6 Music Interview

Also see this Blog post with the audio. First a new song, As Yet Untitled…

Excellent stuff, live in session, Thomas White, with As Yet Untitled. We all know that Steve Lamacq is a seasoned broadcaster, hugely respected man but he got your name wrong didn’t he. Unforgiveable.

TW: Kind of isn’t it. I have met him enough times.

The quandry is, if I can explain to people, this is Thomas White – Tom White – the list of bands that you’re in and contribute to is as long as my arm and we’ll go into that a little bit later. We first came into contact with eachother, woe is you, with The Electric Soft Parade.

TW: Woe is me, why?

Well you’ve met me, that’s never a good experience is it.

TW: Oh you’re alright.

I’ve always called you Tom and most people would call you Tom.

TW: I know, it’s tragic isn’t it.

But you’re calling yourself Thomas White because it’s got a bit more gravitas.

TW: Well I think it might actually be The Thomas White because this whole Myspace thing, there’s obviously more than one Thomas White in the world. So I tried to get my own little Myspace page and they wouldn’t let me have Thomas White as the URL whatever it is, so I had to go with The Thomas White and my manager Sam said she quite liked that so maybe it’ll get changed again but for now it’s Thomas White.

Then you’re still inviting trouble in, because is it Thee Thomas White or The.

TW: I know.

You’re just making problems for yourself, have a word with Sam.

TW: I’ll have a word with myself.

When I put the next record on which I will do shortly you can start to do that. You’ve not got a title for that song, how old is the song may I ask.

TW: It’s just a couple of weeks old… every so often I’d do a show on my own back in the day, 5, 6, 7 years ago, and then I stopped doing it when Electric Soft Parade and Brakes started touring so much. And then recently I recorded this album over Christmas and New Year which is coming out the beginning of June. I did a gig at The Luminaire and I only had 5 or 6 tunes that I could play and this new song materialised. If anyone’s got any ideas for titles, email ’em in. Can people email in?

I’m going to throw into the frame the legendary beaver which is a name I made up the other day for a non existent band, but it’s just hovering about. Granted it is rubbish.

TW: Surely that’s what The Shirehorses have gotta morph into now.

Oh don’t start that mate, that’s gone to the glue factory that has.

TW: The Knackers Yard… you said last time.

Absolutely the best place for it. Obviously that song to you is a mere baby, 2 weeks old. When parents have babies, they can go out and buy books with babies names in can’t they. You’d think somebody would have put together a book with a load of great titles for songwriters who can’t come up with proper good titles – a bit like yourself – could go out and buy.

TW: It’s a good idea. I’m sure it’d sell.

I’m full of good ideas. I’m full of something anyway. Alright Thomas White you’re going to come back, well you are playing at The Night And Day tonight in Manchester aren’t you and you’re also playing at the Komedia in Brighton on the 8th of April.

TW: Yeah with the lovely Chris TT.

You’re going to come back in a bit and because you’re a smart arse, you’re going to do the next one on the piano but we’ll look forward to that in roundabout half an hours time. I think you probably deserve a drink don’t you.

TW: I think so.

We’ll show you where the bar is.

(Listing bands he’s played in) Electric Soft Parade, Brakes, British Sea Power, bloomin ‘eck I’ll be here all night. There’s a fan club going on here for the Brewis brothers isn’t there.

TW: It basically just involves everyone who’s in a band in Brighton I think.

I would imagine everybody who’s in a band with any sense just listens to what they do and thinks “how do they do that”.

TW: Yeah Field Music are or rather were just stupendously amazing, there’s no words to describe, like when you first hear a band like that it really is like how on earth are they doing that. And they recorded all themselves, they’ve got their own little studio.

A very self contained little unit and the tragedy was, hopefully the tragedy isn’t, but it was an American tour that kind of finished them off, it just drove them bonkers barmy.

TW: I don’t know the exact details. Infact we met them and Alex had a very long chat with Peter Brewis about Genesis in Austin, SXSW.

Is Alex a Genesis fan?

TW: Genesis and Chicago, early Chicago I might add, not the cheese.

OK I’ll let you off then. Because I was drawing comparisons to you and your brother to the Brewis’s in the way that you can play loads of different instruments, you’ve got a dead relaxed but brilliant style with what you do and I’m not creeping to you.

TW: That’s very sweet. I wouldn’t go that far myself… I think we’re complete perfectionists and probably control freaks in the same mind maybe.

There’s definitely some of that going on within Field Music. You were just saying what a tragedy, we don’t know that Field Music have split up and infact I’ve got School of Language coming in to do a session and if Peter Brewis wants to come in and do it, I’ve offered Peter the chance to come in and play if he wants but I wouldn’t blame him if he doesn’t. They’re only on the back burner you know Field Music so they don’t really know what they’re doing themselves, but they’re still making great music so we’re all happy aren’t we.

TW: Completely.

And you also like Deus?

TW: Oh man yeah I saw them for the first time out in SXSW. Yeah again brilliant just amazing band. I saw them live before I’d heard any of their stuff and I spent the last year every now and again picking up an album here and there and I’ve pretty much worked my way through their back catalogue and it’s a great, great band.

Well you’ll be a happy bunny, we’re going to play the new single now and then after that we’ll come back to you with your piano.

Thomas White’s with us tonight. I’ll have a chat about his musical heritage which is what it is. He’s laughing but it’s true, that’s the only way to describe it really. But you’re a big fan of music, you wouldn’t be in all them bands if you weren’t I suppose but we were taking about Elbow then so we share a lot of mutual fanclubs don’t we.

TW: Yeah oh Elbow don’t get me started. Infact last time we were here I looked out of the window and saw Pete the bass player just having a little walk about.

Guy Garvey’s a 6 Music presenter as well, and he’s bloody good at it as well which is a bit sickening. You’re allowed to be good at one thing.

TW: He is isn’t he yeah… he’s got a good face for radio.

That’s a club that we’re both in. You’re going to do a tune on the piano then we’re going to have a natter, so what are you going to do for us next then mate.

TW: I’m going to do a cover, it’s the last song on an album called Pacific Ocean Blue by Dennis Wilson who played drums in the Beach Boys.

It’s strange because it’s a much heralded album now isn’t it.

TW: It’s been out of print for maybe 10, 15 years or something. It’s never been pressed up on CD.

Is that still the case?

TW: There’s pretty kinda flaky looking websites, there’s people trying to get it out but I think as of now, as of the moment it hasn’t come out yet properly. Or it hasn’t been reprinted at all but I was lucky, a friend we met in the states, an artist called Keith Boadwee gave me a DVD with about 1400 songs on it and he stuck the whole album on that, so that’s how I got to hear it. It’s an amazing record.

Excellent, I am pleased for you but you do realise the police will be outside now you’ve said that because obviously home taping is killing music. Anyway, introduce it and do it.

TW: So, End Of The Show…

Thomas White live in session (whispering: you may know him as Tom White of Electric Soft Parade and Brakes but we’re not allowed to say that) So Thomas we’ll have a look at all of the different bands, you can fill me in literally if you like, but lots of different projects that you’ve got on the boil. So let’s go through them one by one.

Where are you up to with Electric Soft Parade?

TW: We just came back from Germany, we just did a week over there, a little tour round Germany which was great, mad big crowds. It’s actually better for us than England at the moment, Europe in general is better for us than England. But that was great and we’re off to Austria and Switzerland then France next week, so I’m kinda squeezing in a bit of this stuff and then heading straight back out.

Ok you are busy and it will become apparent how busy as we go through it. Where are you up to with recording. Have you got new material coming out from Electric Soft Parade?

TW: We recorded two tracks, well we recorded a bunch of stuff, but we’ve got two tracks that are ready to go and we’re quite into the idea of doing a little vinyl, seven inch single or something at some point if we can find a nice little label to put that out on. We’ll do that and we’ve got plans to make a new record by the end of the year, so we’ll do that as well.

I don’t want to start any trouble, of course, he says, but you’ve only got 2 songs for Electric Soft Parade, over Christmas you recorded a full albums worth of tracks of your own. How do you decide what goes where?

TW: I dunno, with Electric Soft Parade it’s always been very obvious, I’ve written, or me and Alex have written a bunch of songs and then it’s kind of naturally mutated into an album and that kinda didn’t happen at the moment, I’m not really fond of forcing that kind of thing. You either write rubbish or you end up with stuff that you’re not happy with. So we’ve been doing it long enough to know if it wasn’t immediately coming natural. It’s kind of a shame because live I think we’re better than we ever have been but with the new songs I didn’t want to rush it. So we’re not going to rush it and we’re not going to force something out that isn’t perfect.

There’s no need for you to rush it but have you heard about the new Spiritualized album? It’s called Songs In A & E and Jason said that’s because all the songs are either an accident or an emergency.

TW: There’s been a few A & E things like Goldfrapp’s got a tune called A & E and Patrick Wolf had a song called Accident and Emergency. That’s what I thought the Spiritualized thing, I thought he’d broken his leg or something.

So alright then Brakes, we had Eamon in playing live for us a while ago infact he came in with Rob Jones, Voluntary Butler Scheme, he came in and did an acoustic set, and he did the acoustic tour and he was going round and writing material for Brakes wasn’t he.

TW: Yeah I think he had a good time, he’s actually living in New York now and I think he’s planning on moving to Paris next so god knows what he’s up to. Yeah he’s writing at the moment. We kind of came to the end of promoting our second record, when you do a year of touring with 2 bands on the go, it kind of wore everyone out a bit, so he’s taken a bit of a break and he’s living over in New York with his girlfriend who’s a very successful writer, so he’s living over there for a bit and from what I’ve heard he’s having a great time and doing some writing and doing some little solo gigs himself.

Well he was last seen in this country at least wrestling on Later with British Sea Power.

TW: Cumbrian wrestling.

Yeah he was absolutely brilliant, and you’re a part time member or were a part time member of British Sea Power on the last tour. Why?

TW: Well Woody apparently he was doing something with a dustpan and brush and bent down and knackered his back. So he was in the knackers yard for a bit. I think it’s good to be a musician for hire every now and again. It’s good to have an insight into how other bands work and to tour with other people.

It’s alright for you because you can play loads of different instruments, Eric Clapton could go, could you come and play bass for me then Thomas, I mean Tom, I mean Thomas. You could play piano, you could play drums, you can play anything you like, can’t you.

TW: Except flute, I’ve never had a go at flute.

By the end of next week you’ll have mastered that. And also a record I was brutally honest with you before, Danny & The Champions Of The World, a record I only listened to a couple of times, didn’t get my head round. But what’s the story about that briefly.

TW: Well Danny George Wilson, to differentiate himself from the 80’s band of the same name, he’s in a band called Grand Drive, another pair of brothers, great band Grand Drive, their album True Love and High Adventure is a total classic. He has been working with Truck records who we were on and me and Al ended up in the studio one day, and we were coming in for a session and he was just finishing and he needed drums on a track so I just boshed some kinda circus bass drum down and it ended up on the record.

Right well there you go, a happy ending, I will listen to it again, I promised you I would, and I’m a man of my words. So thanks for coming in, really do appreciate it.

TW: No worries.

And we’ve had two live tunes from you, you’re going to play at the Night & Day Cafe tonight, on the 8th of April you’re playing Komedia in Brighton… We’ll play your tune, number two on the CD, what’s this called?

TW: It’s called The Runaround and I think it’s going to be a vague single type thing.

OK well thanks for coming in again.

…File under meaty beaty big and bouncy, that was great Thomas.

TW: Sweet.

So that’s called Runaround?

TW: The Runaround.

And it’s coming out in mid July so we’ll stick it in the box and we’ll play it when it comes out. Some good news for you re Dennis Wilson, Sony will be issuing a deluxe CD with extras in a couple of months.

TW: Brilliant.

So there you go, you’re a happy man you see. You’ve heard some tunes that you like, you’ve played some great tunes and now you’re going to go off and do a gig at the Night And Day Cafe. All is well in the world.

TW: Perfect.

Again, thanks for coming in.

TW: Cheers man.