Marc Riley BBC 6 Music 20th June – Listen Again
M: They’ve only been here about an hour and a bit but I’m delighted and thrilled to say we’ve got the return of The Electric Soft Parade tonight. Hello guys. ESP: Hellooo. M: Really good to see you. Everybody but Alex, I have to say, is a little bit green around the gills. You were on the pop last night. He’s buzzin this lad here, he’s been driving and he’s been on the coffee all day. T: He’s been on harder stuff than just coffee. I didn’t know whether I was allowed to say Red Bull on air. M: Well you’re not but I am. I’ll probably get the sack for it but that’s alright. Of course you’ve taken your shades off now Thomas but I couldn’t help, it was a bit like an expostulation but I just had to shout “proper rock star” everytime I saw you. T: Every time. I’ve taken them off now though just for you Marc. A: He’s an improper rockstar right now. M: Oooh steady it’s only quarter past seven.
M: So you were at Rough Trade weren’t you doing an instore last night. Both: Yes. M: Can you do a trolley dash. Did they let you get a big trolley and just run round and take everything you can get in 10 seconds… A: Back in my day, when we started, that’s what we used to get. You used to get a bit of freebie action. Once you’d finished it they’d go, go and spend your money. Alas no. M: Not anymore no. It’s times of austerity. A: They gave you some water, that was very nice of them, it was very hot so that was much appreciated. M: You can ask for no more. And you were in the mighty Rough Trade obviously. A: Quite right. M: So you’re gonna do four tunes for us tonight. A: Apparently so. M: That’s the good news, the bad news is that we’ve kind of stolen one off Gideon Coe because you didn’t have time to pre-record it before so we thought, we can’t waste it. Sorry Gid. He can repeat them anyway can’t he. So the first of the four tunes that Electric Soft Parade are going to do for us tonight is… A: Summertime In My Heart. M: New single. Fab.
Summertime In My Heart
M: Effortless and really really brilliant, Electric Soft Parade live in session with what is the new single, Summertime In My Heart. Really great. So yeah, three more if you don’t mind fellas.
M: Electric Soft Parade back in the room, hello guys. Proper rock star! What tune are you gonna do now for us then. T: We’re gonna do the first single we put out off this record, it’s a song called Brother, You Must Walk Your Path Alone. And this one goes out to my class down at Brighton City College. They’re listening in, it’s the end of the course and they’re having a right old party I’d imagine. M: How old are they? T: Around my age, a little older, a little younger. M: They’re old enough to drink then. T: They’re old enough to have a lot of fun on the last day of term as it were. M: Good on you lot and you’ve got a famous teacher. T: I didn’t mean for a second that I take a class. I mean I’ve been going to a class. M: Really? I’m not blowing smoke up yo ass but what can you learn? T: It’s interpersonal skills, helping skills, counselling. Heavy stuff. Lovely class though, this one goes out to you guys. M: OK excellent.
Brother, You Must Walk Your Path Alone
M: Truly sumptuous, Electric Soft Parade live in session; Brother, You Must Walk Your Path Alone. So one of you guys, will you introduce the rest of the members of the band please. A: Please do, Tommy boy. M: He’s Tommy boy obviously. T: My name’s Thomas White, to my left we’ve got a mute keyboardist with no microphone trying to communicate something to someone else wearing a pair of earplugs with headphones over the top. M: He’s called humpty dumpty, I think he wants to remain anonymous. Is that what we’re saying. T: Nonsense. Alan Grice here on the keyboards, my dear brother here Alex White on Fender Jaguar, a little midi keyboard type affair and vocals, Heather Urquhart on guest vocals, she’s up with us today singing on a couple of tunes. H: Hi. T: Mr Damo Waters on the drumkit. Longstanding chap of steel Matthew Twaites on the bass guitar. M: He’s very quiet today. A: He’s subdued. T: As you said green around the gills. M: I was specifically talking about him, you’re dead right. T: And Mr Andrew Claridge on various beautiful guitars. M: Yeah absolutely, I’m slightly jealous of his talent and his guitars.
M: OK so the album, Idiots, six years between the albums, a bit of an obvious question, but what does it take to fire up Electric Soft Parade. Is it like you’re sat there in the pub one night and you just go “brother, we gotta make a record”. A: Infact we were gonna call that song “brother we gotta make a record” but we thought don’t be ridiculous. It’s a natural thing, it’s not like we think oh let’s wait 6 years. Things happen, things change and record labels disappear and reappear again and various things like that. Lots of other projects on the go and all that sort of thing. It just felt about the right time, we hooked up with the guys that did the first record, the sort of team around that – the production team, just spent a bunch of time doing it and here we are… it’s just how long it took I guess.
M: You always keep busy don’t you, you’ve been back in and out of the studio with lots of different groups. And it’s called Idiots which I read one of you did say the Idiots in question are you two. A: Well, I think it’s open for discussion. T: You said that didn’t you. A: I think I might have said that. M: It’s not open for discussion though unless your going to have a conversation with yourself. You said it Alex, what do you mean?
A: I think we’re naturally self-deprecating English people, that’s the nature of it and I like that self-reflective thing, it’s all a bit silly and “come on”… I like all that. M: I’m sure you’ve probably beaten Prince to that album title. I’m sure he sits there and thinks “I’m an idiot, I like playing practical jokes on people, word’ll get out eventually, I’ll call my next album Idiots”. T: I said onstage the other night in Bristol, I think we need to establish ourselves as the Stewart Lee of indie, I think that’s a good analogy. M: I think your delivery was slightly Stewart Lee then anyway. T: It’s just the nature of how we deconstruct things… there’s no similarity whatsoever to what we do, essentially.
M: I was talking to Alex before because you being a proper rock star, you were just walking about doing interviews… A: Signing autographs, whatever. M: Alex said to me, one of the touchstones for the album would be, in the concept of the record itself and the sound of it, Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, would you agree with that Thomas. T: There’s a little bit of it in there… there’s a lot of Steely Dan on the record, a lot of Chicago, a lot of Robert Wyatt, a lot of The Clientele, they’re a massive influence on a lot of songs I’ve been writing recently. M: ELO get an honourable mention as well. T: The track Mr Mitchell which is obviously about Andrew Mitchell, it’s so obvious… M: Why do you even say it, don’t patronise me mate… T: You’ve met the great Andrew Mitchell, right. So that track, we had Mr Blue Sky as the blueprint for it and obviously it’s a completely different song again, a lot of those references, a lot of that very clean 70’s pop type stuff.
A: I think the Rumours reference, the idea was it was a record that was undeniably a great record, whether you like it or not. M: You’d admire it even if you didn’t sit down and listen to it. A: You don’t have to love Rumours to accept that that’s a great piece of work and important. That’s kind of what we were going for. M: And it’s getting namedropped more and more that particular album, as is ELO, I think it was Jason Lytle from Grandaddy who was the first person to own up and say actually excuse me, I like it… I saw ’em in 1975, just wanna make you jealous probably. Did it work? T: Terribly jealous. A: That’s pre Xanadu… M: It wasn’t the big Beatles sounding stuff but they were good. A: Eldorado’s a great record actually, early 70’s. M: I tell you what I have got in my bag, I shouldn’t say it on air but I’ve got 10cc’s Greatest Hits, I saw them as well, twice in one night.
M: We’ve got Electric Soft Parade live in session, they’re doing two more tunes for us, one right now. So the third tune will be? T: This is the title track from the record, this is Idiots.
Wow that was fabulous, epic. Electric Soft Parade live in session with Idiots, I was going to come out of the end of that and just go “idiots” but I couldn’t, it was just that good, really brilliant… we’ll have one more in a short while, work those suckers to death ‘eh. T: Nice one Marc.
M: So you’ve done some dates already but I’ve just had this through from Mark, fantastic session tonight, only 13 hours til tickets go on sale for their October gig at London’s Bush Hall. T: Well he knows more than we do. A: Can you get us one ‘cos I’d quite like to go to that. M: I can see that you’re playing on the 20th of July, you’re playing at the Truck Festival. T: And the night before we’re playing a very very special show supporting The Levellers on their first Brighton show for about 15 years, which is a big deal. M: On the 20th you are playing the Truck Festival as I say but you’re playing on the Virgins and Veterans stage, where do you fall into the… T: Interestingly enough Al had a period of writer’s block and came out the back end of it and wrote a ton of amazing songs, they were too expansive and long and weird for the new ESP record, if I may say so myself. A: You may certainly, I think you’re right. T: And he’s formed a band around that called Interlocutor so at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon that band will be playing, I play drums. A: We’ll be playing as virgins. T: As virgins and as veterans, ESP will be playing about 9.30 in the evening. A: Literally same stage. T: Does that answer your question. M: It really does, probably a bit too indepth.
M: I noticed before and I never realised because I am a bit daft… T: Bit daft… M: Chris Hughes produces your record or some of them. A: Indeed. The first and this last… T: He did the first one way back in the day, he runs the label that we’re now signed to and produced the new album. M: I didn’t realise we were talking about Chris Hughes, of Adam and The Ants and he’s worked with so many different people. An absolutely amazing producer. T: I think our first run in… we didn’t know him at the time, he produced the first Gay Dad album, they’re a much derided band but for many members of this group myself included, that first album’s just an incredible record. And I think they got tarred with the brush of having a divisive name but actually it’s an amazing record, Chris’s attention to detail’s just all over that record and I think on everything else we’ve done with him. M: Producing Adam Ant pop record’s is pretty amazing, Robert Plant and Paul McCartney. A: And he co-wrote Everybody Wants To Rule The World. M: Did he really, kerching! Much respect is due, great producer and a great record and a great band, I’m blowing smoke up yo ass now. T: You keep swearing, we’re not allowed to swear.
M: Do you wanna do one last tune then? T: This one features our dear friend Heather Urquhart on vocals and I want to dedicate it to me and Al’s friends Duncan and Jadine down on Langdale Road in Hove. M: Don’t give out the number. Good work, ok get to it.
One Of Those Days
M: Bit of class from start to finish, Electric Soft Parade live in session, One Of Those Days. You’re great, thanks for coming in. A: Appreciate it. T: It was worth it.