Clowns interview on BBC Sussex

Listen: Clowns on BBC Sussex

Two of the band members of Clowns joining me in the studio this afternoon; Miles is in the studio and Thomas.

TW: Good afternoon. M: Hello.

Good afternoon to you. It’s a big year for you and you’ve had some fantastic reviews already. I love the sound of some of these; “without doubt one of Brighton’s finest live bands turning wherever they play into a sweaty heaving mass” … I’m not sure whether that’s a compliment or not.

TW: Sounds disgusting.

It does sound disgusting, doesn’t it.

M: Not for daytime.

Was that what you started out wanting to do, provoke people into behaving like a sweaty heaving mass?

M: We’re definitely about the showy side of things really and high energy / high concept rock n roll.

It’s a lot of people’s dream to be in a band but of course making that reality is quite difficult as the grown up responsibilities take over. How’s that been for you.

M: Difficult but I take this man as my inspiration. He’s managed to avoid work for 10 years?

Have you managed to avoid work for 10 years?

TW: I have yeah, somehow I’ve managed to do it. It does take, often, playing in more than one band at one time or taking session work and doing whatever. I think if you decide to do something and decide to devote your life to it and…

Isn’t there always someone in the background saying “come on now, time to become an accountant, time to stop this carry on”.

TW: Yes.

It’s gonna be a big year for you because your CD is out this year. Just tell us a bit more about that.

M: We’ve got a single coming out on April 25th. That’ll be the debut single. That’s followed hopefully by an EP in the Summer and we’ve got an album already recorded that we’re currently trying to promote to different labels. So if anybody’s listening, please get in touch.

Is that your dream then, for one of the labels to say yeah, there we go and then stardom beckons after that.

M: Well I don’t know about that but to get things released is a definite plus.

It’s such a difficult and competitive world now, there’s a lot of the Simon Cowell influence, stars that are made from programmes like the X Factor as opposed to going out and doing the gigs and playing the various clubs.

M: I don’t even pretend to know anything about that side of things. I suppose we come from the DIY culture although most of the shelves I’ve put up have fallen down. This one’s stayed up so far so…

It’s a great analogy but of course if you’re going to come from that DIY culture, Brighton is a great place to be because there are some fantastic bands and it’s a really good live music scene isn’t it.

M: It’s fantastic here yeah.

And it must be good in amongst all of that to get these kind of reviews, to get people saying lovely things about you.

M: That’s great. If people enjoy the shows and people enjoy the music that’s fantastic ‘cos we just do it ‘cos we love it. If people love it, it’s fantastic.

Do you read the bad reviews as well?

M: We haven’t had any ‘cos we’re the best rock n roll band in the world.

Good! That’s what we like to hear… What we’ll do is we’ll dip in and out of your lives throughout the year, hear how you’re getting on and hear if any of those big labels do pick you up. It’d be nice to follow you through that triumph if that happens.

M: Thankyou very much Sarah.

Thankyou both very much for joining us in the studio.

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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.

Thomas White 12th Oct Radio Show Resume/Videos

Bands played on the last show for Radio Sharm on 12th October, 10pm-2am, Egyptian time.

The Fall, The Slip, Robert Pollard, Janelle Monae, Of Montreal, Beck, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Tame Impala, The White Stripes, Primus, Spiritualized, The Black Keys, Them Crooked Vultures, Keane, Deftones, Refused, The Trail Of Dead, White Denim, Moldy Peaches, Pixies, The Breeders, Queens Of The Stone Age, Hot Chip (with Robert Wyatt) Smog, Butthole Surfers, Sheryl Crow, Elliott Smith, Belle And Sebastian, Thin Lizzy, The Strokes, Kings Of Leon, Sparklehorse, Kraftwerk, Ricardo Villalobos, Melvins, Fucked Up, Arthur Russell, Stereolab, Bowie, Radiohead, Underworld, Mousse T versus Dandy Warhols, Ladytron, Sparks, Black Sabbath, Presidents Of The United States Of America, Dandy Warhols, Weezer, Blondie, Ian Dury And The Blockheads, Louis Armstrong, Broadcast, The Cardigans, Fleetwood Mac, The Clientele, Richard Hawley, Edvard Grieg, Sleater Kinney, Beth Gibbons, Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood (and more on the playlist afterwards)

Enjoy some songs from the show…

Janelle Monae – Tightrope: Watch Video
Richard Hawley – Open Up Your Door (video unavailable)
Radiohead – Talk Show Host – Glastonbury 2003: Watch Video Eurockeennes 2003: Watch Video
Smog – Cold Blooded Old Times – song set to fan vid: Watch Video
Butthole Surfers – Pepper (video unavailable)
Fleetwood Mac – Sara (video unavailable)

Thomas White 5th Oct Radio Show Resume/Videos

There was one live show this week on Tuesday 5th October. Thursday’s show was replaced with the playlist as Thomas was enjoying his holiday.

TW: “This is my 5th instalment of the show, I’ll be gone in a couple of weeks so enjoy…”

Artists played on the Tues 5th Oct show:

Presidents Of The United States Of America, Blur, The Fall, Shellac, Link Wray, Queens Of The Stone Age, Fiery Furnaces, Pavement, The Breeders, PJ Harvey, Pat Metheny, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Beatles, Maps And Atlases, Sufjan Stevens, Quack Quack, Paul Weller, Beck, The Cribs, Super Furry Animals, Doves, Spoon, Squeeze, The Walkmen, Deus, Health, Mystery Jets, Pilot, John Lennon, Colin Blunstone (of The Zombies) Dr. Dog, The Long Blondes, Interpol, Oasis, Mudhoney, Orange Goblin, Kyuss, Dr. Feelgood, The Joseph and Mary Chain (Field Music/The Futureheads + more) Mogwai, Animal Collective, American Analogue Set, David Bowie, Foo Fighters, You Am I, The Radar Brothers, The Cocteau Twins – and more on the playlist afterwards.

After playing Pat Metheny, Thomas talks about The Orchestrion: “It’s an instrument that Pat Metheny made which essentially is a guitar hooked up to a midi system and via a bunch of computer trickery, he is able to control a small mechanical orchestra with his guitar; and it’s really something to behold. He did a little tour with The Orchestrion and he made a record with it, so check it out. Extremely jazz but very good”

More info and video: patmetheny.com/orchestrioninfo

TW: “I’ve read two DBC Pierre novels in the last few days and I have to agree with the critics, ‘Vernon God Little’ does trump ‘Ludmila’s Broken English’ by quite a way but they’re both kind of good. Anyway this next song… there’s some descriptions of a kind of small Russian town that this girl comes from in ‘Ludmila’s Broken English’ and for some reason this song just sprang to mind (the chords…)”

Doves – Black And White Town: Watch Video

TW: “The mighty Jez Williams on guitar. Much as I like Doves I think his best work is actually as a session player with among others Saint Etienne, he played all the guitars on their Good Humour album which for me is the best thing he’s ever been involved in and I kind of told him that when I met him at a festival last year and he looked a bit nonplussed, poor chap”

Thomas talks about Colin Blunstone (of The Zombies) “Personally I think he should be revered among the best British voices of all time. Fantastic voice”

Colin Blunstone – Say You Don’t Mind (video unavailable)

He also played John Lennon’s #9 Dream: Watch Video

His birthday is 9th October and he would have been 70 Official Lennon Youtube

Thomas White 28th + 30th Sept Radio Show Resume/Videos

The shows started at 8pm UK time and usually continued past 12am (after the live broadcast there was a Playlist chosen by Thomas well into the early hours)

TW: “We’ve got another visitor in the studio – we’ve got another cat – it’s very sphinx-like”

Some artists played on the last 2 shows… Tues 28th Sept:

Air, Ladytron, Roxy Music, Ian Dury And The Blockheads, Queen, Of Montreal, Genesis (for Alex) Chemical Brothers, The Smiths, Dead Meadow, Tame Impala, Ween, Golden Earring, The Zombies, Mars Volta, Queens Of The Stone Age, The Walkmen, Why? Weezer, Wild Beasts, Mystery Jets, The Divine Comedy, Elliott Smith, Gillian Welch & Alison Krauss, Belle And Sebastian, Deus, Afghan Whigs, ZZ Top, Elastica, Burial, Underworld, Cornelius, Justice, Delphic, Aphex Twin, Radiohead with Bjork, Goldfrapp, Squarepusher, The Beastie Boys, Dreadzone, LCD Soundsystem, The Levellers, Fastball, REM, Sheryl Crow, The Pretenders, Pet Shop Boys, Field Music, Cake, Pavement, Silver Jews, Mark Knopfler, Elton John, Chicago (Peter Cetera) Head Automatica, Jimmy Eat World, Blink 182, Foo Fighters, David Bowie, Focus, Hawkwind (TW: “the cat in the studio hated it, she’s left”) Todd Rundgren, The Fall, Stereolab, The Dandy Warhols, MGMT, Mansun, Crowded House, Broadcast, Hole.

Just one of the many bands recommended by Thomas White on his show…

Tame Impala (from Perth, Australia) Half Full Glass Of Wine – Innerspeaker album on Modular Recordings.

Thurs 30th Sept: This show included an hour of Bond Themes (see below)

Caribou, Max Tundra, Pet Shop Boys, Franz Ferdinand, Dandy Warhols, Mystery Jets, Marina And The Diamonds, Harry Nielsen, Richard Harris, The Carpenters, Fiery Furnaces, Captain Beefheart, Supergrass, Deftones, Queens Of The Stone Age, Sparks, Deerhunter, Klaxons, George Michael, Grandaddy, Weezer, Beatles, The National, Deus, Blur, Paul McCartney, Nazareth, Nina Simone, Beth Gibbons, Edan (for Alex) Soul Coughing, MF Doom (for Alex) And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, The Wedding Present, REM, The Divine Comedy, Sparks, Marnie Stern, Swans, Wire, Goldfrapp, Elbow, Pulp, Television, Air, Field Music, Ian Brown, Steve Mason, Mission Of Burma, Doves, British Sea Power.

There was also an hour of Bond Themes: Including Paul McCartney (Live And Let Die) Shirley Bassey (Diamonds Are Forever, Goldfinger) Sheryl Crow (Tomorrow Never Dies) Tom Jones (Thunderball) Sheena Easton (For Your Eyes Only) Tina Turner (Golden Eye) Gladys Knight (Licence To Kill) Carly Simon (Nobody Does It Better) Louis Armstrong (We Have All The Time In The World) and more.

TW: Here’s a classic Bond Theme, this is amazing, this is a great one, Sheryl Crow, Tomorrow Never Dies. There was also a really good song titled Tomorrow Never Lies that Pulp made and put forward for the film. Didn’t get chosen but it was a bside around the same time. It’s a great song if you can hunt that down. Sheryl Crow, this is among my favourites.

VIDEO ABOUT THE SONG: JAMES BOND’S GREATEST HITS – part 6

TW: I’ve sneakily saved my personal two favourite Bond Themes for the last 10 minutes of this hour… (Plays Gladys Knight, Licence To Kill) After playing Carly Simon, Nobody Does It Better: Whilst that is a fantastic song, no doubt one of the best, there’s one song which bizarrely people in England associate more with a Guinness advert than with a Bond Theme but Bond Theme it was and this is my fave. Louis Armstrong (We Have All The Time In The World)

Thomas White 23rd Sept Radio Show Resume/Video

Some of the artists played on the second show, 23rd Sept, were:

ELO, Queen, Tears For Fears, Todd Rundgren, St. Vincent, Finlay Quaye, Sheryl Crow, Camera Obscura, Chicago, Hole, Supergrass, REM, Doves, Of Montreal, Sparks, Quack Quack (from Leeds) Maximo Park, MGMT, Electrelane, Mystery Jets, Black Moth Super Rainbow, The Proclaimers, Goldfrapp, Felix Da Housecat, Air, Groove Armada, Spiritualized, Beth Gibbons (Portishead) Smog, Paul Weller, Dire Straits, BB King, Bonnie Prince Billy, Bent, Idlewild, Field Music, Manics, Wilco, Yo La Tengo, Bill Callahan, Television, Sonic Youth, Of Montreal.

The show started slightly late after a technical hitch and ended with 3 songs in 30 minutes. TW: “I figured I’d play three ten minute songs in a row, I hope no-one minds, they’re good ten minute songs…” Earlier Thomas dedicated Chicago to Alex: “The mighty Danny Seraphine on drums, fantastic, Chicago, Saturday In The Park, what a band”. After playing Black Moth Super Rainbow: “I believe they’ve been on tour with the Flaming Lips or they’re somehow affiliated… oh we’ve got a little visitor, we’ve got a cat in the studio, isn’t that nice…”

Once again there was the after 12am Playlist (UK time) with back-to-back songs starting off with Lennon’s Real Love (recently covered by TW) Thomas White FacebookThomas White Myspace

Here’s something wonderful from the September 23rd show: Mystery Jets – Dreaming Of Another World

Thomas White 21st Sept Radio Show Resume

Some of the artists played on the Tuesday 21st Sept show: Dandy Warhols, Underworld, Ladytron, Basement Jaxx, The Breeders, Oasis, Soul Coughing, Primus, Sonic Youth, The Who, ZZ Top, Fun, Wolfmother, T-Rex, Queens Of The Stone Age, Guided by Voices, Todd Rundgren, Chili Peppers, The Beach Boys, Air, Goldfrapp, Cocteau Twins, British Sea Power, Stereolab, Tiger, Beck, Super Furry Animals, Liars, Elvis Costello, Pet Shop Boys, Josh Homme, Robert Wyatt, Flaming Lips, Trashcan Sinatras, Sparklehorse, The Clientele, Elvis Presley, Graham Coxon, Nick Drake, Bill Callahan (Smog) Elliott Smith and more.

TW quoted just after playing The Who: “don’t know about you but all I could hear was drums, not a bad thing”. Thomas loves the Pet Shop Boys more than Josh Homme. Alex introduced him to the Elvis track (hopefully more input from him in future) Later on after the live broadcast there was also a 50’s Playlist put together by Thomas which was another show in itself.

Thomas White Live on RadioSharmLive – Tuesday 21st Sept 8pm

From the Thomas White Myspace Blog As some of you may know, I’m currently basting myself in the heat of the Red Sea, spending the coming weeks in the beautiful Dahab, on the East coast of the Sinai peninsula, Egypt. I’m staying with my lovely friend, Claire, who’s been living here for the past few years. The local radio station (where Claire also works) have kindly given me a slot! My first show, yet to be named, will be this coming Tuesday 21st, 10pm-2am (8pm-12am UK time)

Thomas White Video + Audio, March 2010

Guildford Boileroom, 31st March by mattytheduke – Scroll down for recent radio show audio.

Dermot O’Leary, 20th March – Shaun Keaveny stands in: Fan recordings of the songs Thomas covered and the interview: Transcript here

Warren Zevon’s Accidentally Like A MartyrMark Linkous of Sparklehorse, Maria’s Little Elbows

Interview Part OneInterview Part TwoInterview Part Three

XFM Xposure with John Kennedy, 17th March: Fan recordings of just the songs Thomas covered, not the interview (the sound was distorted) Transcript here

Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, Maria’s Little ElbowsGuided by Voices, Game Of Pricks

I’ll See You In My Dreams, from the twenties hit parade

Thomas White and The Boys on Radio 2 transcript

Thomas White on Dermot O’Leary, 20th March – Shaun Keaveny stands in.

Here’s fan recordings of the songs Thomas covered and the interview.

Warren Zevon’s Accidentally Like A MartyrMark Linkous of Sparklehorse, Maria’s Little Elbows

Interview Part OneInterview Part TwoInterview Part Three

SK: Next in the studio, it seems rude to say a man because it’s not one man, it’s 4 men. It’s one man who has played with more musicians than Kate Moss; ex of The Electric Soft Parade, as they’re better known of course, ESP, he has struck out bravely and alone into the tundra of the musical landscape. He is here with us to play some new songs. It’s Tom White; good afternoon Tom.

TW: Good afternoon, how’s it going.

SK: Very good to see you guys but I must, first of all scan from left to right. It isn’t just Tom of course. It’s your brother Alex on keys, also ex of The Electric Soft Parade.

TW: STILL of The Electric Soft Parade.

SK: Ex sounds so final, doesn’t it.

TW: We still rehearse every Friday, 7pm.

SK: You really do? That’s fantastic… Andrew with the beard here on guitar and Damo of course. You’re a mysterious figure to my right. What are you going to be contributing – vocals?

D: Just a little harmony here and there.

SK: Lovely, there’s a nice understatement to your presence and I like that.

D: It’s quite rare as well.

SK: So it’s a new project, we’ve got the new album of course, The Maximalist. First of all can you describe to the listeners what’s happening on the front cover, what’s the inspiration behind it.

TW: I’m really chuffed because pretty much every interview we’ve done, people talk about the sleeve and I think that’s great. It’s a photograph that a good friend of ours, a guy called Keith Boadwee, who’s an American artist and lecturer, he lives in San Francisco. And it’s a piece of his called Berries which is essentially him squashing blackberries into his eyes. And it looks kind of quite disarming and a little bit scary at first but it’s just fruit. It’s nothing untoward happening really.

SK: It looks a little bit like a stigmata Christ pose. It looks like tears running down somebody’s face – like a mask of red tears.

TW: It’s just a really striking image I think. I saw it on his website, infact he followed ESP around when we played in California. He’s a big fan of ours and we kind of got to know him. I kind of saw it as a modern day In The Court Of The Crimson King (info)

SK: Very striking and arresting image, isn’t it. You were just talking about Electric Soft Parade. So you’re still a going concern?

TW: Yeah, we haven’t put a record out for a couple of years but… we will, we will.

SK: And it’s clear to all that this is not a Gallagher-esque sibling relationship? You seem to be quite at peace with eachother…

TW: You should have seen us parking outside a minute ago. It got pretty heated.

AW: We’re civil on radio.

SK: Actually, I must admit, off air it did get a little blue. It’s fair to say, I remember playing the first Electric Soft Parade singles about seven or eight years ago now.

AW: Thanks by the way, cheers.

TW: And you got the year right. A lot of people say “you guys came out in the late 90’s” – I was thirteen in the late 90’s!

SK: It was 2002 I think, wasn’t it?

TW: That’s the first record.

SK: Silent To The Dark was a big hit and you were Mercury nominated. So, is it a good thing or a bad thing for a young man’s psyche to have quite a lot of success quite young. Are you happy that’s happened, or would you have preferred it the other way around?

TW: I think we had to do a lot of back tracking, it kind of happened so fast; pretty much career in reverse if you like. We did all that on our first record and then we did all the evolving afterwards if you like. Most bands start on a little indie and work up and then 3rd or 4th record they’re breaking through… and it was so quick. We did have to do a bit of back-tracking and we did a lot of thinking.

SK: That you didn’t have the chance to do before…

AW: It’s frustrating to think we’re much better now, as a group, as players and people and everything. We know what we’re doing. We’ve got our craft honed. We didn’t really know what we were doing. To think we might have played shows to thousands of people and it was just a bit like a bunch of kids in a garage really, it was about that good. And yet we were given this world stage whereas now we’re much tighter… and we’re playing to 20 people back in the same garage.

SK: But you’re building it up, aren’t you. Isn’t that the problem with the record industry in a nutshell, that these days they give a lot straight upfront and it’s difficult for people to sustain that. Perhaps in the seventies and eighties, it was more likely…

AW: I was just about to say, sounds of the 70’s surely is bands getting 4 albums in and suddenly having a hit and labels believing in them that far; that’s gone.

SK: It has totally gone hasn’t it. What are the upsides and downsides of the current music culture for you as musicians would you say.

TW: Well there’s just so much music around, which is a good thing. And labels are much more – as Cooking Vinyl have been with my record – they’re much more up for putting home-made records out and home-grown things. The whole notion of a label spending 50 hundred grand on a record has kind of gone out of the window. And there’s a lot more artists releasing their own music… which does mean it’s saturated more than ever but at the same time, the internet has allowed people to release records really cheaply; formats and laptop music and stuff is allowing people to make records for next to nothing in their bedrooms… and DJ’s and labels are taking that music now as seriously as other records.

SK: It is baffling though the array of stuff that’s available to your fingertips; you can just type something into a search engine and have it downloaded within seconds. That instant gratification leaves something to be desired sometimes. It was nice in the old days wasn’t it…

TW: I still buy records. I make sure I buy 2 or 3 records every month, physical releases. I’ll never tire of having a sleeve in my hand. That’s the passion…

AW: I think it’s amazing that given that this is the way things are now; that tracks are the thing, not albums. The fact we listened to the St. Vincent album, Actor, on the way up – amazing record, an album, a piece of work, fun as well. There’s a whole bunch of bands and Tom’s record – it’s a record that goes in sequence, it’s like a piece of work and I think it’s amazing that given how the land lies now, that there’s still bands/artists out there making bodies of work – that that still exists, the concept of an album.

TW: It’s almost if you’re into the idea of an album, all that stuff drives you to make even stronger pieces, rather than just tracks or singles.

SK: For me the most disappointing thing about the change in the record industry is that they don’t fly people like me out to New York for parties anymore for album launches and things.

AW: It’s all a bit “tighten our belts”.

SK: That’s over now. You’re lucky if you get taken to a pizza restaurant now. You’ve got to pay for your own beer when you get there.

AW: We got bought our lunch today, that’s all good. TW: Thankyou Cooking Vinyl. AW: There’s no such thing as a free lunch. SK: Exactly, you should know that by now.

SK: Well listen, what are you going to play for us first?

TW: We’re going to kick off with what I think is going to be the next single off the record, which is a cover of the late, great Warren Zevon’s Accidentally Like A Martyr, which one stupid reviewer called Almost Like A Martyr – which shows you how much journalists care about tracklistings. Anyway…

SK: Take it away boys.

TW: This is Almost, I mean, Accidentally Like A Martyr.

SK: That was absolutely beautiful, I can honestly say that. Accidentally Like A Martyr, Warren Zevon, performed by the boys here and Thomas White at the centre.

TW: You’ve just named my band. We didn’t have a name. It’s “Thomas White and The Boys”… The best we had so far was Travelodge. We were just trying to find the most mundane names. Or, The Travellers Cheques. AW: That is my favourite yeah. TW: Just utter rubbish.

SK: Tommy and The Travellers Cheques, what about that, that’s very early 60’s that. D: Texture never caught on did it. SK: You could have Gumtree if you want, my original band Mosque, we decided that Mosque was too contentious, so we changed it to Gumtree. D: Spore…

SK: If you want, you can have this; The Labradors Of Perception. That, in all honesty, is going to be my next band name but I haven’t got around to using it. If you want to run with it, you can have it.

AW: You just made me choke on my coffee there!

SK: It’s a little bit Huxley, a little bit Blue Peter.

TW: Well Alex is in a band called The Power Of Attourney which is a cracking name (band name taken from youtube)

SK: But beautiful 4-part harmonies coming together… It’s nice to hear, I don’t know if you agree with me, this Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young-esque 4-part vocals that are coming in. A lot more people seem to be influenced by it these days. I just think it’s a lovely thing to hear. You can’t go wrong with a few people singing close harmony.

AW: There’s a few Todd Rundgren fans in this band as well, well two.

SK: It all comes though in the music.

AW: Yeah, layered stuff is brilliant.

SK: It’s really beautiful. I hear that some of the boys in the band, especially you Tom, are quite into your cookery. Is this true?

TW: Yes I’m a fairly good cook, I like to think.

SK: So what would you do; you’re in Celebrity MasterChef and you’ve got this to cook with: shallots, capers, pork medallion, basmati rice, coconut and/or tamarind. What are you going to do with it?

TW: Sorry, say it again?

(SK repeats it)

TW: You could do light curry with that – see that’s the bit I really freak out at, the bit of MasterChef where they give you the very limited ingredients and it’s like hang on, I’d be rubbish at that.

AW: Thai green curry with pork… I would just have to punch them if I was on it.

TW: What I love about them is the way they describe the food as they’re eating it: “I’m getting sweet ginger, I’m getting savoury”… it’s just brilliant.

SK: I don’t know if anybody saw it earlier in the week, my wife and I are completely obsessed with it, and a woman – the poor, poor lady, made a cheesecake. Gregg and John tasted it and their faces turned sort of green and orange, all contorted. And John went “I think you’ve put salt in there instead of sugar”. And she had, she’d done a cheesecake with salt. Which is nothing if not original.

TW: Salty cheesecake. AW: She should’ve just used the capers and the pork, sod it, stick it all in.

SK: I think as well accidentally, Tom’s come across the better name for the band; Salty Cheesecake. You can have that for nothing as well.

D: Anchovies Cake Like A Martyr. TW: Punning away there…

SK: Don’t go yet because we’ve got another performance here, I’m looking forward to some other layered vocals. What are you gonna play for us now?

TW: We’re gonna do another sadly late great artist, Mr Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse. We’re going to do a tune of his as a little tribute and it’s a song called Maria’s Little Elbows from his Good Morning Spider album.

SK: Right, fantastic, Ok. Well take it away boys.

SK: That was excellent, really, really beautiful. Thankyou very much indeed for that. TW: Thankyou Shaun.

SK: And what I also like, if I’m honest, is the fact that you’ve come in here, it’s Radio 2 and you’ve done a couple of other people’s songs. There’s a sort of a lack of ego to that I think.

TW: You’ve got to give people props haven’t you.

SK: You’ve got to give people props, that’s exactly the right thing. Tributes to some wonderful songwriters there. But, your own music here, in its entirety on The Maximalist, what can people expect when they rush out to buy it.

TW: It’s a fairly broad mix of various different influences. There was a review in Uncut magazine which kind of put it pretty well:

From the TW Myspace “The Maximalist opens the dam of ostensibly conflicting styles and releases the deluge in all its’ crazily self-confident, so-wrong-it’s-right glory. White fuses elements of The Who, Chicago, My Bloody Valentine, Queens Of The Stone Age, Badalamenti and Badfinger, which is not just a feat of cut-and-paste engineering, but also proof of his verve, vivid imagination and fervent love of music”

SK: If you don’t find something for you in the middle of that, there’s something wrong with YOU, not the music.

TW: Fair point.

SK: Before we let you go, guys, we had Professor Brian Cox in in the last hour.

TW: Sadly not the Dundonian Brian Cox, Andrew here’s a Dundonian, he was hoping to… SK: The actor Brian Cox. AW: I watched his programme the other day, not that one, the one you’re talking about. SK: The physicist. We have got a few leftover questions. By the way, Glen in Leeds suggests another band name, Discounts For Vicars. TW: Ah yes! SK: I think Salty Cheesecake myself. Here’s a question for you…

SK: Does dark energy exist Tom and if so, how can it be measured.

TW: At this point I’ll pass you over to the resident physicist in the band, Mr Damo Waters.

D: No. AW: You can’t see it, that’s the problem. D: It’s a mathematical construct, it hasn’t been proven to exist physically at all. It’s all speculation and everything is riding on all these people making these assumptions. And for all we know, it’s complete fabrication.

SK: Wow, well I’ve got one more for Damo. I thought dark energy emitted from Mariah Carey to be honest. What is the answer to the unification problem.

D: You’ve just got to get them in the mood, get them together down by the fire, it’ll all come together eventually.

SK: Well, I don’t know what to say, it’s been a wonderful pleasure to have you guys in. I wish we could just ride out the rest of the show like this but we can’t. The album is out in the shops now I think.

TW: It’s out now, as of the 15th.

SK: The Maximalist. We look forward to hearing ESP when they come back. Do you have ESP between you, extra-sensory perception?

AW: We have it. TW: We finish eachothers sentences, all the usual sibling stuff.

SK: Thomas White and The Boys, aka Salty Cheesecake. TW: Aka was it Discounts For Vicars… Travelodge!