How are you guys? A: Pretty good.
You took a couple of breaks since the last album at least so what happened inbetween, I know that you just put out an EP in the summer but inbetween, what happened?
A: We started this band with a guy called Eamon from British Sea Power called Brakes, we did that for a couple of years and took some time off from The Soft Parade but yeah… we’re back, with a vengeance.
Did you both join the other band?
T: Yeah, me and Al. I play guitar in Brakes, he plays drums. We took about 2-3 years break. Last year we did a one-off show, it was just a hometown show in Brighton but the reaction was so good, just playing those old tunes again, we thought let’s do another record. This whole tour came about, we never planned to get out to Europe at all, we always wanted to. This is a real surprise for us that this has all happened.
And the shows in Brighton almost became like a regular thing, right, for a while?
T: Yeah, we did a one-off and a few months later we booked a residency and played all our old records back-to-back. It doesn’t sound like a lot, doing one gig a month but when you’ve got to learn 40 odd songs or whatever it is – quite crazy. It certainly gave me proper perspective on our own songs. I kinda saw what the records are actually like and I realised what I like of what we’ve done and what I don’t like so much. It was a really good learning curve.
Is this the first time also that you didn’t go into the studio, just the two of you, you were joined by the whole band for the first time?
A: Exactly, yeah. We’ve always had changing line-ups… we’ve had the same bass-player, Matthew, for many years, since the beginning of the band. We’ve always had different people playing in different line-ups for each tour pretty much and definitely for each record it’s just been me and Tom pretty much in the studio. But we just felt like we’ve got the line-up now, it’s solid, it’s a great band so… we want to record it you know. It was kinda nice not really playing, I just played a bit of keyboards, didn’t really do anything.
So next album is definitely in line?
A: Oh yeah. We’re hopefully going to be working with the guy that produced the first record, we had a great time doing that so hopefully we should get something as good as that.
In the beginning the music business, it seemed like a really cool start for you guys – there was a bit of resignation going on for a while, is that right?
A: I’ve always thought and said that we’ve had our career in reverse compared to most other bands. We started off on a major, did 2 records on a major and then ended up on a tiny indie called Truck, did a record completely by ourselves. In a lot of ways, we’ve done everything in the complete opposite way that any normal band would hope to have their career you know. But that kinda suits us, you know, we’re kinda weird like that, that’s fine.
We essentially did 2 big budget records first and then the third album cost maybe… A: 800 quid… T: To make, compared to like a hundred grand on the second one.
What was artistically better in the end?
T: When we did the residency back in Brighton, I think The Human Body, which is an EP we put out in 2005, 2006, I still think that as a kind of statement is the best thing we’ve done, as a complete piece.
So it doesn’t have anything to do with money really?
T: Not at all, no. Then there’s certain songs on each of the records that are my favourite moments. As a complete package or whatever, The Human Body EP is my favourite, definitely. There’s stuff on all the records… It’s the same with film making or something, it doesn’t matter how much money something’s had pumped into it, if the approach is right and if someone’s allowed to carry out their vision… A: If it’s a good idea, if it’s any good.
T: People like Sparklehorse, there’s stuff recorded on dictaphone and all these different mediums, you know. Doesn’t affect, if someone’s got that kind of vision.
Are you guys able to support yourselves completely nowadays through music or do you do other stuff as well?
A: No and no is the answer to both of those. We don’t make money really, it pays for itself. Back in the day we used to spend a lot of money going on tour, it would cost 20 grand for a bus, sound guys and tour managers and all this stuff and we’re kind of doing all that ourselves. We’ve got a sound engineer with us. It’s stripped down so it doesn’t cost much to do.
Hopefully we can make this record pretty cheap and make some money off it because the silly thing is when you’re on a major and you’re spending so much money on a record, you can’t really ever make it back… we still owe hundreds of thousands of pounds to the label, we’ll have to sell a million copies just to get anything back.
How do you support yourself financially, what do you do, what other jobs?
A: Nothing, literally nothing, I live with my Dad. I’m telling you that on television in Germany.
Why not, if the artistic thing is behind it, if you’re looking to make music.
A: It’s a bit pathetic really though, isn’t it. We do other things. I’ve literally got the T-shirt. I played with The Wedding Present, I played drums in Hanover last year. That was pretty good, tide me over for a bit.
How about you Tom?
T: I kinda split my time between a place I have with my partner and the family home. But we both live in Brighton yeah.
Any other jobs, any other odd jobs?
T: I’ve done a fair amount of session work, I played with a guy called Patrick Wolf. I played with him for a couple of years which was great. Again just experience I always find that fascinating seeing the ins and outs of how different people put music together. He’s very showbiz. He’s pretty out there with some of the stuff he wears. I love that though, that’s his focus, he’s putting on a show…
Did he make you wear stuff?
T: He made me wear like a boiler suit, at some stage he made me wear a belt with a glittery PW on it.
A: This is onstage? T: This wasn’t on a day off no. He’s totally charming though and I just get on really well with him so it was a good laugh.
Now it’s Noel Gallagher that you’re supporting. Have you met him?
A: Oh yeah. We played with Oasis a few years back and actually Tom was sounded out about possibly playing with Noel in his band and it sort of fell through. Tom was the second choice and then the first choice became available again so he didn’t do it.
Bit cheeky he just went “come on then, give us a support, let’s go” and he did, good on him. Most of these kind of things, it’s some manager or some agent.
T: I texted him “‘ere mate, I’ve heard you’ve announced these shows, give us a support” and he was like “consider it done”.
A: So many people in the chain that could go “my band’s doing that actually”. We don’t have anyone fighting our corner in that way, agents pushing for stuff and things like that, putting pressure on people. We don’t have the profile…
T: If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
A: It’s an honour to do it though, it’s a total honour, he’s a big influence on what we do, definitely, Oasis back in the day were like one of those bands you know for me. Big, big influence growing up.
Do you party with him as well?
A: I haven’t done much partying but we’ve been driving to be honest because they’re on a bus, they’re driving overnight, sleeping man. We’re driving.
T: Last night man, Copenhagen to Cologne in one day.
You once said “I think technology should have just stopped about ten years ago” (interview)
T: If I truly believed that I couldn’t have my laptop… there’s too many things. I disagree with the Thomas White of 2002, whenever that quote’s from (probably 2007) There’s a lot of stuff. My phone died recently and I got a new phone. I just don’t understand that something has to be constantly improved or updated. I just wanted the same phone and they were like “sorry, you can’t get that one anymore”
I also notice that you do quite a bit of charity stuff every now and then. You did this thing for the hospice last year I think and also you did a charity gig for Billy MacKenzie (Associates) You organise these things yourself?
A: The Soundseekers Billy MacKenzie Tribute, a friend of ours, a guy called Gary, he runs the charity Soundseekers and he just asked us to get involved, I won’t take any credit for that. The Martlets thing that we did last year, that kind of kick-started the band again, our Mum died a couple of years ago – she was in that hospice so we wanted to raise some money for a really small independent thing, doesn’t really have much funding. They do amazing work so we wanted to give something back, that was the idea.
Hardly philanthropists do you know what I mean. The most gratifying thing personally I remember doing… we played with The Who at the Albert Hall many years ago, 2002 or something. It was for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Most of the bands walk in and meet some of the patients, some of the kids, teenagers that have cancer and they’re all terminal cases. It’s just mental, being 15 and going through all that stuff you go through when you’re 15 and you’re gonna die in 6 months. It’s crazy.
I guess most bands shake hands and whatever but we managed to hang out for 2 or 3 hours with these guys, played some music, it was just so amazing. They were amazing people, incredible. So full of fun and life. An amazing experience – humbling actually.
What’s going to happen next with The Electric Soft Parade. I think you announced to do some EP’s, what’s gonna happen.
T: Yeah… The main thing is getting in the studio with Chris Hughes and Mark Frith.
Adam & The Ants, I remember Chris Hughes. I’ve been such a fan of Adam & The Ants.
T: So we’re going to try and get in the studio with them, we’ve got 30 new songs written for a new album; demoed, they’re all ready to be started working on.
February the 4th next year is the 10 year anniversary of our first album so we’re gonna play it in Brighton. We’re going to do another of these extravagant hometown shows. So we’re going to play Holes In The Wall in sequence in a really nice place infact not dissimilar to this (looks around) Actually it’s nothing like it…
There’s a really nice place in Brighton called The Old Market so we’re going to do that and we’ve got a fantastic band on with us, called TOY who are gonna be supporting. They’re a relatively new band from London but they just supported us on a couple of UK shows. Absolutely great band (Buy Tickets)
That and a new record and… A: Back to Germany. T: If a promoter from Munster is watching this, we wanna play Gleis 22.
Thankyou guys. A: Appreciate it. T: Brilliant.