The Electric Soft Parade | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The Electric Soft Parade

Jul 02, 2007 The Electric Soft Parade Photography by Harriet Turney & Mervyn Penrose Bookmark and Share

Brighton, England’s greatest claim to musical fame is as the destination for the mods in Quadrophenia. Since that time, Fatboy Slim has directed some attention to the seaside city with the pebble beach. And more recently bands like The Kooks, The Pipettes, British Sea Power, Electrelane, and The Go! Team have turned some heads that way. But mainly, Brighton is where Londoners go to have babies and still be near the big city. And where bands go to get away from the hustle and bustle, but still be a commuter’s distance away from the action.

Brothers Tom and Alex White state their allegiance to their hometown of Brighton strongly. Along with Matthew Twaites and Mathew Priest, they function as The Electric Soft Parade. With Eamon Hamilton (formerly of British Sea Power) and Marc Beatty, they are Brakes. Alex is also involved with Actress Hands while Tom works with Restlesslist. But it is as The Electric Soft Parade that the brothers shine the brightest. Preceded by The Human Body EP, their third full-length, No Need to Be Downhearted, is the first to be released domestically. It follows their much-lauded debut, Holes in the Wall (2002), which garnered a Mercury Music Prize nomination, and its successor, The American Adventure (2003). Tom White answered our questions from the back room of his parents’ house in Brighton.

Under the Radar: Does working with someone you are related to make things easier or more difficult?

Tom White: If you give each other space outside of the band’s working hours you get along just fine. We rarely hang out outside of the band, which keeps things fresh.

UTR: How does the work you do with the other bands you’re affiliated with effect what you’re doing with The Electric Soft Parade?

White: Everything has its own energy and therefore it’s easy to keep things separate. It’s almost like you put a new head on depending on whichever band you might be playing in that day, and you behave and react accordingly. It’s all very natural.

UTR: What do you think it was about Holes in the Wall that garnered so much attention and awards?

White: Well, it only won one award, which ain’t all that, really. At the time we were genuinely doing something different. You have to remember that the charts were not what they are now. Even five or six years ago, there were far fewer bands in the charts, and to get in the charts you had to sell a bunch more records than you currently have to. It’s great that “proper” bands are back in the charts, but I can’t help feeling that it’s not really their place. The charts are for Britney Spears, not The Cribs, and for it to be anything more than a rare novelty breeds conservatism in an art form that should be radical.

UTR: Besides the recording techniques, which on the first album were more synthetic and on the second album analog, what other significant changes do you see in the latest album?

White: The new record is as close as we could get to a middle point between the approaches we used on the first two. We reined in the experiments of the second, though hopefully not too much, whilst trying to achieve the slickness and the futurism of the first. I think we succeeded.

UTR: What do you think it is about the American music landscape at the moment that is more conducive to No Need to Be Downhearted being released here, considering it’s your first official full-length release stateside?

White: Americans don’t seem to need to be told to like something. If they dig it, they’ll come right up to you and shout it in your face, whereas English folk seem far more driven by what some magazine might tell them to listen to. It’s our first release in the States because our former label were a useless bunch of shits.

UTR: How have the gigs you’ve done in North America been received?

White: They were singing along and generally appreciating the amount of traveling it had taken to get us there, especially on the West Coast, which is where we’ve done the most work. It was great.

UTR: What about The American Adventure sparked its title? Is it really to do with an American adventure?

White: No, it’s a theme park in the Midlands.


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