Editor’s Note: It was a great conversation with Paul McSweeney of Boston hard rock group Parts Per Million for Madness To Creation. In this conversation, we discuss how the media is bullshit in the music video “2020 Vision”, along with mental health awareness and covering “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour. Parts Per Million will be releasing their EP entitled “The Cycle” coming up. They are composed of Paul McSweeney on guitars/vocals, Alex Marks on bass/vocals David MacCauley on drums, and Brian Bailey on lead guitar/vocals. Fans can find Parts Per Million at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: Hello to the people of Parts Per Million, thank you for taking the time to interview with me for Madness To Creation! Take us into the writing process of the upcoming EP “The Cycle”.
Paul: Hey thanks for having me. The writing process for this one was different than anything we had previously done. For the most part, I do most of the writing on an acoustic guitar, and from there bring it to the guys to open it up[ for ideas. We got involved with the the very talented Kevin Billingslea from Halo Studios and asked him to produce and mix this record for us. What that did was gave us a different outlook and opinion on our music, and it opened us up to a more critical approach to our songs. Some songs we shaved minutes off, some we cut in half, one was even no more than an idea, that flourished into something really special, partly because of Kev. It will actually be our final single release of the EP.
Madness To Creation: I love the video for “20/20 Vision”, what inspired you to write that song or come up with the arrangements of the song.
Paul: Thank you. Honestly the current climate of politics is what wrote this song for us. I was definitely inspired by The Pretender by Foo Fighters, both song and video. The biggest difference was that we wanted to be really clear about who we were talking about in this video and song. I’m at even more of a loss at this point with the direction we are headed. This song and video were done last year, and things have only grown more strained and blurry at this point.
Madness To Creation: Take us into a day in the life of Parts Per Million in the studio.
Paul: Halo Studios was a blast. We went in with no drummer, no pre production, and half written songs. It wasn’t supposed to be that way, but we got sort of blindsided with a few things right before we went. We ended up knocking 6 songs out in 5 days. Jake Wertman, the studio drummer, basically did not know the material at all and absolutely slayed all the tracks in one day. Actually everyone did. It was a lot of fun. There were some really great ideas floating around all week and we had a little luck on our side for sure after a lot of bad luck previous to it.
Madness To Creation: You got to work in the legendary Gateway Studios, what was that like?
Paul: I was so looking forward to this, only to be sideswiped by food poisoning the day of mastering. I was in the hospital, and the other two guys got to go up and hang out there. While Adam Alan was mastering our EP, they were literally remastering PInk Floyd’s Dark Side album at the same time. It was a mind blowing experience for the guys.
Madness To Creation: Take us into your first gig as a band, what memory strikes out to you the most?
Paul: Me breaking a string 30 seconds in, and my guitar cutting out completely 5 minutes in. Hahaha. We have definitely hit some stumbling blocks along the way, but we are really confident of what we are doing today.
Madness To Creation: You covered “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour, favorite lyric in that song and have they reached out to you about the cover, what other songs do you want to cover?
Paul: “I sell the things, you need to be, I’m the smiling face on your TV.”
I wish we could get those guys to reach out to us. It was definitely a bit intimidating going for that one, but that’s always what we go for. Something to challenge us. I’m not sure whats next… we are debating now. We’ve done an Audioslave cover also. We just want to make sure it slaps.
Madness To Creation: How have you coped with the Covid-19 pandemic?
Paul: I think the same as everyone has. It’s up and down for everyone, and so far we haven’t lost anyone close to us, so we just try to keep that in perspective before we open our mouths about it. There’s a lot of opinions flying around right now, and its easy to get caught up in the fury of it all.
Madness To Creation: How have you changed your approach to social media when it comes to Covid-19?
Paul: Not really. We would be putting out more now, but we are being delayed because of it. So in that way I suppose so.
Madness To Creation: We cover mental health awareness at Madness To Creation, what gets you through the difficult times and what makes you feel alive and happy?
Paul: Keeping my perspective in the right place. Projection can ruin any good day. Some of the things that work for me are music, helping people, volunteer work, gym, and my family.
Madness To Creation: What else would you like to add?
Paul: For anyone that’s interested we can be found at www.partspermillionband.com and just about everywhere else including FB,YouTube, Instagram, Spotify, and ITunes. Thanks for the interview, these have been some great questions and we really appreciate it.
And there you have it! Be on the lookout for their upcoming release entitled “The Cycle”!