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.