Interview with Thomas White at The Argus “I did some homework the other day… the first album came out so long ago that there’s certain passages and changes in some songs I don’t remember writing!” says Thomas White, one-half of Brighton-based symphonic indie-rock outfit Electric Soft Parade.
The band return to the live scene on Wednesday, playing their entire back-catalogue across four very special monthly gigs, album by album.
“It’s going to be very strange… some of these songs are more than ten years old,” says White. “We’ve not started rehearsals yet either – we’re going to cram just like we did for exams when we were kids.”
Having taken their love of guitar-based rock and laced it with strings, effects and reverb, brothers Thomas and Alex White created Electric Soft Parade in 2001 – quickly signing to DB Records for their debut album. A Mercury Music Prize nomination soon followed, as did the Q Award for Best New Act. Parting ways with their label in 2004, the prolific duo looked for new creative outlets, forming various side and solo projects including the band Brakes.
Third album No Need To Be Downhearted saw them tour the US, and in 2008 the group took a complete break from the industry.
It was the unexpected success of a charity gig last year which saw Electric Soft Parade reunite for the first time in nearly three years.
“To be honest, the show in December was a surprise for us. Bands come and go so quickly these days and people’s patience with things is so low,” says White. “We didn’t think people would give a s*** really, but the response has been really beautiful… touching, really. We always think we’re some forgotten band, then we do a show and there are hundreds of elated people there.”
Although not currently signed to a label, the band have written enough material for a new record, and White sees these new gigs as the group testing the water for future releases.
“We’re taking it one step at a time, learning how to be a band again. It might go terribly,” he laughs. “The music industry has changed three or four times since we started – it’s a very different place now. When we put out our first few singles, we sold maybe 8,000 or 10,000 copies to get to number 23 in the charts. I think last year they recorded the lowest ever sales for a number one – it was about 3,000 copies!”
The fourth and final gig of the residency will see the band debut some of this new material alongside rarities and guest DJs. However, it’s their debut release Holes In The Wall that poses the band’s biggest performance challenge, having never played parts of the record live before.
“The nature of the production of our debut album – how it was written and recorded – meant we never played half the record live,” says White. “Alex is pretty daunted as he sang most of it – he’s already been frantically downloading our own lyrics because we don’t know them any more!”