By way of teeing up this new record, the dudes at Pledge invited us to come play their club night in July, and we’re gonna do it with bells on. The format of the evening will be a typically heroic ESP show, in two halves (no support), giving you guys the audience ample opportunity to ask us anything you like and request even the most obscure B-side/cover. NO LIMITS. We have been warned.
Tickets are £15 and available exclusively through our Pledge page here: https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/the-electric-soft-parade-new-album/items/265079
Tom & Al
In a truly bizarre bit of circle-completing, we’ll be joining our childhood HEROES Ultrasound for three co-headline shows later this year. I was obsessed with them around 1997/1998, as they released a string of increasingly wonderful singles leading up to their debut. “Everything Picture” might have been a bit long (the track, not the album) but they had the tunes. Serious tunes. I remember them all fondly. It’s gonna be surreal and brilliant to share a stage with them after all these years. ❤
Who was at their headline show at Pavilion Theatre in 1999? 2 free tickets to whoever can tell me who supported that night!!!! ESP Facebook
Electric Soft Parade Facebook ***NEW ESP ALBUM!!!***
Hold onto your hats (and scarves), it’s coming…
With many thanks to the folks at Pledge for their help thus far, we are delighted to announce production for ESP#5 will commence Summer 2018. There is more info on our page – where you can pre-order the album, snoop through the various bundles, or go for some really wacky shit (a day in the studio while we argue the toss over drum sounds!? personalised cover versions?!) – and we’ll be adding more bits and pieces as the album progresses.. Anyway, this thing goes live today, and we would be extremely, EXTREMELY honoured if you’d support us in this endeavour. It’s gonna be huge. ❤
More news very soon.
Tom & Al
pledgemusic.com Five years since 2013’s heroic pop masterclass Idiots, Brighton’s beloved ESP return this year with their most ambitious project to date. Written and devised entirely by elder brother Alex, the new album comprises seven songs, each from a distinct point of view, often several. Many years in development, this song-suite was originally conceived as a solo project, but once an initial round of demos was completed it was decided these songs needed to be heard by as many people as possible, and as such would be reimagined as ESP #5. While previous albums have used the power pop of such legends as Big Star or Super Furry Animals as a springboard, these new songs take aim at a very different target – paring broad, circular chord patterns and driving repetition with lush horns, keening vocals and thundering guitars, ESP have arrived at some of their most emotionally raw and direct material in years, while also boldly pushing the envelope for what could reasonably be considered an Electric Soft Parade record. A meditation on overcoming, transcending. But fear not: there are huge pop songs within, and beauty abounds. Illuminating, joyous, cathartic. Anyone familiar with past records will know the calibre of producers ESP are known to work with, and augmenting the White brothers in the studio this time will be a raft of choice collaborators cherry-picked from across the group’s career.
“When we first spoke to PledgeMusic about making a new record, we made it clear we wouldn’t entertain the thought for a single second if we didn’t think we could make the album of our lives. It took a little while to realise it, but without even knowing it Alex had written this absolute monster – a fully-formed, self-contained masterpiece, pulling together all these emotional and stylistic strands that have affected and continue to inspire both of us. Being brothers, we’re pretty well tuned in to one another, so I didn’t struggle at all to find ownership of these songs. I don’t say this lightly – this is some of Alex’s most intense, emotional writing, and we cannot wait to get started. Given where we’re at as a group, the idea of our (extremely loyal) fans being part of the story of a new album, and new chapter of the group, seems perfectly apt.” – Thomas White
fanfare-pop.com Translation: Meeting with Thomas White, head of The Fiction Aisle.
With the fabulous Jupiter, Florida, Tom White probably comes to realize the centerpiece of his already well-developed discography (The Fiction Aisle, but also The Electric Soft Parade and Brakes). The native of Brighton comes back here to talk about his desires, the genesis of his music and his influences.
Jupiter, Florida … why this title? What does this association of names represent for you? Does it refer to a place that really exists (Jupiter is a Florida resort) or a dream place?
The title was just right – it had something magical, familiar and strange at the same time. I wanted to evoke a feeling of escape and belonging at the same time. All these contradictory things that we feel every moment. That’s what I wanted. I am less interested in the direct meaning of things these days.
You seem to have expanded your musical palette on this album, less jazzy, more pop, also injecting a small dose of electronics. Is it a deliberate desire to evolve The Fiction Aisle or did it come naturally?
With this new record, I deliberately incorporated more elements that I see as “pop” and accessible – a wider frequency range, simpler, repetitive arrangements (musically and at the lyric level), though there are still many chords, and the music is still very dense in places. I do not know exactly what I was listening to at the time, nor what influenced that change. About halfway through the recording, I played some rough mixes with my friend Andrew Mitchell, and he answered me by playing Jesus Love Never Failed Me Yet by Gavin Bryars (post-minimalist music composer and british bassist), which is a wonderful piece. The slow movement and evolution of this piece had a profound effect on me, and definitely gave me the courage to be really bold in this regard – to allow whole passages to evolve at their own pace and take more time than they should, before everything suddenly resolves – as if you’re holding your breath underwater for as long as you can, then coming in to get some fresh air.
What inspires your lyrics and makes you want to write songs?
Part of what I do is to preserve moments in my life, to revisit them and remember them more easily, and maybe learn from them, even though I’m sure I do not realize that at the moment I decide to write about a particular thing. I try not to over analyze what I do. I really do not believe in writing songs with other people or in committee. Dalí did not paint his paintings with art dealers in the room telling him which colors to use. Song writing is no different. It’s an art, and my approach is to allow the unconscious to guide this process as much as possible. Throughout the process, my conscious brain will try to intercept and shape these unconscious expressions, and it’s the constant battle: try to shut your brain down long enough to let the good things go. I think the best things happen when you are detached from other people and let the universe guide you. It is at this point that you potentially reach a place where others are not and the best art is when we come back from this place and we can translate the experience into something elusive for others. No matter what form it takes – art, songs, film, writing – that’s what I always aim for.
The atmosphere of your music is quite melancholy but it seems more serene, sometimes almost optimistic about this album. Is this an impression or is it really the case?
I think everything I’ve done may sound superficially optimistic, but there’s always a line of melancholy going through it. I think it’s an expression of what it’s like to be human, and that’s something I’m very proud of in my work. Many writers or musicians would not want to project that kind of thing, and I appreciate that it is a complex and moving thing – many people are not interested in songs that could make them sad and happy at the same time and have to deal with what that brings them. For me, it’s just the reality, and I reflect it in music. I do not see it as objectively good or bad, it’s just like that.
Musically, do you have influences or models? Do you always listen to pop or have you moved on? I find some of your songs very cinematographic, is that part of your influences? (I’m thinking of John Barry for example or a few musicals) How did this taste for the jazz or orchestral ambiances that characterize The Fiction Aisle?
There were some turning points in my writing. I’ve been very influenced by writers Simon Gray and Nicholson Baker in recent years, both using an incredible amount of detail, John Updike as well. I love everyone who can go into the details of something and get something broader and deeper. I feel that it has become something that really interests me and that I always come back to it – something very specific and lyrical in detail, often very personal and perhaps obscure to others, coupled with music that gives a greater scope to interpretation. Alasdair Maclean of The Clientele does it very well, and I am a big fan.
Do you consider The Fiction Aisle a real group or rather a solo project that includes the collaboration of musicians as needed? Electric Soft Parade was the project of two brothers, Thomas and Alex. What is Alex’s role in The Fiction Aisle?
I do not really see it as a group, unless we all play together in the same room. At the moment, the band is made up of six people – all the people who have played on the albums – but whether it’s alone in the studio with my voice and building songs from scratch, or a group of twelve musicians with a brass section, it’s still The Fiction Aisle. So far, Alex has played on the first album, helping with drums and various drums, but he recently joined the band on guitar, so he is currently very involved.
Do you intend to play in France then?
I would love to take the group to France. We are about to tour much more than we have ever done, and this new album was our best in terms of welcoming fans and journalists. We will therefore try to make the group play as much as possible in the rest of Europe. It’s a certainty.
From the Thomas White Facebook – Drone 1: Sinai Night Sky (for Foxy) by Divine Androgyne (click to listen)
Facebook, I hope this finds everyone well. Feels right to be going live with this in the dead of night. I’ve been working on some very soft drones for a while, and I’m really excited to finally have some ready to be heard. It’s a bit of a continuation of what I did on Fuchsia Days, though I’ve decided to present it under a new name as it clearly stands alone from my more song-based stuff. It has been deliberately created for people to use alongside meditation/relaxion, or to just zone out to and not do anything in particular. It would make me happy to think it could help alleviate anxiety, or maybe help someone focus their mind and make positive decisions. Anyway, there it is. The idea with this first piece is to evoke the sparkly night-time views my friend Claire and I enjoyed while visiting a tiny beach-side settlement in Nuweiba during my stay in Egypt in 2010. An incredible, calm, unique place that healed us both. It’s also a tribute/memorial to her dear desert hound Foxy, who died late last year and is much missed by all who knew him. By calling the project Divine Androgyne I want to draw attention to and explore parallels between the “one-ness” of the drone as a sort of musical singularity and, as one blog puts it, “…the wholeness of all binaries held in tension within a single being, offering us the hope that our own ennui will be soothed via our own internal marriage of opposites.”
Though they don’t discuss the musical/drone element (which is my own conflation) these blogs are well worth reading in terms of understanding the androgyne from an historical/religious perspective: Link 1 – Link 2
So yeah, Queer Drone is most definitely the thing right now. Hopefully do some live expanded/ensemble shows at some point this year. Happy blisstening.
Sat 26 May 2018 – Circle Arts Centre, 55 North Street, Portslade, Brighton, BN41 1DH. Visit link for more info: Chord Orchard presents a new one-day Festival raising funds and awareness for Music Minds Matter, providing mental health support for the music industry. Featuring: BC Camplight, The Electric Soft Parade, Danny & The Champions Of The World, Diamond Family Archive, Brother Twain, Fierce Friend, The Delta Bell, Hattie Cooke + DJs, fully stocked bar and stalls. TICKETS: eventbrite.co.uk/e/mind-my-music-tickets-42785094369
Listen to the bonus track, The Fiction Aisle – Outskirts (Revisited) for Brightonsfinest Presents. Only available on the special double vinyl edition of Heart Map Rubric. Order now from the Brightonsfinest online Shop
From the Electric Soft Parade Facebook So if Alex and I were to do ESP #5 and fund it through some sort of Kickstarter-esque crowd-funding setup, would you lot support us in that kind of endeavour? We’ve umm-ed and ahh-ed about how to do some new stuff for quite a while now, and this looks like it might be the most feasible way forward. It may even allow us to tour the record at home and abroad, etc etc. We’d start album 5 tomorrow if we knew we could afford studio time and turn out the best fucking record of our career for our none-more-loyal peeps! Whadda y’all think?
Here’s the opener from new album Jupiter, Florida: Gone Today. Fiction Aisle Facebook