THOMAS WHITE INTERVIEW ON JUICE RADIO

The show started at 7pm, Thomas came on just before 8.30pm. Listen again from this page: mixcloud.com/TonyMarksNewMusicShow

From Electric Soft Parade we’ve got Thomas White in the studio, hello Thomas.

TW: How you doing sir.

You’ve literally just arrived and we’re chucking you straight on.

TW: Straight in at the deep end.

That’s how we roll.

TW: Perfect, suits me.

So how’s things with Electric Soft Parade because you did a gig late last year with Brakes, which is the other part of you and Alex’s band, and also with British Sea Power as well. That was a charity gig at Concorde 2.

TW: Yeah, there was a bunch of us involved. It was our first show as Electric Soft Parade in 3 years and we just got a really nice response so we’ve booked a residency at a little place called The Prince Albert in Brighton and I guess that’s why I’m on the show isn’t it… The irony is, it sold out last week. It’s only a tiny little pub but it sold out well in advance; all really encouraging. We’ve been working the last few months on new stuff, it’s all just starting to happen again, which is kind of scary because we’ve been a band now for 10 years. But yeah, all just really exciting.

You must’ve known the demand was there, that people wanted to come and see you. There’s obviously a lot of love for you and the band in Brighton and there has been for a long long time.

TW: It’s kind of weird though because the last time we came in to Juice to chat to you was in the run up to that show in December and we really had no idea how that gig was gonna go and what the response would be. We thought really, in a bit of a tizz, we booked a bunch of other bands thinking we wouldn’t be able to play that show just on our own. It turned out the response was fantastic and really gave us confidence in what we were doing again. It had been so long and bands just come and go, don’t they. We had this kind of sneaking doubt that no-one would really care what we were up to or who we were anymore but it wasn’t the case.

Nice to know that was proved wrong. Going into that gig, in aid of Martlets Hospice, when you went into that gig was there any thought in your mind at that time, “we’ve got to get the band back fulltime”, or was it literally just, “we’re only doing this as a one off and let’s see what happens”.

TW: Well me and my brother, we’d deliberately taken a couple of years off from the band. We got to the point where we had about 20 new songs that we’d written and demoed. We both kind of liked the idea of bands just “doing what they do”, regardless of fashions coming and going. It’s great when a band just sticks to their guns and essentially never stops. A lot of the bands we love do that; bands like Guided By Voices, tons of bands. Regardless of how their career fluctuates, they operate as a band regardless of the rest of the world, pretty much. We kind of figured we’d have another pop at it, it’s all going tickety boo isn’t it.

There’s literally nothing to stop you, you and your brother, you think “why don’t you just make more music”.

TW: We’re going to crack on with a fourth record. It’s very early days, we’re still getting used to playing together, playing these songs. On Wednesday we’re playing the whole of our first record which is quite a big deal for us. A lot of those songs are more than ten years old now and it’s like playing songs written by someone else, it genuinely is. So quite a strange experience. We spent the day rehearsing today, infact the reason Alex isn’t here chatting to you guys in radioland is ‘cos he’s back home doing his homework, or he should be anyway. Rifling through Lyric sheets and all the rest…

Make sure he doesn’t screw up on the night!!

TW: I will warn people now. We’re gonna have to have music stands with Lyric sheets on, ‘cos it’s not gonna happen. It’s a big undertaking doing a whole record in sequence and aside from that, we’re doing our entire back catalogue over 3 months so it’s a lot of stuff to learn but we figured we’re at that point where we need to do something like that to kind of draw a line under what we’ve already done and start afresh.

You’ve got your guitar round your neck there, Thomas, we’d love you to play a live track on the show, so tell us what you’re going to play for us.

TW: Do I not even get a soundcheck?

We can do a soundcheck if you like or we can just go for it.

TW: I did a tour late last year supporting a band called The Levellers who are from Brighton as well. When I play on my own I generally don’t like to play my own songs, just ‘cos I write songs with a very specific arrangement in mind, with specific instrumentation. So a lot of the time if I play acoustic, I’ll cover other people’s songs, which I think is an underrated thing to do anyway. I think more people should be open as to what their influences are. Anyway, enough of my yacking… This is a Bill Callahan song and it’s called Vessel In Vain.

That was absolutely beautiful, Thomas White on Brighton’s Juice 107.2. Thankyou very much. That was just sensational, loved that, amazing. You’re here to talk about your band, The Electric Soft Parade, who are doing a… TW: A very silly thing. DJ: A silly thing? No, a beautiful thing, a wonderful thing, a thing we’re all grateful for; you’re going to be playing the last 3 albums in their entirety at The Prince Albert – a monthly residency that you’re doing. And then, you’re starting again from scratch almost, starting a new chapter in the lives of The Electric Soft Parade.

TW: Yeah on the fourth one, like I say we’ve written a bunch of new stuff. We’re gonna play as many new songs as we can fit into an hour and see how they go down. A lot of bands feel the same in the sense that the Album/Tour cycle happens pretty much the wrong way round and we want to kind of “right” that. Pretty much every band makes a record; writes it, records it and then tours it. Surely the logical way round is to write stuff and then tour it, see people’s reaction and then record the thing but it never happens that way because of how the industry works. We’re not signed to a label at the moment so we really do have that privilege for the first time, so we’re going to damn well do that.

Good for you. You’re a pretty prolific songwriter aren’t you Thomas; 3 Electric Soft Parade albums, 3 Brakes albums, two of your own Solo albums. Have you got dozens and dozens of tracks or albums tucked away somewhere waiting to get released?

TW: At this point I’ll quote the great Robert Pollard. Infact I’ve referenced Robert Pollard twice in this interview already; Robert Pollard, the singer-songwriter from Guided By Voices, there’s a great quote. He’s notoriously prolific. Legend has it he’s got a suitcase somewhere in his house with 10,000 cassette tapes full of songs that he’s written, you know, just reams and reams of stuff. There’s this great quote, he says: “I can write 5 songs while sitting on the toilet and 3 of them will be good”.

What a beautiful image.

TW: I’m not quite that prolific and I don’t write songs on the toilet.

That’s good to know.

TW: I get busy and if I find myself idle I do write quite a fair bit but also, being brothers in a band, we’re extremely honest about quality control, it’s like nothing gets past either of us.

Is Alex like sometimes “Thomas that was crap!”

TW: We can be our own harshest critics ‘cos it’s fine, we’re never gonna insult eachother, we’re brothers. It’s a good balance, it’s a good thing.

And do you ever fall out in a big way?

TW: We did today actually, we were arguing about something extremely boring and musical which no-one in radioland is gonna be bothered about, it was just such a specific thing. We had a little teensy falling out but it was all fine 5 minutes later, you know.

So you’re playing on Wednesday night, you’re playing at The Prince Albert. You are literally playing your first album, Holes In The Wall is getting played in its entirety.

TW: Yeah we’re gonna do Holes In The Wall with a couple of B-sides. We put the feelers out of Facebook and asked if anyone had any specific requests and there was one B-side which a lot of people mentioned from that era so we’re gonna do that as well but essentially it’s the record as it was.

And then a month later you’re gonna do the second album then the third album…

TW: Then we’re in Summer and we’ll just be on the beach having the time of our lives with everyone else, eating cockles and mussels and whelks.

Let’s play a track from the first album, Holes In The Wall. We thought we’d go with There’s A Silence, which seems a good choice.

TW: Take it away me…

Thanks very much Thomas White on Brighton’s Juice 107.2. The gig is sold out on Wednesday which is frustrating but make sure you get the next one. Cheers Thomas.

TW: Cheers man.

If you’re lucky enough to have tickets to The Prince Albert on Wednesday night you’re in for an absolute treat, the whole album being played in its entirety.

HOLES IN THE WALL LYRICS/AUDIO/VIDEO

ELECTRIC SOFT PARADE talk about their 15 December show

Electric Soft Parade were interviewed on Juice Radio to promote their December 15th show at Concorde 2 in aid of The Martlets Hospice – read the transcript below.

Listen Again to Thomas + Alex interviewed on Juice (DJ also plays There’s A Silence)

Also playing at ‘Maximalism’: Thomas White/British Sea Power/Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster/Field Music/The Chap/The Pure Conjecture/DJ’s: Mystery Jets.

DJ: You may have heard we mentioned several times on the show about the big gig happening in Brighton tomorrow night (December 15th) taking place at Concorde 2, it’s the Maximalism gig put together by The Electric Soft Parade. We’re joined in the studio right now by Thomas and Alex from The Electric Soft Parade. How are you gentlemen.

ESP: Very good. DJ: You’re still looking pretty cold there Thomas. T: I’ve still got my gloves on. DJ: You’ve got your gloves on, got your scarf on. T: Well it’s winter. DJ: You’ve been in this building for 20 minutes and you’re still freezing. T: Alright I’ll take ’em off. DJ: It looks like you’re stopping for a little while. T: Yeah, getting settled.

DJ: But you’re here because there’s a very important gig happening tomorrow night which you’ve put on, it’s the Maximalism gig. Why don’t you tell us about this gig. We’ve talked about the artists on the show but tell us the story behind the gig.

A: About 18 months ago now mine and Tom’s Mother died from cancer and she was cared for at The Martlets Hospice in Hove in the last few weeks of her life. We were just very touched by the way these guys dealt with all the patients and just their general attitude. Specifically with the care they provided for our Mum. We were motivated to try and raise some money for them from that experience.

They’re a charity, they’re a small organisation, not subsidised by anyone really (the government) We just thought probably everyone who’s had a relative in there or a friend… they’d want to get some sort of donation together to give to them. We thought we’re probably some of the only people who could do that; organise a gig where you could get bands to play and raise a load of money. Most people could just raise a few hundred pounds themselves. We thought we could actually raise quite a few thousand, that’s the idea.

We started putting it together and Tom’s done quite a lot of the work. He spoke to a lot of the bands and called in favours basically from over the years. We’re just trying to raise as much money as we can for the Hospice. It’s a personal thing for us, obviously. The idea was to make a great gig that had our favourite bands from the area that are out today and just make as much money as we can. Simple as that.

DJ: It’s a bit of a dream line-up in terms of the bands you’ve got on; a Brighton dream team of bands playing. Tell us why you chose these particular bands apart from the fact they are the best bands in Brighton. How long have you been friends with these artists. British Sea Power are kind of the big name you’ve pulled in, are they.

T: It’s quite crazy because the last time Electric Soft Parade, British Sea Power and the Eighties Matchbox guys played a gig together was pretty much 10 years ago to the day in the Hobgoblin and we were all unsigned and it was the first time any of us had played together.

It’s rather bizarre to think 10 years on we’ve done all this stuff and made all these records and getting back together and playing a gig and that’s great… obviously a lot of Brighton bands involved and Brighton people involved backstage in the running of it.

We’ve also got Field Music playing, which is a real coup for us. They’re simply one of the best British bands working today and that’s a real honour to have them involved. And also The Chap as well, they’re a great band from London.

It’s just really surprising that everyone’s offered to come and play for nothing and just make the best line-up possible. One of the things we made a deal out of was, yes, it’s a personal thing and we want to honour our Mother and give something back to these people. But actually a lot of the time at charity gigs people don’t know us, they don’t care, they just want to see a good show. We wanted to make sure it worked as a gig, so that someone could go along and not know the back story and just enjoy it on its own merits as a great little mini festival type thing.

DJ: So instead of just pulling on people’s heart strings…

T: Obviously it matters to us but we wanted it to be a great show on its own merits as a gig, we cared about that as well. That was in our minds as well when putting the line-up together. So it’s both angles.

DJ: We’ll play one of your tracks in a moment. It’ll be great to get some Electric Soft Parade on the show because this is a new music show, we haven’t really played anything by you guys for a while.

A: That’s old music. DJ: We are going to play some old music tonight, we’re going to totally rip up the format. A: You’ll have people tuning out, don’t do that.

DJ: Nah they’ll be fine. We’re going to play something that’s a few years old from British Sea Power as well. We’ve been playing their new record which is called Living Is So Easy. We thought we’d go with something from a few years ago, something more rousing perhaps from the album Do You Like Rock Music. So this is British Sea Power with Waving Flags.

DJ: Unbelievably good live, British Sea Power with Waving Flags. If you want to see them live they’re playing tomorrow night (Wed 15th Dec) at Concorde 2. It’s part of the Maximalism gig which is taking place which has been put together by Thomas and Alex from The Electric Soft Parade who are still with us. Also Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster are on the bill as well, the brilliant Field Music. Electric Soft Parade will be performing of course. The Chap too. DJ set from Mystery Jets. Have I missed anyone?

TW: I’m going to be doing a set, I’ve got the worst slot of the whole evening. I’m going to play a slot with my solo band. DJ: With your solo band?! T: I’ve got like a solo band and a choir. So we’re going to do a set dressed in psychedelic robes and glitter.

A: Genuine Egyptian psychedelic robes.

T: Just after doors. So we’ll be on about 6.15pm. Warm everyone up, get everyone in there. And then we’ll get on with the real music.

DJ: I think people will want to see that and if that doesn’t encourage people to get there nice and early.

T: Yeah, this night is all about multi-tasking; a lot of overlaps, certain people playing in a bunch of different bands… Noble from British Sea Power’s playing in a kind of super group that we’re involved in as well.

A: That’s the other one that you forgot; The Pure Conjecture is the name of the band. DJ: I saw the name and to be honest I’m not familiar.

A: No-one is because it’s a brand new band. You would be familiar with most of the people I would think. It’s Martin from Sea Power, myself and laddy boy here and a bunch of others. Steve Grainger who’s played in a bunch of bands (The Customers) produced records and stuff. Who else; Johny Lamb from Thirty Pounds Of Bone. Matt Twaites from Restlesslist. Matt Eaton from various bands in Brighton is a friend of all these people, he wrote a record and put the band together; 10 piece band – recorded at the Metway, the Levellers studio in Kemptown. Put the band together live in the studio, recorded it like an old-school 70’s record. This is the first time, possibly the last time ever, the band’s gonna be together in one place and do a show. Very exciting.

DJ: Has the running order been announced yet. A: It’s not been announced officially…

T: We want people to come down and watch everything.

A: It’s negotiable; we’ll see what happens. The idea is for Tom to open and The Chap to finish, that’s the idea.

DJ: So it starts at 6 O’clock, people need to get there straight from work.

A: Don’t even have any dinner… Grab something on the way down, grab a sandwich. Just get there. Music is your food tomorrow. Just don’t even eat dinner. Don’t have a shower, nothing, just get there.

DJ: It’s £20 a ticket, you’ll be able to get tickets at Resident and Rounder up to about 3 O’clock.

T: There will be tickets on the door but get there early to avoid disappointment.

DJ: It’s such a great line-up and all the money does go to Martlets Hospice.

A: A little word about the Auction.

T: There’s gonna be a bizarre raffle/silent auction. We’ve put together some very bizarre prizes. That’s to be enjoyed as well.

DJ: Are you going to stop the music to do an auction?

A: It’s going to be running through the evening then we’ll announce who’s won. These are things that people would have to pay quite a considerable fee for in the real world.

T: There’s a couple that are pretty unique, just really bizarre prizes.

A: Again all of that money’s going into the pot so we’re coming from every angle in terms of raising money.

DJ: I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I wasn’t to ask you about the future of Electric Soft Parade. It’s been 3 years since you last played in Brighton, all the more reason people should catch you tomorrow. Is this the last chance to catch you?

T: We’ll see how it goes. We took a break for various reasons. Me and Al play in a band called Brakes as well, we were doing that pretty full on. The last time ESP played in Brighton was at Duke Of Yorks cinema, we did a show with full visuals and stuff in December 2007. Then we took a few years out.

I think the idea with this show was to test the water and most importantly, see how we felt about it and see how it goes and people’s reaction. In theory it could be the final nail in the coffin or it could be the start of the next 5 years of making more records and touring and doing all that. So we’ll see…

DJ: Excellent, well we look forward to finding out the result of that. Gentlemen, thankyou so much for coming in tonight.

A: Thankyou very much for having us in and taking the time to let us speak about this. It’s obviously close to our hearts, it’s a very good cause.

DJ: It’s a pleasure. So tomorrow night (December 15th) at Concorde 2, the gig. It’s called Maximalism featuring Field Music, Electric Soft Parade, British Sea Power, Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, The Chap, The Pure Conjecture, it’s just a brilliant line-up. Mystery Jets are DJing. It’s £20 a ticket, all the money goes direct to the Martlets Hospice.

We would love you to go – tickets will be on sale at the door but you do have to get there early. Right shall we do one of yours…

A: Why not. DJ: One of your oldies, one of your classics… A: Throw it on. T: An old ranter.

DJ: This is Electric Soft Parade, There’s A Silence, on Juice.