Electric Soft Parade: Interviews 2006

2006 era quotes on The Human Body EP and then to be released album No Need To Be Downhearted.

Interviews in alphabetical order: BBC 6 Music, BBC 6 Music News, ESP Blogs 2006, God Is In The TV Zine, Hallpost SXSW Interview, Music OMH, Skratch Magazine, Stokesound, Unearthed Treasures, York Indie Society Zine.

BBC 6 Music Interview (click link to read in full) March 2006

I read you’d been in the studio recently doing the new Electric Soft Parade album.

Alex: Yeah totally well we’ve kind of been in the studio doing the new Soft Parade record for a couple of years now, so the party line is. But we’re actually doing it now properly ‘cos we’ve done it and recorded it for different labels and we just wanted a fresh kind of start on it… we’re with Truck records now and we’ve done an EP with them at the end of the year.

So you’ve been holed up in a studio with your brother and Electric Soft Parade laying that down. Now the EP’s coming out in May (that’s the US release with an extra track) What about titles for the album and when we can hear all of it?

Alex: The album’s probably going to be called No Need To Be Down-Hearted. That’s kind of what we’ve called it from day 1 of thinking about it as the third record, but it’s kind of changed a lot so we’ll see. There’s a song on it called No Need To Be Down-Hearted, Part 1 & 2, so it’s probably going to be called that.

Ok we’ll think of it in that way from now on.

Alex: It’s a good title. It’s a Fall lyric actually, it’s a lyric from a song by The Fall on (the album) Middle Class Revolt.

BBC 6 Music News May 2006

It was the turn of home-grown talent Electric Soft Parade to take over at the Great Escape festival last night. Speaking to 6 Music after ESP’s packed gig at the Freebutt, frontman Tom told us what he made of the new event on his home turf. He said: “The only worry for me is that either you’re out of your face or the audience is too industry heavy and I’ve come to realise that it’s not really that kind of thing. The Great Escape has kind of borrowed the South By South West format in a way, but it’s basically just for punters and the craic of it and the bands”

However, the guest lists at the industry showcase event do read like a Who’s Who of the music business, as record chiefs attend to check out up and coming music. Tom explained that the sheer volume of fresh bands is what keeps groups on their toes.

“I got excited when I was watching Misty’s Big Adventure ‘cos I’d seen British Sea Power last night and it dawned on me there is actually all these gigs going on all evening for three days and everyone knows about it and it’s kind of like where you choose to go. You can’t help but feel like you wanna go to an exciting show you might be missing this or missing that and I think that’s what eggs the bands on to make their bit a bit special”

ESP Blogs 2006 (click link) Updates from Thomas during the recording of No Need To Be Downhearted.

June 2006: Me and Al have just returned from yet another few days’ sojourn to Truck’s mighty room of rock in deepest Oxfordshire… this time coming away with 11 rough mixes, all with vocals. Album almost there, save for the possible addition of another couple of tunes and a whole load of mixing. Had a playback round ‘Twaite’s house last night and all sounding damn good.

March 2006: hoping to finish the record ourselves (engineering and mixing) which is only scary if you think about it I guess – it’s something we’ve always wanted to do, but I really don’t think bmg would have entertained the idea for a second. It feels natural to be doing it now though, and having worked with seasoned pros and all that in the past, I think we’ve got the ability to make the record we want to on our own…

God Is In The TV Zine

How’s work on the new album going? Didn’t you stay on after Truck Festival this summer to record it?

Alex: Yeah, it’s finished, being mastered. We recorded it in a barn on the farm Truck Festival is held on (in Steventon, Oxfordshire). We put ProTools in a barn and ripped-out minibus seats. The new album was literally just me and Tom engineering it ourselves and using ProTools.

Hallpost SXSW Interview

Does it matter to you if you have 50 people or 1000 people – what’s that like? Because obviously you gave a great performance today but it wasn’t your typical energy.

Tom: Each band has their main show and then does a few showcases and little daytime shows around that which is kind of what we’re doing.

Alex: You’ve got to give it everything. There was a bunch of people that came up afterwards and were like “that was great” – really positive reactions… every band says that – we played the same show to 5 or 5000 – I do think we do, I think you’ve gotta. Tom: You certainly sweat the same amount.

Alex: We love our music and we want to make it the best we can every time, whoever’s there, you’ve got to just give it everything really, that’s the whole thing.

There’s a lot going on in each song. In one song you have a range of rock, of so many different genres. Do you guys try to do that or is it just something that happens.

Alex: We try and keep it fresh yeah, we try and keep it varied and not go down obvious routes like chord-wise and sound-wise and whatever, it keeps us interested. We make music that interests us.

Tom: It’s also more of a challenge to make it work. It’s harder to make it cohesive and make it carry to an audience.

Alex: It’s fun playing that last song we played, on the EP that we’re putting out – shameless plug – in May on Better Looking – on the EP it’s big orchestral arrangements and lots of parts multi-tracked, and people listen to it and be like “how are they going to do that live”, and I really enjoy doing it live with just a 4 piece, no backing tapes, no tricks, it’s like 4 people play it and create that big sound. It feels good, do you know what I mean, to be able to do that, to set yourself a challenge and then do it. Sometimes it doesn’t work.

I know you guys have a jam-packed day. What do you have coming up?

Tom: We’re playing the Wet Salon which is some magazine’s party in a hairdressers with 6 or 7 other bands. And we also play in a band called Brakes with 2 guys Eamon and Marc and we got another show, tonight we’ve got another party then we’re done. Gonna see The Charlatans later.

Well thankyou so much for talking to us. Alex: Not a problem.

ESP – thanks you guys, you’re great.

Music OMH May 2006

“We’re honoured to be a part of Brighton’s first Great Escape Festival – it should be a blast. We’re playing the most beautiful sweat-box in town, The Freebutt, which held our first proper gig, back in 1997” he reminisces. “I was 13…”

Skratch Magazine

How do you feel about The Human Body EP? Is it the best thing you’ve done so far?

Tom: I think it’s pretty much exactly as it should be. Considering the fact that it came out as soon as it was done – you know, we just got it straight out – it feels pretty good and is exactly what we needed.

Anything you want to say about the upcoming record?

Tom: We’re doing it with Truck up at a studio in Oxford. It’s pretty stripped-down. We’re doing it three or four days at a time. We’re doing a lot of Brakes stuff at the moment and have a lot of festivals coming up this summer, so we’re just doing it as we can, and we’re slowly getting there. Musically, it’s the first time we’ve been in the studio without a producer or engineer or anyone else, with just a few people coming in and out and plugging things in. Matt, who plays with us live on bass, has been playing with us on a few tunes. It’s kinda cool. It’s never really just me and Alex. The band is always a kind of gang when we get ready to do a record.

What were your musical inspirations growing up, and how have they changed as you’ve gotten older?

Tom: I think really obvious stuff, but it’s still great. Being a child – like 10 or 11 – The Beatles… the really pop stuff you get into when you’re a kid. That was kinda what I listened to when I was really young. The Super Furry Animals were really the first band I got into in terms of buying the records the day they came out and getting really excited, and they were the first band I got into seeing live. After that, we discovered fanzines and good music press – THE WIRE over in the U.K., stuff like that.

The stuff I listen to most now is stuff like Wire, Mission of Burma, kinda heavy stuff in the production – especially Wire, the first three records. They’re just untouchable. No one’s even come close to their originality. Also, stuff like Robert Wyatt. I love him. I’m slowly working to get his back catalog, discovering a new record every couple months or whatever. I think he’s a big influence on some of the EP and quite a bit of the new album.

Stokesound Brakes interview, April 2006

Alex: “Me and Tom with Soft Parade were on BMG for a long time and every decision was just a big fight, a big argument, it was pretty full on” … “We’ve got a Soft Parade record coming out which we’re finishing just after this tour, we’re going to have a few days off then go and finish that in Oxford, bosh them out, see what happens really, see if anyone picks them up”

Unearthed Treasures

Tom: We’re generally so disheartened with new music, it’s become our plight to put right all of the musical wrongs that are out there. F*** style. This band is not about pretense.

On finally playing in the USA: I will remember that show forever – our first ever US show, Upstairs at Nuno’s on 6th, 1 in the morning, out of our heads with jet-lag. The atmophere in the room was just incredible.

There’s a full length album out next year too, will it be a follow on to American Adventure? will there be aspects of Brakes in there? or is it completely different?

Tom: Well, it’ll sound like us, that’s for sure. I’d say more that aspects of us can be heard on the new Brakes album. I guess there’s a line that can be drawn through all the records, but for me, it’s a clear change in thinking that starts at The American Adventure, follows through The Human Body EP, and ends with this new record.

Sound-wise, its sprawling as ever – produced and engineered totally by me and al for the first time- orchestral motifs, garage rock, stripped bare folk, a diary entry on the eve of the apocalypse… scary at times, and of course, sending us mental. It’s comforting though, to be at this point in our careers, and have perspective on what we’ve done in the past, and know what was good about it and why people liked it (or didn’t!), yet also know exactly how to keep pushing it forward. Truck have allowed us the time and resources to do that, no-one else.

York Indie Society Zine Published July 2006

December 2005 saw the welcome return of unsung indie heroes The Electric Soft Parade as they toured the UK in support of their new mini-album The Human Body. I caught up with Tom White, multi-instrumentalist and ESPs core songwriter after the bands recent sold out Fibbers performance.

Tom: “Although it’s kind of a drag when you go back to small venues (like Fibbers) for the third or fourth time, I guess in a lot of peoples eyes we’re starting again so it never feels anything other than completely natural. And on this tour, for the first time in about four years, we’ve had kids coming to the shows and hearing us for the first time, which is a real bonus!”

However, following some time away from the limelight Toms view is understandably realistic. When I ask if it was a conscious decision made by the band to support their second album with 7 inch only singles, his frustration with the music industry becomes more obvious:

Tom: “All of that stuff was the label itself making decisions. It was all quite wrong, considering we were up for building on what we’d achieved with the first record. They just seemed to want to forget about us as quickly as possible. To be fair though, it was always going to go either way and listening to that record in hindsight, it still sounds a million miles away from the usual toss majors spew out”

Although ESPs recent state of limbo has caused frustration, the last two years have also allowed the Whites to take stock of their position within the music industry, as Tom himself admits:

Tom: “At the time we split from our old label (about two years ago) we simply had to ride things out, so to speak. That’s not to say we did f*** all in the intervening time! Brakes kind of happened as well and that was perfect timing for us as we really weren’t in the headspace to go dashing into another ESP record. But now I guess we are!”

With the critical acclaim that has accompanied ESPs recent return to form can we hope to hear more from The Electric Soft Parade this year?

Tom: “It’s never felt like a success when I listen back to our records – there always seems to be something missing – but with the new EP I think we’ve accomplished something far greater, musically, than ever before. To answer your question though, I can’t stop writing songs so I guess there’ll always be a new album or something or other on its way”