin: I see myself continuing to do what I love everyday. We have long term goals and aspirations to the highest degree as a group which also includes the ability to create and perform music for a living.

What have you discovered about yourselves through the process of creating music?
Austin: I discover things about myself through the writing process on a regular basis that otherwise, I would have left buried down deep. Music is very cathartic in that sense.

Justin: I have discovered my ultimate passion. Creating music is something I can’t live without.

What are you most looking forward to this year? Personally and in regards to Parkwild.
Austin: I’m super excited to make the move to LA in June. New York will always be my home, and I definitely see myself ultimately ending up on the east coast, but a change of pace is something that I am ready for. As for PARKWILD, just getting the music out there is what I’m excited about for 2018.

Justin: I’m so excited to finally release music as PARKWILD. It is something we’ve been working toward since we first met in 2011!

What do you want fans to take away from your music?
Austin: I think that the songs come from such a deep place, and for fans to be able to connect with us and discover things about themselves in the process, that’s what I want fans to be able to take away.

Justin: I would love for fans to connect with the realness of our music. In writing about experiences we’ve had, we hope that fans can relate and find meaning in our songs.

Would you do anything differently?
Austin: I think we can both say that we wouldn’t change anything. We love where were at and the journey!

If you could tour with any band, who would it be and why?
Austin: I think it would be amazing to tour with OneRepublic or Imagine Dragons. I also think it would be awesome to tour with our good friend LAUV. I went to NYU with him and we’ve collaborated a lot as well, and even though our music doesn’t fully make sense to tour with his, it would be too fun of a hang to pass up.

Do you have a favorite venue you love to perform in? Dream venue to play?
Austin: I loved performing at Webster Hall while it was still open. Such an energetic place. My dream venues would have to be Terminal 5 in NYC, then of course Madison Square Garden.

Justin: One of my favorite venues was a simple stage setup on a beach for a small show that Austin and I played as a backing band for another artist. We played during sunset and it was one of the most memorable shows thus far. Being from Minnesota I would love to play First Avenue and eventually US Bank Stadium.

Waffles or pancakes? This is a really important question to Moments.
Austin “Canceled” Zudeck: PANCAKES…
Justin “Angel” Thunstrom: WAFFLES.

If you could describe the other in 3 words, what would they be?
Austin: Intelligent, Honest, Easygoing.
Justin: Diligent, intuitive, passionate.

What are you currently binge watching on Netflix? Do you relate to any of the characters?
Austin: I just finished watching both seasons of Wet Hot American Summer “First day of Camp” and “Ten Years Later”. You have to watch the movie first “Wet Hot American Summer”. I can thank my buddy Jake Price for getting me into it. I went to sleepaway camp as kid, so I think back in the day I related to the experience, not necessarily the characters themselves.

Justin: I currently don’t have a show because I just finished binging The 100. I’m anxiously awaiting season five! Until then I’m open to suggestions for a new show. I don’t know if I can relate to one character in particular, but I can relate to their determination and relentless persistence.

Have you ever had any music-related injuries? For example, when I was in 8th grade, I stepped on a violin case in the band room, it slid out from underneath me, and I dislocated my knee.
Austin: I sometimes dance around as a joke during rehearsal. There was one instance, I was going a bit too intensely and landed on a guitar pedal. I would have been fine, except I was barefoot, so that hurt a bit. It was temporary though, but very painful, like stepping on a Lego.

Justin: Thus far I have not be injured musically (crossing fingers).

If you could learn any new instrument, what would it be?
Austin: I’ve always had a fascination with country music, and thanks to my dad I grew up listening to it.. So I think it would be great to learn the mandolin.

Justin: I think it would be awesome to learn to play the cello or viola. I have always been fascinated by orchestral music and would love to score a film someday.  

What’s your go-to drink order?
Austin: A rum and coke.
Justin: Mojito, always.

Do you have a special coffee order at Starbucks?
Austin: I don’t drink coffee, but oddly enough I love coffee ice cream. If I find myself in Starbucks, I go with a Caramel Hot Chocolate.

Justin: I’m not a coffee drinker so I’d have to go with a peach black tea. Unless it’s winter then I’m all about a caramel apple spice hot cider.

Spotlight: Cameron Hardy

By Paula Araujo

At just 17 years old, Cameron Hardy knows he wants to make music for the rest of his life. After being honored as Billboard’s Woman of the Year, its no surprise Selena Gomez has caught Cameron’s attention when it comes to music and picking songs to cover. His latest video is a suave cover of Madison Beer’s “Dead”. Read on as he shares his musical journey, whats to come, and other music he’s loving lately.

Hey​ ​Cameron!​ ​Tell​ ​us​ ​a​ ​little​ ​bit​ ​about​ ​yourself​ ​and​ ​do​ ​you​ ​prefer​ ​pancakes​ ​or​ ​waffles?
What’s up! I am a 17 year old recording artist and actor. I’m a waffles kind of guy.

What​ ​drew​ ​you​ ​to​ ​the​ ​song​ ​“Bad​ ​Liar”​ ​and​ ​your​ ​approach​ ​to​ ​cover​ ​it?
I immediately fell in love with the overall sound of the song. It’s so different from Selena’s other music which was partially the reason I wanted to put my own take on it. I originally recorded a version with similar production to the original, but then decided to strip it down for an acoustic approach.

Are​ ​you​ ​particularly​ ​inspired​ ​and​ ​drawn​ ​to​ ​Selena​ ​Gomez’s​ ​music?​ ​What​ ​is​ ​it​ ​about​ ​her​ ​as an​ ​artist​ ​that​ ​attracts​ ​and​ ​inspires​ ​you?
I love Selena’s music. I think she is a very strong individual and that really shines through in her music. I love covering songs that have a ton of passion behind them and Selena’s music typically reflects that.

Can​ ​we​ ​expect​ ​anymore​ ​covers​ ​or​ ​original​ ​tracks​ ​soon?
Yes! I have another cover or two that I will put out in the near future, but I am really beginning to shift my focus to original music. Covers have really inspired me to create my own music and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to record these covers because now I am very familiar with the recording process.

How​ ​would​ ​you​ ​describe​ ​your​ ​sound?
Pop, without a doubt, with an alternative + dance kind of vibe.

What​ ​have​ ​you​ ​discovered​ ​about​ ​yourself​ ​through​ ​music?
I have discovered that I want to put a purpose behind everything that I do. Music has really opened up another viewpoint for me on how I approach life and I believe that everything you do should be meaningful.

Where​ ​do​ ​you​ ​draw​ ​inspiration​ ​from?​ ​Which​ ​artists​ ​inspire​ ​you?
I draw my inspiration from many different aspects of my life. Musically, I am inspired a lot by Charlie Puth, Rihanna, John Mayer, etc.

What​ ​are​ ​your​ ​long​ ​term​ ​and​ ​short​ ​term​ ​goals?
Long term, I hope to have a platform in which I am able to continue to make music and tour around the world. For now, I am working on finding a good team to make that possible and working non-stop on my sound.

What​ ​is​ ​your​ ​advice​ ​for​ ​other​ ​artists​ ​out​ ​there?​ ​What​ ​was​ ​the​ ​best​ ​advice​ ​you’ve​ ​been given?
Work extremely hard and hang in there. The best advice I have been given is to remain positive and put only good vibes out into the world. It will come back to you.

When​ ​was​ ​the​ ​moment​ ​you​ ​knew​ ​you​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​do​ ​this​ ​for​ ​a​ ​living?​ ​Do​ ​you​ ​recall​ ​your earliest​ ​memory​ ​involving​ ​music?
When I stepped foot in a real studio for the first time, I knew that I wanted to do this forever. It was 13 at the time. It just felt right, and knowing that I could do that for a living as well really opened the doors for me to pursue this professionally.

What​ ​was​ ​the​ ​first​ ​concert​ ​you​ ​went​ ​to?
Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” tour.

What​ ​are​ ​the​ ​last​ ​5​ ​songs​ ​you​ ​listened​ ​to?
1. Sleep Talking – Charlotte Lawrence
2. Fetish – Selena Gomez
3. How Long – Charlie Puth
4. Games – Demi Lovato
5. I’m A Fan – Pia Mia

Any​ ​particular​ ​album(s)​ ​you’ve​ ​been​ ​loving​ ​recently?
I’m absolutely in love with Demi Lovato’s new album. The entire sound is right up my alley. Also Dua Lipa’s album, she’s great.

For more on Cameron check out the links below.


Spotlight: Macedo

By Paula Araujo
Photos by Ryan West

When it comes down to choosing between pancakes or waffles, twin sisters Michelle and Melissa Macedo both agree on waffles. That’s not the only thing they agree on either. They’re remarkably passionate about music, acting, and activism. Twins are known to have similar commonalities, traits, and personality. While they are very much different, ultimately it is how they blend their differences that truly makes them shine as artists. Michelle and Melissa stand out in the crowd with their unique approach to their craft.

You may recognize them from Netflix’s original show, Girl Boss. Soon enough, you’ll find them as leading ladies in James Franco’s upcoming film Blood Heist. On the musical side of things, they’ve recently released their new single “Truth Of It” along with a music video. An upcoming album Ghost Town, is expected later this year in which the duo wrote all the songs for. A heavy theme surrounds the record, Michelle elaborates, “I had just ended a very long relationship and was experiencing health issues. I felt so terrified and alone. I cut myself off from the world for about 6 months just writing constantly. That utter isolation (besides from Melissa) brought about Ghost Town. It is a reflection and exploration of the ghosts that we all have and the ways in which we are haunted by our pasts.“

Read on to find out more about this talented duo and their journey with not only acting and music but self discovery, and what’s to come.

Hello! How is your summer going so far?
It’s going great! We love summer and here in Los Angeles it’s a great time to head to the beach or get outside for an outdoor movie and picnic. We’re heading out to NY soon to work on a movie so we’re currently preparing for that.

Who are Macedo? How would you describe yourself and your music?
We are an indie duo based in Los Angeles made up of twin sisters Michelle & Melissa Macedo. We would describe our style as Regina Spektor/Feist meets Lianne La Havas with a classic vibe. What makes us unique is our harmonies and songwriting style. Since we are twins, our voices blend well together; combine that with a piano driven, lyrical sound and you have Macedo.

What was it like creating your latest single “Truth of It”?
We wrote the song “Truth of It” together. It was really very conceptual from the beginning. We wanted the verses to feel like the reality of the situation and the choruses to feel fantasy. It was written about a relationship that just wouldn’t work. There can be a lot of mixed feelings towards the end of a relationship. One minute you’re trying to talk yourself into staying and the next you are trying to get out as soon as you can. We wanted to capture that manic duality.

“Truth of It” Link:

Do you have any favorite lyrics that you’ve written?
Personally, our favorite lyrics are from “Take Back the Night”. “Take Back the Night” is an important song about sexual assault. So many people experience it but there is so much shame and silence surrounding it that it’s not often talked about. It’s incredibly difficult to talk about and we wanted to give people the courage to share their stories. We couldn’t get through the song without crying. We only did one take on the vocals for that one.

How did you decide on the art direction/aesthetic/theme of your last three singles? What was the process for shooting those covers?
I think the imagery for “Ghost Town” was an idea we had brewing for a while. We are both very into the occult, witchy aspect. Melissa actually reads Tarot Cards. We wanted it to represent the inner ghosts that people battle every day. We had an incredible team help us as well. We were privileged to work with a photographer named Myriam Santos who really helped bring our ideas to life. Jason Adduci designed the cover art and Chandra Dyani styled us. We shot in a haunted old mansion in Los Angeles and we both feel very powerfully connected to the witchy femininity of that imagery.

Can fans expect an EP or album soon?
Yes, they can expect one this upcoming fall. Stay tuned on our social accounts for more details.

What is your favorite aspect of creating or working on a new piece/project? What has been the most challenging thing?
We feel like the songwriting process is like alchemy, turning pain into something beautiful and honest. Melissa will see me experiencing a relationship and she will get an idea about a song and then we can finish it together. Michelle has always written poetry as a way of expressing herself and so experiences naturally come out in words. It can be very therapeutic and cathartic. As sisters and as musicians, we are so deeply connected that one of us will supply what the other one needs. That is just a part of who we are, our relationship is integral to our art. The biggest challenge has been staying true to our vision. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to really figure out what it is that you want and then stick with your vision. This album is about putting out what we want and representing our true selves.

What have you discovered about yourselves throughout the process of creating new music?
There are always plenty of discoveries when creating new music. Something telling was just writing how we felt and reading it back. That was very cathartic and therapeutic. It was a deeper insight to our psyche. We discovered we are incredibly resilient when faced with opposition.

What is your favorite song at the moment?
“Die Young” by Sylvan Esso.

What are you most looking forward to the rest of this year?
We’re most looking forward to the release of our album “Ghost Town” and the movie we’re both starring in films  August and September in New York! Also, the release of our film “Blood Heist” we starred in with James Franco is coming out so there is a lot to look forward to.

What are you most proud of so far with your career?
On the music side of things, I think we’re most proud of this upcoming album, we really stood up for what we believed in and worked hard to make every single song what we wanted. In terms of the performing side, the privilege to work with James Franco in Blood Heist and all of the fantastic people on GIRLBOSS (Kay Cannon, Britt Robertson, Ellie Reed and Johnny Simmons). We’re very proud of those accomplishments.

What is your workflow like? What does a typical day/week look like?
Everyday is so different. We start off with some exercise and meditation to get grounded and get our bodies going. Some days we are on set, some days we are auditioning. Other days we are recording in the studio or practicing. We are always meeting new people and going to new places. The cool part about our jobs is that it never gets boring!

What has been the most challenging thing so far?
Being a woman can be a challenge in the entertainment industry. It can be difficult to endure the pressure and expectations placed upon women. It’s important to find our own voices and be unapologetic. It’s a blessing to have each other. We really support each other and move each other forward. That is what gets us through the ups and downs. As long as we are true to ourselves and compassionate, kind people we’re able to keep things in perspective.

What has been the most rewarding thing so far?
We feel very strongly about women’s issues. We have always supported RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) and Melissa used to be a Rape Crisis Counselor for them. We interviewed hundreds of women and men and co-created a theatrical show called “Dirty Talk” with our theatre company (World Kin Ensemble) about the spectrum of violence against women, ranging from catcalling to rape. We acted in and toured college campuses around the country with that show. We also performed it as part of USC’s Visions and Voices. We feel strongly about any organization that supports and empowers women. It’s exactly what we try to create in our art. We think as artists it’s important to help the world empower the otherwise marginalized and silenced. That has been such a rewarding experience.

What are your long term and short term goals?
We want to be creating art as much as possible. We would love to go on a world tour with our music and continue acting in films and television. Our ultimate goal is to continue to do what we love, in both music and acting.

What do you want people to take away from your music?
We really hope our music connects with people and helps people to empower themselves. We hope it helps people if they are feeling isolated or disconnected. I think the message of the music is to accept imperfections and that humans are incredibly resilient and beautiful as they are. If the song speaks to one person or helps one person connect to themselves in a way they haven’t before, I think it’s worth it. We hope to achieve that goal by being as truthful and honest in our songwriting as we can.

What is your advice for other artists out there? What was the best advice you’ve been given?
The best advice we’ve gotten is to stick with it, keep your head down, keep going and focus on the work, on what inspires you. Treat yourself kindly through the whole journey and trust you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.

Where do you draw inspiration from? Which artists inspire you?
There are so many people who really shaped and influenced us. Some of those people are the people that challenged us. So much of our growth has come from creating art out of difficult situations. The songwriting of Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, Claude Debussy, Otis Redding, Billie Holiday and Radiohead were huge influences. We really appreciate amazing songwriting and we feel like all of those artists tell a story in the most impactful way. They are real and honest and can structure a song so effectively. The first time we heard Tidal by Fiona Apple we were completely blown away. It was like she was singing our lives and feelings especially “Never is A Promise”. We knew that’s what we wanted to do, to be so honest with ourselves that we had no choice but to feel connected.

Do you find it difficult to switch gears from music to acting?
We really feel like one craft just makes the other one better. The more we strive to be better musicians, the more that bleeds into our acting and vice versa. It’s all practicing this self expression that is truthful and we think that helps in all formats. We are inspired when we are doing both so we grow as artists.

When was the moment you knew you wanted to do this for a living?
It’s interesting because we always knew. We grew up making music and being so inspired by films we saw. The raw vulnerability in both mediums really spoke to us.

Do you recall your earliest memory involving music or acting?
Our earliest musical memory is sitting at the piano with our dad. It’s this amazing antique piano that my mom inherited, it has this beautiful, haunting quality to it. We still write on that piano sometimes! We started writing songs together when we were about 10 years old. We had both been playing musical instruments and singing together for a while. Michelle had been writing poetry at that point and it just made sense to just put it all together. Even then, we were writing harmonies together. It sort of happened naturally because we work together really well. We also always knew we wanted to act, we got involved in all the school plays and honed that craft in college and beyond.

And lastly, pancakes or waffles?
Great question. Waffles!!! Always!

Stay up to date with Macedo be checking out the links below.