Hailing from Orlando, Florida, Magnolia Park is a pop-punk/alternative rock band building their following slowly but steadily through TikTok. In March 2021, they released their debut mixtape, “Dream Eater,” featuring songs with iamjakehill, glimmers, Oliver Baxxter, and the one and only Kellin Quinn of Sleeping with Sirens. Shortly after the release of the mixtape, I was able to meet with Joe (drums), Josh (vocals), Freddie (guitar), Jared (bass), and Tristan (guitar) over Zoom to discuss the past, present, and future of Magnolia Park.
Q: How did you all meet and decide you wanted to form a band?
Josh: Originally we were all from different projects. We started off with Tristan being in an old band of mine and then Freddie joined and we were both like “You know what, let’s just start our own project” and so we all left there and that’s when Jared and Joe got into the mix and then we’ve just been riding til the wheels fall off ever since.
Q: How did you come up with the name Magnolia Park?
Tristan: So we were driving (me, Josh, and Freddie) one day and Freddie was driving like he usually does: really bad. He missed a turn and he kinda crashed into a little field and then his car wouldn’t start and it was some weird chaos. And basically, the park we landed at was Magnolia Park and we decided to call our band that. It’s a pretty weird story.
Q: What sets you apart from other bands?
Josh: We don’t stay in one genre. We’re very influenced by everything and our hustle is a lot more unique than other bands I would say.
Tristan: We like to stand for a lot of things. Our main goal is to show kids like us; Hispanics and African Americans, that you can be successful doing alternative-genre music. We just want to bring representation to that and show unity. We all come from different backgrounds, different races, so that’s one of our main goals. And that’s where we stand out as well.
Q: Who are your biggest influences musically?
Tristan: Dance Gavin Dance, 100gecs, Nothing Nowhere, Avril Lavigne.
Jared: Blink 182.
Joe: Not Blink 182, only Travis Barker. (laughter)
Tristan: Yeah I would say that’s it, right Josh?
Josh: Did you say Avril Lavigne? Come on bro!
Tristan: I love Avril! Yeah, we have a lot of different influences. We could go all day, yeah a lot of people inspire us, and those are just some of them.
Josh: Not Avril Lavigne.
Tristan: You don’t like Avril??
Joe: Definitely Avril Lavigne.
Q: It’s so cool that you got to work on “Love Me” with Kellin Quinn! As a smaller band, getting to work with a legend like him, what was that like?
Josh: Oh man, that was pretty cool. He kinda took us under his wing on that one. He’s a very nice, down-to-earth guy, he just kinda showed us the ropes. And even after we released the song, he kept checking in. For a bigger staple in the genre, the legend that he is, to be like “Hey guys, how’s everything going?” it was awesome.
Tristan: And he’s genuinely an actual kind person and really supportive and he doesn’t have to be that way. He reached out to us and it’s just great to see someone you look up to care about you in that way, in a real way.
Q: What is your songwriting process like?
Tristan: It’s mostly just Freddie. (laughter)
Freddie: It varies with every single song. A lot of times, either Tristan will come up with something or we all write songs individually and after a certain amount of time together, we pick our favorite ones, or we write songs as a band. There’s no one way to do it.
Tristan: Yeah we’re all songwriters and we all have unique choices so it’s pretty cool being in a band together.
Q: Where is one place you would love to perform someday and why?
Tristan: Anywhere in Japan. In a park, in a street, I don’t care. Just Japan. The culture is very inspiring.
Jared: We’re all anime nerds.
Tristan: It’s a very inspiring place and it looks beautiful.
Q: How has the pandemic affected you guys as a band?
Joe: It kinda worked out well for us. We had a really big show at House of Blues that got cancelled which sucks but we used it to kind of just grind out songwriting in the studio. We released two projects over the past year and we’ve been grinding out on social media, on TikTok and kind of moving into the stuff we can do since we can’t play shows. We’ve gained a really big community on TikTok and on social media and that’s helped us grow regardless of not being able to play shows.
Q: What can we expect from you guys in the future?
Tristan: We’re getting ready to put out another mixtape in July-- hopefully July. That’s going to have five new songs and then we’ll put out our main project in October. That one, no matter what, is happening. I will fight Freddie to the death if I have to (laughter) but October 29. It’s going to have a bunch of new songs and I’m really excited to show people what we’ve been working on for so long; this whole pandemic we’ve been in the studio.
Josh: Pandemic Tapes? (laughter)
Q: What has been your favorite song you’ve ever recorded?
Joe: Probably Back on my Bulls***. It’s just a high-energy song and the video was super fun to shoot. So that’s probably my favorite.
Tristan: I would say Love Me because I actually got to play guitar on that one (laughter).
Freddie: Houdini was fun. Go stream Houdini.
Jared: Mine’s Back on my Bulls***. Super catchy.
Q: What is some advice you would give to musicians just starting out?
All: Get on TikTok.
Jared: Don’t be afraid to experiment with genres. Don’t listen to gatekeepers. Just do what you think feels right.
Josh: It’s a scary road to travel down, but always work toward making a better version of yourself.
Tristan: Have vision. Believe in yourself and your vision of what you want to do. That goes a long way and got us through a lot of adversity.
Josh: Being different is okay.
Freddie: Like Machine Gun Kelly said, no comfy shoes!
Talking to the guys of Magnolia Park was so much fun and their personalities are as bright as their music is catchy. They gave us an inside look at their writing process, a sneak peek of what’s to come, and plenty of candid laughter. Above all, they left us with some incredible advice for new musicians. Be sure to stream “Dream Eater” and keep an eye out for new releases from Magnolia Park later this year!