Electric Soft Parade Quotes 2002: Radio, Web, Translations

CLICK A LINK BELOW TO GO TO THAT SECTION: Quotes collected in 2002 (from my old fansite)

ELECTRIC SOFT PARADE QUOTES 2002: RADIO
Radio 1, XFM, BBC Southampton, FM4 Austria

ELECTRIC SOFT PARADE QUOTES 2002: WEB
The Fly, Designer Magazine, Studentpages, The Brain Farm, Themefromnarc, Ourbrisbane, The Electric Newspaper, Badger, Wow, Lollipopmag, Rockfeedback, Dotmusic, Soundsxp, Guardian, Oxfordmusic

ELECTRIC SOFT PARADE QUOTES 2002: TRANSLATIONS
Route Du Rock, Haldern, Benicassim + French interviews

Here’s something from the old official website: “My dad played the clarinet and he plays the piano now” says Alex, the more talkative of the pair and thus the band’s natural spokesman. “He is very into music, classical music, so we were taught classical music and listened to classical music, as well as the ‘classics’ of rock and pop, like the Beatles”

When they eventually found a way of channelling their youthful exuberance into something worthwhile, it was, initially at least, little more than an excuse to indulge in a spot of teenage drinking out of reach of the elements. “It just kind of evolved, as most things do, I guess. It was all very much a mate’s thing, just hanging out, and we’d play music as well. We’d set it up like a gig and get our mates along and have a party. It was a good excuse to get bottles of White Lightning or Strongbow and, rather than sitting in the cold park to drink it, sit in the cricket pavilion. We’d play a mixture of songs we’d written, which started off as two and then it was three and then four, and stuff we were listening to at the time. Stuff like the first Ash album and Everything Must Go by the Manics”

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Electric Soft Parade in the Studio (2 interviews)

Behind The Music with The Electric Soft Parade published before Holes In The Wall was released.

Words: Doug Johnstone (possibly NME)

So you’re a penniless teenager in a struggling band when that all-important record deal plops in your lap. Result. At last you’ve got a bit of cash in your pocket, so presumably it’s straight down to your local music shop to buy up every instrument in sight? Of course not, there’s drinking to be done.

“I actually just went to the pub and bought a round for 20 people” says Alex White, singer and guitarist with Brighton-based psychedelic upstarts The Electric Soft Parade. “Then I went to a record shop and bought loads of records for me and my mates”

There was no mad rush to go shopping for gear. “We just went out and re-bought a load of gear, ‘cos we only had a bunch of shit stuff like you do when you’re not signed” says drummer (and Alex’s younger brother) Tom White.

That’s not to say that the siblings, essentially the creative core of the band, don’t like to bang on about equipment.

“I play a Fender Telecaster, it’s the only guitar worth having” declares Alex proudly. “I had this rubbish Squire Telecaster which I got for £110. When we got signed I bought a proper one, it’s a ’52 reissue and was about £1,200”

And there’s been a similar upgrading of guitar effects.

“I used to have just one distortion, now I’ve got a whole rack of pedals” he continues. “There are four distortions including a brilliant ProCo Rat pedal, a tremolo and a Boss digital delay”

They signed to db Records in January and have since been working on their debut album, Holes In The Wall, to be released in early 2002. They’re not exactly studio virgins, though.

“We’ve been making records since I was 15 and Tom was 13” says Alex.

“We’ve done four albums on our own label in Brighton that we used to sell to our mates for a fiver”

But surely with a hefty injection of record company moolah things were a little different?

“The only major difference was using Pro Tools” says Alex. “We were really opposed to it to start with but as soon as you get to grips with it and get an engineer who really knows every little detail of it, it’s just like working 40 times quicker. You can drop in and chop a bit of vocals or anything so easily, just sing it whenever you fancy and plonk it in”

Tom is equally enthusiastic about the world’s favourite studio software.

“It’s amazing, you can do anything on it. We basically did the entire album on Pro Tools, loading a lot of it on from four-tracks, eight-tracks or two-inch tape and some stuff straight in.

We also did a lot of demoing on an Akai DPS-12, a portable digital 12-track, which we fed into it. But a lot of the loops, drum sounds and vocals were taken off my four-track at home, just a shitty analogue thing, but it sounds lovely, you get a great vibe off it”

The album is a swirly poptastic treat that sounds like The Boo Radleys skinning up with the Super Furries and it displays the brothers’ willingness to experiment with weird sounds.

“It’s just all about us wanting to sound different and more interesting, live as well as on the record” explains Alex, before, as ever, Tom butts in.

“Sticking a synth through a distortion pedal or something is a lot more interesting for us” he says. You can get more out of instruments if you synthesise the sounds a bit and it’s the same with vocals. It’s all about not being afraid to try new sounds”

Strangely for a drummer and a guitarist, the brothers seem mad keen on keyboards and don’t take much prompting to talk at length about the band’s keyboard player Steve Large’s set-up.

“Steve’s got all sorts of shit” says Alex. “He’s got a Fender Rhodes electric piano, a Roland VK-7, a Korg MS-2000 and a Moog, a f****** great fat Moog. The Moog and the MS-2000 do a similar thing, but the Moog’s less versatile and more specific”

“Yeah, I think the one piece of equipment we couldn’t live without is that Korg” jumps in Tom. “It’s an all-in-one kind of synth with some amazing fat sounds. It’s just invaluable in terms of being in the studio. We bought it just after we got signed and it rocks”

As, in fact do The Electric Soft Parade.

Interview with Tom January 2003 (NME) published when they were starting to record the next album.

Does good gear have to be expensive?

Not at all. When we first started we had the crummiest gear, but it was good for the stage we were at. We had to try and make it sound good. A lot of the stuff we use now isn’t the best stuff you can buy – it’s just what sounds right.

Has any original gear stayed with you?

Loads of it – a lot of pedals and a couple of guitars and keyboards. Stuff that doesn’t wear out or break, you re-use and mix with the new stuff. You buy a new pedal and stick it next to an old tremolo and it sounds great.

How much gear does a band need?

I actually don’t think it’s worth buying a lot of gear. A young musician should be trying to find their sound, something unique that they do well. That doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money.

I genuinely think starting out on worse instruments in crappier studios is better for the soul, so when you get to the bigger studios you feel like you’ve earned it. You’ve learnt and know how everything works.

Are you still accumulating gear?

Definitely. We bought a Boss Dr Sample recently, which has been really lush on the new album. It’s only about £200 but it does so much. We got a Korg Kaos pad as well for Alex’s guitar. We also got a bullet harmonica mic, this old 50’s thing. You can’t use it live because it feeds back but in the studio it sounds unbelievably good. You get that Sparklehorse vocal sound straight away.

Any more tips?

We never have enough keyboard sounds. I’d say in the early stages of a band, get the peripheral band members to spend their money on keyboard sounds!

Electric Soft Parade Interview August 2002 (Q Mag)

It’s 10.30am and a trembling Tom White – drummer in Electric Soft Parade – answers the door of his parents Brighton home. He’s feeling unusual after the previous nights DJ stint, which saw him drinking Goldwasser, the German liqueur flecked with gold leaf. “You knock it back and apparently the specks of gold cut your throat so you absorb the alcohol really quickly – I had three and was f*****” he says.

White’s band are similarly direct. Their major label debut Holes In The Wall is a power-pop laden advert for old-fashioned “indie” rock that echoes variously, Ash, Grandaddy and Super Furry Animals. Older brother and guitarist Alex tumbles downstairs 20 minutes later. Today their record label BMG is demanding the pair (but not minor bandmates bassist Matt Thwaites and keyboardist Steve Large) receive “media training”, possibly hoping to tone down their forthright opinions. “We’re not Pop idol” Alex shrugs unrepentantly.

For now, at least, the band idly castigate, among others, Cosmic Rough Riders (“Cosmic Shit Peddlers!”) and Coldplay. The multi-instrumental pair have played together since Tom was 11 under the name The Soft Parade (the “Electric” was added after complaints from a Doors cover band)

The “brothers” thing does apparently have benefits. “Sometimes you think, He’s a c***! But also we instinctively think the same thing” says Tom.

Having released low-key albums on their own label for years, they feel fully qualified to comment on new major league competition. Like Starsailor…

“He’s a shocking singer” spits Tom.
“I quite like some of the lyrics, though” Alex demurs.
“They’re shit! There’s one song where he sings “And I suffer” and you think…”
“What a c***?”
“Well, maybe he is suffering”
“I thought he was a nice guy”

Q: Just what we needed, the indie rock Waldorf and Statler.

Electric Soft Parade – Q Awards + Mercury Music Prize Interviews 2002

Q Awards Interview from Q Mag

Do you feel like a winner?

Tom White: I never knew what it felt like to win something. It doesn’t feel amazing but it does feel cool.

Alex White: Well, it’s weird but good. Baffling. But intense. Nice to have it validated by readers and listeners, viewers, users… maybe users isn’t the right word!

Have you ever won anything before?

TW: Nothing before this. Swimming badges, perhaps, but that’s not winning, that’s just achieving.

Have you met anyone today that you’ve always wanted to meet?

TW: Not really. The only people I would have loved to meet were Sparks.

AW: I would have liked to meet Radiohead.

Are you drunk yet?

AW: Not at all.

TW: I’m a bit fucked, yeah. I need to eat something or I’m going to pass out.

So, who’s the best act in the world today?

AW & TW (in unison) Radiohead.

Any last words?

TW: Yeah, I need some food.

Mercury Music Prize short film transcript

Alex: We played a lot of classical music, we were taught classically when we were younger and then got into the Beatles and Presley and stuff like that and Elton John and that was it.

Tom: We knew nothing about modern music until 96, 97.

Alex: The Great Escape, Blur, was the first indie/rock/anything that I heard, that I got into, and just kind of then went from there.

Tom: The Boo Radleys, they started off as just some record that Alex asked for for Christmas and then he got their whole back catalogue and it was kinda like the blueprint for what we wanted to do, be the indiest of indie bands. The stuff that we listen to and the music we make is so different. The stuff we listen to is often really underground stuff, whatever, Nirvana. What am I talking about, I’ve never listened to Nirvana in my life. The cricket pavilion was just jesus…

Alex: We used to get our mates up there. It was like a rehearsal and we’d go and rehearse up there every week and then one week it was like “what’s everyone doing tonight, do you want to get some cider and go up and play some tunes”.

Tom: One time we got there and there was like 200 people there or something. It was just ridiculous, it was just like absolutely rammed. A door got trashed and we got done for it.

Then they’re standing outside the Pavilion Theatre.

Alex: The Pavilion Theatre we’ve seen bands in that we love (Tom is holding a Feltro Media gig poster) It was great to get in there and play on a big PA and have monitors and all that stuff. Stuff which now we do every night…

Tom: I’d never seen 300 people facing me before.

Alex: It all sort of started from that gig. In terms of it seemed a feasible sort of tangible career, it was like we could actually do this. I don’t believe in age and you know…

Tom: I think it’s a big misconception that you’re not gonna feel anything or you’re not gonna have any valid point to make if you’re young. “Young” is the most important thing about this band. That’s the only thing that a journalist is allowed to talk about.

Alex: People say “it’s a great record and they’re so young”. It’s like no, if you like the record, you like the record.

Electric Soft Parade Go Back To College October 2002 (Q Mag)

When Cornershop sang “TSB rock school, the soft rock shit” on Lessons Learned From Rocky I to Rocky III, they may have had a point. There’s something slightly unnerving about the freshly established concept of the music institute. Designed to teach students with musical aspirations – and a spot of cash – how to break their way into the music industry, universities have been offering music courses for the best part of a century, while the independent rock college is a relatively new phenomenon.

Critics say these schools do not rock. And certainly it’s hard to imagine The Vines passing an entrance audition that looks for “a high level of instrumental proficiency and high levels of self-motivation”. They find something creepy in performing arts schools turning out “rock musicians” the way drug-addled art schools used to. And they ask: what can supposed rebels learn from a conformist institute?

Time then for Q to visit the latest of these “rockademies”, the Brighton institute of Modern Music, accompanied by brothers Alex and Tom White, guitarist and drummer respectively with Mercury Prize nominees, Electric Soft Parade. Both are ideal lecturers for a school like this, but Alex and Tom are in fact going to spend the day as pupils, sitting in on lessons and telling Q what they reckon to it all.

The Brighton Institute of Modern Music is brand new. With investment from Ronan Keating, its compact building in Brighton’s aptly named Rock Place is rafter-crammed with guitars and drum things with headphones and the accumulated gold discs of its tutors and staff. Its key selling point is that the people who teach here have had real experience of the music industry, whether it’s engineering Def Leppard albums or playing the drums in a Britpop band. This hot summer morning eager students arrive, ready to rock on a songwriting day course.

But what to expect? The best known of all these schools is the Liverpool Institute Of Performing Arts. Opened by Sir Paul McCartney in 1966, LIPA states that “the musicians of the 21st century will need to be self-motivated, imaginative, inquisitive and adaptable to all the contexts, existing and new, in which music will be heard”. Which may explain why Brian Eno is one of their guest lecturers. LIPA offers “a focused but broad training” that’s “structured to balance your personal, professional and musical development through a gradual process of specialisation over the three years”. It sounds like something you’d see on the back of a bottle of hair conditioner but it works. At least, it worked for Christian out of A1 who was attending LIPA when he was asked to join the band.

BIMM’s day begins with a brief introductory talk from founder and director Bruce Dickinson – confusingly, not the singer from Iron Maiden but previously guitarist in heavy rockers Little Angels (think Scarborough’s answer to Bon Jovi) Dickinson is keen to distance the college from the prancing antics of, say, Bobby Gillespie.

“Not everyone wants to be a rock star” he tells the class. “Some people want session work or to run a commercial covers band”. Dickinson is clear and sensible on the real point of the school. “For young people it’s very frustrating for a record company to say “come back when you’ve got better”, like how? How do you get better?”

If Tom and Alex know, they’re not saying. They become more engaged by the arrival of first lecturer, Jon Stewart, once the guitarist in 90’s Britpoppers Sleeper. Today he’s here to teach the finer points of songwriting and with the aid of a CD player and some demos of Strawberry Fields Forever, he shows how a song is transformed in the recording process and unveils a list of songwriting tips. He also tells the class how Sleeper’s biggest song, Inbetweener, became a hit after the label made them remove the first verse. And that a well-known dance producer is in fact an “acid casualty”.

It’s a ramshackle, engaging and funny lecture, even if it acts largely as an introduction to the whole songwriting process. In the cafe across the road, Tom and Alex are more critical.

“I didn’t hear the word emotion in his lecture once” says Alex. “And that scared the shit out of me. He’s talking about students making hit singles. We don’t give a f*** about that. We don’t give a flying f*** from a high window”

Strawberry Fields Forever is hardly a Pop Idol Tune, suggests Q. But Alex and Tom are having none of this.

“Strawberry Fields is unusual, so to use it as an example in a class like that is quite confusing” Tom points out. Alex opts for a different tack. “John Lennon would be turning in his grave if he’d heard what was going on there. And the last thing I want to hear at a thing like that is a Beatles tune”

The reason for this is associative. “When I was doing A-level music, it was classical based and at the end the teacher would say “And now something modern – a Beatles tune!” I would like to have heard some Sleeper stuff, with Stewart saying, “we wrote this about this” and putting his experiences into it. They’ve got some great tracks”

“I don’t like to sneer” adds Alex “but there’s that failed musician vibe. There’s that Alan Partridge-esque, bitter and twisted thing”

“He was in Sleeper” Tom points out.

It’s time to return for the next lecture. This is delivered by Mark Flannery, who has produced U2, Def Leppard, Tom Jones and Black Sabbath. Flannery, with the aid of local group Denzel (Tom: “I don’t know them”) shows the class how to make a song stronger. He also plays classic rock records to show how songs can be strengthened with arrangements and strong hooks. As a non-musician, Q finds it fascinating. Tom and Alex do not. When Flannery begins a sentence with the words “No disrespect to Pop Idols…” Alex is moved to shout “Yes! You should have no respect for them! They’re shit! They’re f******!”

“Learn to hate” adds Tom.

Over lunch, Tom is cautiously pessimistic. “I did learn a lot about song structure. But if you’re in a band, a producer does those things for you”

Alex responds: “I don’t like feeling superior to the lecturer but I did in there”

“But it’s a good set-up” says Tom, referring to the facilities. “When we did music at school we’d have a piano and a little ghetto blaster to work with. This is a step up”

Still, the business of improving a song has not gone down well. “It’s putting song structure into some kind of order, which I don’t want to hear” Tom asserts. “I want to listen to stuff like Spiritualized, where it’s three minutes before the vocals come in. Because it doesn’t mention that, the course is limiting what you can do”

“It’s good but it’s not creative” says Tom.

Later Q finds Bruce Dickinson and asks the one question that seems to matter: can you “teach” rock music?

“Yes and no” he says. “If you want to be a rock guitarist, you have to find your own style, but if you want to be good technically that can be taught. I spent 10 years learning to play the guitar and I look back and think, “shit, I could have done that in a year”. You can give people the information and what they do with it is up to them”

As if to illustrate Dickinson’s reasonable words, a fresh hell is seeping out of the lecture room. Alex and Tom are jamming with the students. Alex drums with the face of a happy man. Tom plays one-note bass. Around them blues scales erupt like lava, or acne. School – as an old man with a snake once said – is out.

In the pub afterwards, Alex reflects on their day back in class.

“Everything we’ve said about this college runs the risk of being pompous and know-it-all and crap but – at the risk of being pompous and know-it-all and crap – it’s f****** useless me being here, because I know this stuff really”

“But this can’t be a negative thing for people who want to study music” responds Tom. “It’s well set up and it covers subjects A-level music doesn’t even touch on”

Suddenly Alex relents.

“I’d be up for coming down here and doing a talk. I’d happily sit and pick apart one of my songs. But it would be hard, because writing a song is such a personal thing that you can’t teach it. Nobody could experience or explain how anybody writes a song, so that makes songwriting impossible to teach? Doesn’t it?”

School kids, eh?

Electric Soft Parade April 2002 – Tourcoing Le Grand Mix (NME)

Brighton’s teenage psychedelicists end their debut French tour in style, despite a weed shortage

The Electric Soft Parade – Tourcoing Le Grand Mix

Pre-gig

As a small town outside Lille, Tourcoing marks an unlikely stop-off on France’s indie gig circuit. Last week, German post pop act The Notwist played here. Soon, Trail Of Dead will be visiting. But tonight, Le Grand Mix – a stately, well-appointed venue with a capacity of 650 – hosts the final gig of The Electric Soft Parade’s debut French tour.

The ESP’s brand of experimental indie pop has gone down well in France: without any singles being released, their debut album, Holes In The Wall, has sold 16000 and all the gigs on the tour have been rammed.

Despite this, the band arrive at the venue in a glum mood and tempers quickly fray during soundcheck. Backstage in the dressing room, the real source of the problem swiftly becomes apparent: the ESP are running low on weed. And, my, do these boys like a smoke.

As soon as somebody scrapes together enough for a single joint, the mood lightens considerably. “Touring’s what you make it” declares Tom White, the ESPs likeable 18-year old drummer and chief songwriter, while his older brother – singing guitarist Alex (20) – fondly reminisces about smoking reefers “the size of a baby’s arm” with Ian Brown.

Talk soon turns to music. Both avid NME readers, Tom and Alex are unnervingly well-informed about indie bands past and present: strangers are earnestly canvassed on their views on Haven, Quasi and Guided By Voices. Six By Seven, Fugazi and The Delgados are declared to be “phat”, while My Vitriol and Hoggboy are dismissed as “rank”, views shared by permanently amused touring bassist Matt Twaites (a friend from Brighton) and suave keyboardist Stephen Large.

As stage-time approaches, the band are buoyed by the news that an obsessive fan has travelled all the way from Japan for this show. More exciting than this, however, is the night’s news: a fresh bag of weed has arrived.

Gig

Onstage, The Electric Soft Parade become very serious. Opening with tense, brooding ‘Broadcast’ – a B-side reminiscent of Scottish miserablists Arab Strap – they hypnotise the sizeable crowd into an awestruck silence, before jolting us to life with the swaggering ‘Start Again’. It’s this track which sets out the ESP’s sonic stall: equally influenced by Scouse psych-poppers The Boo Radleys and mobile phone salespeople The Dandy Warhols, it builds a momentum that’s carried through ‘There’s A Silence’s’ killer pop hooks. But it’s ‘Why Do You Try So Hard To Hate Me’ that really amazes tonight. An undisputed highlight of ‘Holes In The Wall’, tonight it’s spiky with menace and lung shredding vocals from Alex White.

It’s a hard track to follow and the ESP opt for the most perverse course of action imaginable, with Tom emerging from behind his drumkit to lead the band into an eerie cover of Kylie Minogue’s ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’. Halfway through, the track mutates into Muse-esque rock opera: Tourcoing’s assembled indie kids are rightly baffled.

Having steered things back on course with the wry, delicate ‘Red Balloon For Me’, Tom swaps back with Alex and the gig enters a brief lull, ‘Something’s Got To Give’ drifts by aimlessly, while ‘Stay Where You Are’ – mooted as a future single – likewise fails to catch fire. But thankfully this proves to be the calm before the storm.

Over the course of a full 20 minutes, ‘Silent To The Dark’ is re-worked into a krautrock epic. When it finally stutters to a halt, Tourcoing’s response, naturally, is devotional. As triumphant encore of new single ‘Empty At The End’ confirms the simple truth: The Electric Soft Parade are phat.

Post-gig

Backstage, the White brothers are jubilant. “Did I enjoy it? F****** big time!” beams Alex. “We sound so much better in big venues” concurs Tom. Clearly, a celebration is in order. But first, the ESP must meet their fans. The jet-lagged Japanese visitor arrives backstage to hand out gifts, then offers Alex a neck massage. He shyly accepts but doesn’t push his luck: hitting on fans is, after all, “rank”.

A French girl who’s been following the tour – and who, scarily, can recite all their upcoming gig dates from memory – also pays a visit. Having taken some photos for her unofficial website, she decides to get friendly with Matt. Her method of breaking the ice is somewhat unorthodox, however, as she leaps on top of the hapless bassist and frantically slaps his arse. He’s stunned.

Meanwhile, Stephen politely fields queries from a local band claiming a strong ESP influence and is roundly complimented on tonight’s Iggy-esque stage antics, which included standing atop a keyboard and sucking on a mic.

Tom alone is undisturbed by the attention. Rolling the first of many spliffs, he resumes quizzing his guests. “Do you like Melt Banana, chief? Have you seen Earl Brutus?” He’s in his element.

Things get messier as the night wears on. Having got tanked up on whisky, Alex insists that we all repair to the car park for a game of football. Within minutes, the ball’s missing and some booze-induced vomiting has taken place.

Realising that no-one’s sober enough to safely drive the tourbus, NME departs in a taxi. The following morning, we find the bus parked diagonally across two disabled parking spots in the hotel car park. The journey, understates Stephen Large, was a harrowing end to a raucous, celebratory night. For The Electric Soft Parade, however, the party’s only just beginning.

Niall O’Keeffe

Electric Soft Parade Interview 2002 (NME)


Brighton’s Electric Soft Parade have made one of the debut albums of 2002. So why do they think they’re the victims of an NME hate campaign? Text: Mark Beaumont.

It starts as a low, wind-whipped whisper of “The Hives” in the distance. Within seconds it’s built into a muffled argument about the merits of The Warm Jets over The Coral. Then the rehearsal room door is kicked open with a rallying cry of “Awright chief?! and it’s “Waddayathink of Richard Hawley? Isn’t the Fugazi album phat? Have you heard the new Chemical Brothers? What about Flaming Lips and Silver Jews and Cooper Temple Clause and Haven and Incubus and Jimmy Eat World and the 45s and did you ever like Ultrasound and Marine Research and Gay Dad and The Icarus Line and Doves and The Beta Band. What you bin listenin to then chief…”

The Electric Soft Parade – the messianical saviours of esoteric guitar pop comprising 20 year old frontman Alex White (skinny, pale and recovering from a morning of phone interviews) and his 17 year old drumming brother Tom (unshaven and puffing on a retired admiral-style hash pipe) are in the building and it’s like being beaten about the face and body with the entire NME back issue cupboard. What The White Stripes are to 30’s blues musicians and Dane Bowers is to varieties of Ginsters pasty, Alex and Tom are to 90’s indie times a thousand (er, Yard Stare)

Alex’s biggest dream is to meet Martin Carr of The Boo Radleys and Brave Captain fame (“He’s the biggest thing ever. I’m gonna name my son Martin after him”) while Tom once accosted Stephen Street – not to wax lyrical about his productions for Blur or The Smiths but to thank him for his work on the second Tiger LP.

The inner sleeve of their debut album Holes In The Wall carries a photo of Tom’s bedroom smothered in posters for Silver Sun, Six By Seven, Saint Etienne, Suede and Super Furry Animals – and that’s just the S’s.

No wonder The Electric Soft Parade are descendents of a rich line of guitar pop experimentalists stretching from the Super Furries back through the Mighty Boos to the Even Mightier My Bloody Valentine and beyond. From the breathtaking stop/start assault of Start Again, through the nine-minute frazzled-Fanclub wibblethon of Silent To The Dark to the fiery Song 2-isms of Why Do You Try So Hard To Hate Me. ESP video all the best bits from MTV2 through the years and edit them into It Really Should Happen More Often To A Rock Band.

“There’s a real misconception that you have to be original to be good” says Alex as we repair to a wine bar near their rehearsal studio in Bath and start on the first of the afternoon’s three bottles.

“Look at The Strokes. The most backward-looking thing, so retro it celebrates the past and can’t even spell the future and what does it do? It goes to Number One. Well done”

Alex and Tom first met at the Royal Sussex County Hospital on April 30, 1984. At first they didn’t get on – the first picture of the two together showed Tom wrapped in a blanket surrounded by toy guns with Alex lying next to him punching him in the head. But both being sons of the same teaching couple, and finding themselves regularly listening to Pulp’s Different Class on the same stereo, they eventually realised they had a few things in common and decided they might as well form a band.

“You start playing music, then you play music with other people, then you suddenly realise you’ve been doing it for six months and you think “Oh, it’s a band” says Alex. “I’ve written concepts for bands but they never work. There was one called Suburbia where we wrote this little manifesto. It went “Cover Oasis songs to start with, then write our own based on them and wear shellsuits”.

Alas, Suburbia were destined to burn out before they’d managed to swagger their way off the drawing board but it was as Feltro Media that the White brothers exploded onto the international scene with their legendary set of Blur and Oasis covers at the Brighton Freebutt in 1998. To this day, thousands of rock snobs and A&R losers swear they were among the 12 audience members that night and even more claim to have witnessed the equally earth-shattering Empty Train Station gig.

“Our bass player’s mum had something to do with a kids charity” Alex recalls “so we did this gig that was sold to us as this big arena thing. We turned up and it was basically a railway platform and the vibe was, the train pulls up and all these kids get off, watch the band and then go and get on the bouncy castle. We set up this PA we’d hired, which was the loudest thing you’d ever heard and it was a bunch of six year old kids with their parents! There’s this photo of us looking amazingly pissed off, playing to one parent and a couple of kids and one of the kids has got its fingers in its ears”

Over a year and a half Feltro Media recorded three demo ‘albums’, the third of which caught the ear of the fledgling db records at the end of 2000. Cue a swift change of name to The Soft Parade, a lengthy stint in a Brighton studio recording ‘Holes In The Wall’ and their first, even lengthier stint on the road, where all their dreams of cocaine-smattered bosoms and bare-buttocked fire hydrant shenanigans came true. Er, right?

“If there was a whirlwind of hype surrounding us then there would probably be that” says Tom, an old lag’s head on a hormone-addled teenager’s body. “But we haven’t been hyped, so I don’t think it’s gonna happen. We’re not the kind of people who’d embrace that. For some people it’s play some music, have a f***, do some charlie. That’s all well and good but it’s not really us”.

“I think you’ve got to be into that lifestyle anyway to behave like that. It’s like when a lot of people say “Make sure you don’t turn into a rock ‘n’ roll dickhead”. I know some people who are famously dickheads, like Som out of My Vitriol, the famous loser. I was in the bogs backstage at Reading and he was standing there doing his make-up in the mirror and I went “Alright chief, you’re out of My Vitriol, aren’t you?” And he went “Yeah and what are you doing here?” Utterly tossy bloke, really dismissive. He was probably a dickhead to start with and then just happened to be in a band and be a dickhead.

If you wanna talk dickheads in bands, however, they don’t come bigger than the singer from The Soft Parade. That’s The Soft Parade USA of course, the Doors covers band who forced the Whites to add ‘Electric’ to their name so that they don’t get mistaken for the talentless Yanks.

“There’s a (!!) in America called Joe Russo” Tom hisses “who couldn’t be arsed with co-existence, even though he’s a covers band and we do original material. He’s a (!!)”

“This is great” Alex laughs. “He was going to sue us but we managed to pacify the situation, now Tom’s calling him a (!!)”

“He’s a (!!) basically. He’s a (!!) He sent us this really snotty lawyer’s letter saying we were damaging sales in France and Belgium because they released a record of their own material in ’92, so they’re suddenly this massive original act”

“Why opt for ‘Electric’?

“The Electric Prunes” Tom explains. “We were getting wasted listening to David Axelrod at the time so it seemed appropriate”

You decided against The Soft Prunes then?

“Yeah. And The Brighton Soft Parade” says Tom, skinning up.

“Actually, f***! In Thrills there was a joke review about a band called the Scottish Welsh Sex Pistols that I think is a dig at us. It’s about a tribute band of a tribute band. That’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?”

Er, why?

“The Soft Parade are a tribute band in the US and the band in Thrills had to change their name too. And there was another thing the other week in Thrills that I’m sure was a dig at us. “Indie band dropped for not mentioning Spinal Tap in interview” or something”.

Right. You do know one of the side effects of ingesting large amounts of cannabis is rampant paranoia?

“I get it a lot” Tom admits. “Ever since NME had a go at us in the Empty At The End single review we’ve both been a bit wooah!”

So, against the findings of decades of scientific research, it’s true. You really can read NME too much. For the sake of your mental health, readers, don’t you have an album to go buy?

Silent To The Dark – The Soft Parade (NME)

Silent To The Dark – NME Review Young people: so confoundedly unpredictable these days. While all around them rages a terribly ‘now’ 24-7 orgy of hard sex, soft drugs and silicone enhanced pop, The Soft Parade – aka 18 year old Alex White and 16-year old brother Tom – have spent hours cloistered away, constructing one of 2001’s most appealing debuts out of stunningly passe fossils like guitars and melodies and analogue whirrs.

So ‘Silent To The Dark’ starts and ends like Sparklehorse. In between lurks a song that would have done Oasis proud, if Teenage Fanclub hadn’t snaffled it first. It’s really good.

They’re doing it all wrong, you know, all wrong.

I’m in it for trucks full of penny sweets – The Soft Parade (NME)

All hail Ver Kids! Britannia rules the rave! Get ten rounds in and treat yourself to another rock because you, yes you, are the most blitz bastard mental Young People in Europe! OK, so you’re all pregnant by the age of ten, alcoholic by 12 and dead from smack before you can legally sip a shandy but bugger that for a laugh! Pass the hypodermic and make mine a ketamine and Red Bull!

And as night follows day, the new teenage pop sensation, as the spokesguzzlers for the New Arseholed Movement, must have livers of steel, stomachs like raisins and pupils like the spaceships in Independence Day. Er, musn’t they?

“What am I in it for?” asks Alex White, 19. “Money, girls, fame, blow jobs, stuff like that”

“Trucks full of ketamine” his 16-year old brother Tom adds.

Yowsa!

“No, not really” Alex laughs. “I’m in it for trucks full of penny sweets, that’s what I want”

Where we expect to find the croaky Voice Of Nu-Mental, there is instead a more accurate vision of this nation’s wasted youth. Alex and Tom are The Soft Parade, Brighton’s newest mutant radiation pop tykes who have made the most flabbergasting debut single since, well, The Strokes actually. It’s called Silent To The Dark and it starts off like Teenage Fanclub going stadium before mutating into a shimmery psycho-psychedelic finale. Which places them at the very epicentre of all that is cool and fly and sorted and aiiii in the world of teen nutterdom. The Soft Parade are actually the archetypal level-headed 21st century teenagers.

They drink fairly heavily but over-indulgence isn’t really their game. They know the benefits and dangers of the demon intoxicating Substance, know their limits and are politically aware enough to recognise Ann Widdecombe for the runtpig of Satan she is. “That virgin b****” Alex sneers. “I know loads of people who do pills or coke or smoke dope and they’re fine. But I know plenty of people whose lives have been wrecked because their dad’s an alcoholic who beats the shit out of them. How many people have died from doing pills? Hardly any in comparison”

So drug use is pretty common in your circle of friends?

“Pretty much everyone I hang out with does drugs” he admits. “If I said to my mum, “I do drugs” she’d go spare. But if I just explained that I smoke a bit of puff now and again and I’m well adjusted, I’m not dead, then hopefully she’d understand”

“To me, “doing drugs” is getting out of your skull on pills and coke” says Tom, “it’s not having a couple of pints and a spliff”

“My favourite philosophies belong to bands like Terris or Queens Of The Stone Age”, says Alex. “If you look at Queens versus Coldplay and their attitudes to the rock ‘n’ roll ethic, Chris Martin goes: “I’m a safe tea and Lemsip sort of boy” and Queens are going “See a drink, drink it, see a cigarette, smoke it, feel bad in the morning, f*** it”. That’s great. They’re having a laugh, but it’s serious. I’m disillusioned by Coldplay”

This generation needs a theme tune, like the 60’s had My Generation. So what would you call it? You’re My Besht Fuggin Mate? Congratulations Britney, It’s A Girl?

Alex thinks for a second. “I’d probably write a song called Everything’s Great!”