AFTER some pretty meaty and in-depth features…
it is good to be back in interview territory with Manchester’s parade. The lower-case musician is new to the scene – hence the lack of social media sites and information – but intrigues with the debut track, Candide. I ask about the Voltaire links and whether his novella was a jumping-off-point. He talks about the musicians that help bring the music together and what it has been like playing in Norway and Manchester – parade are one of the most talked-about acts in the North. I was curious to know about the man behind parade and the music/albums that have inspired him; whether Candide will lead to anything new and how the remainder of 2017 is playing out.
Hi, parade, how are you? How have your weeks been?
GOOD! The last few weeks have been filled with recording, writing new songs; drinking with all our friends at sounds from the other city. Now, we’re in Venice reading Hemingway and coming up with some ideas.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
There’s a few of us in parade: we’re a collective of musicians, writers; a photographer and a director.
We join together simply to produce works that have shared inspirations, influences and visions.
What is the inspiration behind the name, ‘parade’? Is there significance to the word?
‘A parade’ is how we see life – expressing yourself as best as you can, using your wild imagination; in this brief flash, before it’s over.
Candide is your debut track. What is the inspiration behind the song? Was it quite nerve-wracking launching the song?
The song was written at the start of summer: thinking about that feeling when school broke up where it seemed you had this eternity of time to do whatever you wanted – free with the sun shining and everything green. At the time I was reading Candide: a story about a boy out in the world with his hopes and experiencing human chaos for the first time.
How important is Voltaire’s satirical novella in regards your latest work and video?
The themes of Candide (optimism in the darkest, strangest and most hopeless of times) inspired some of the lyrics, and then, definitely aided the idea for the video – where innocence is lost in the world of experience.
I think you say Max Richter’s Sleep was key in terms of Candide’s arrangement and sound. When did you get into Max Richter and his work? Does the band have quite similar tastes would you say?
We first really noticed Max Richter on the Leftovers soundtrack; then went to see him play last year at the Royal Northern College of Music – where he performed snippets of Sleep. It was gorgeous.
For a few months after, we’d listen to Sleep in bed with our headphones and wake up with it still playing.
This song, Candide, started out life being played on the acoustic guitar with finger-picking arpeggios – until we heard Sleep.
Yeah, we all do have pretty similar tastes which make things easier; we all love Folk and Classical music; Belgian hardcore Trance, too.
Can you tell me how the band got together in the first place, please?
We all met by chance at this crazy job we all had – at the tip in Northenden one summer. It was a rubbish job but we’d talk about music and philosophy – that got us through the messes we were all in!
In terms of sounds – on your single, at least – I hear ruminations of Nick Drake and Classical undertones. Which artists did you grow up listening to and would you say parade are hard to label and define?
We all love Dylan and songwriters such as Nick Drake and John Martyn; as well as The Doors, The Rolling Stones and John Lennon.
parade aren’t hard to define – we write simple songs that deal with human issues.
We try to be a little poetic and infuse classical elements into the music. Right now, we’re listening to Monteverdi in Venice and getting some jumping-off-points for new songs!
I know you have more music out later this year. What form will that take do you think?
We’re working on an E.P./album and are gonna (sic.) put one or two singles out prior to that.
Aside from a date at Manchester’s Soup Kitchen (on 30th September); are there any other dates in the diary?
We’ve not got any other Manchester dates confirmed just yet: we’re arranging some shows in France and Amsterdam which will be fun.
Last year, you played shows in Norway and Salford. What was the vibe like from the crowds and is there any city/festival you would love to play but haven’t so far?
Lots of booing and yawning from the crowds; only one pair of knickers thrown (from one of our grandparents, we think) but we liked that.
There was also lots of wide-eyed affection, too.
If you each had to select the three albums that have meant most to you which would they be and why?
Arcade Fire: Funeral – It made the earth tremble a little.
Jeff Buckley: Grace – Gorgeous romanticism.
Bowie: Low – The Berlin backstory; his mingling of influences: like listening to a 10,000-piece jigsaw.
Are there any new/upcoming artists you advise we keep an eye out for this year at all?
There are two bands we’ve heard rehearsing at the Bunker in Salford…Sofiahh, I think they’re called. They’re sounding very big and ‘wow’. There’s another band called Dirty Circus we always hear in the next room who’ve got the catchiest song ever written – that we’re trying not to steal. We’ve yet to say ‘hello’ to them.
What advice would you give to any new artists coming through right now?
Floss and wear protection – you don’t know where they’ve been.
Finally, and for being good sports, you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
These are some songs we’ve been listening to a lot over the past few weeks:
In My Secret Life by Leonard Cohen
If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lightfoot
This Woman’s Work by Kate Bush
I Need You by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds