Why do we call it ‘The Dumbing of America’? Because we are stunned at the inability of our public to recognize talent when they see it. If The Beatles came out now, they’d be universally ignored, unless Paul was a finalist on American Idol, first. Even worse is watching people ignore the next great thing because they bear a passing resemblance to another great band. Britain’s Exile Parade have more raw power than half the major label bands on the planet. They have, in fact, worked with Oasis’ producer Owen Morris and Bonehead from the band. Compare them to Oasis if you like, but you’d be doing a disservice to an amazing rhythm section and a singer with a voice that spits broken glass into the faces of an adoring public. Fall deep in love in the underworld and kiss the feet of the world’s next great “rock” band.
The guys from Exile Parade took time out to answer some questions about the future of rock and roll.
TDOA: How did you meet Owen Morris and Paul Arthurs?
EP: We met Bonehead (Paul Arthurs) first, through some mutual friends who are local DJ’s in Manchester – Natalie Eve and Michelle. Nat and Michelle had followed our careers for a while, playing our stuff on their radio show, writing gig reviews, that kind of thing. Then Bonehead started doing the radio show with them and when we heard about this, we asked whether we could come along and meet him, as he’s one of our musical heroes! We’ve met him loads of times since and played a gig with his new band, The Vortex, a few weeks ago in Manchester. With Owen, his manager at the time, Penny, just randomly spotted us on myspace and got in touch. We thought it was a wind up at first! Owen then got in touch with Bonehead to ask what we were like as a band and they ended up coming to a gig of ours.
TDOA: Talk about the experience of recording with Owen. How involved did he get in the process with you? Was it a case of, “You start playing and I’ll take care of the rest.” or did he get in there and start telling you which amps to use and arranging songs?
EP: It was a bit of both really. The most notable thing with Owen, is that he makes everything look so easy. He’s working on all this stuff with the mixing desk, setting up the amps, getting the right sounds and mix, and you don’t even notice until much further down the line. You think, “how and when did he do that?!” On the other hand, if you want to do something a certain way, record completely live, use certain amps or instruments or have a certain band layout in the studio for example, he’ll make it happen for you, no matter how long it might take or how difficult it is to set up. Working with Owen is more than anything, unbelievably enjoyable. We went to the best studios around and just had a great time. He’s a master motivator in that respect and gets the best out of you.
TDOA: How many songs did you end up recording with him and what are your plans for releasing it? I know you’ve released an ep, but is there a plan to release it all?
EP: We recorded 11 songs with Owen. A lot of the songs will probably end up being released in some form or another, one day, but because they’ve been around for a couple of years now, they’ve probably missed the boat. Our sound has moved on a lot since then and it would sound a bit strange to kind of go back in history. We’ve a full album of new songs ready to record so we’ll be concentrating on those….
TDOA: You’ve gotten a lot of buzz in China thanks to the Beijing Times inclusion of ‘Fire Walk With Me’ in a giveaway cd. We’ve been getting 1/3 of our hits online from China. What’s going on in China that isn’t being reported my Western media? How did you get you song included on the CD?
EP: We was contacted on myspace by a Chinese fan/blogger who also happened to have a few press contacts. We sent him 50 CD’s to pass on to his friends and it just happened naturally from that as they loved the music. Since the press exposure we have setup a blog just for our Chinese fans and a profile on Douban, the Chinese version of myspace which is attracting new fans every day. We don’t know too much about what is happening over there with regards to what’s not being reported by Western Media; all we know is we hope we can get over there soon to play a few gigs/festivals to our growing online fanbase.
TDOA: You’ve been described as Oasis with bigger testicles. I see the comparison, but there are a couple of things that jump out at me. First, Mutchy is a far better drummer than most of the bands that get put in this category. Please tell us about his background and who his infuences/idols are.
EP: Mutchy:In regards to my background as a drummer, I have been taught by some amazing drummers throughout university and through playing in Exile Parade. I also have a strong interest in learning as much as possible about new/old styles of playing and techniques, and how to apply them to our music. My main influences as a musician come from the heavier side of music such as Deep Purple, Led Zepplin and Nirvana.
TDOA: We talk to some great bands who haven’t been signed yet. You’ve had the buzz from working with Owen Morris, the Beijing Times cd and some U.S. radio support. How difficult is it to get a record deal with a major label in England? Some bands like The Boxer Rebellion have had success releasing albums themselves on ITunes (which I see you use to distribute too). Is this the best way for bands to release music now?
EP: It is harder to get a record deal with a major label than it used to be, due to the economic problems we are facing and the whole file sharing issue. Record companies just don’t have as much money to invest as they used to. That’s just the way it is though – you can rest assured if you have music that is absolutely stunning, then a label will sign you. With regards to releasing your own music, it depends on the level of success that you want I think. If you want to get right to the top, then you need the backing of a major or large indie label, there’s no doubt about that. You need money to record, to tour, to pay for PR, marketing, merchandise etc. Not to mention the essential contacts within the industry that a record label has. I think the romantic notion of DIY within music is overexagerated. You just can’t do it on your own without outside help. If your music is good enough though, then getting a record deal isn’t really an issue anyway.
TDOA: Your music has appeared in a movie and as part of a television soundtrack. Did you make any money in either case and how did you get both of those opportunities?
EP: No we didn’t make a penny! Both of them were just great opportunities and to see how your song fits a particular scene was really interesting. In the case of Skins and the use of Firewalk with Me, it was done amazingly well. Again, the opportunities just came through having our music up on myspace and the producers getting in touch with us.
TDOA: Tell me your feeling about the British music magazines? Over here, it’s pretty much the same bands all the time. As a music “listener” do you get bored reading about the same bands every week?
EP: There are good magazines and bad magazines – it all depends on your taste in music. There’s a magazine out there for everyone – there’s Mojo, Q, Uncut, Rolling Stone, which are really great reads and have a lot of great reviews, interviews, features etc then there are your kind of comics, such as the NME, which has filled the gap left by Smash Hits. So in that respect, I don’t think you have to read about the same bands all the time, there is a lot of choice out there.
TDOA: Anytime I hear a band who sounds this aggressive on record, I assume their live shows will be great. The “Heart Into Suicide” video speaks to this a bit, but I’m wondering about how the band feel about playing live versus in the studio.
EP: I think each band member will have a different opinion on this. Personally I prefer recording in the studio to playing live. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy playing live, cos I do, it’s amazing. But going into the studio with new songs to record and developing them until they’re finished is a great feeling. You’re creating something and that’s a great buzz. Our recordings are done almost completely live anyway, which gives you that raw feel.
TDOA: Is the sound on the Fire Walk With Me video live? It doesn’t sound quite the same as the recorded version and in fact sounds rawer and even more powerful (if that’s possible. Of course, I could be wrong and be in need of a check-up on my hearing).
EP: Good spot! The versions on the video and the recording are two different mixes. The one on the video is the original mix and a far superior version and will be used at all times from now on!
TDOA: What’s next for the band? Any plans to come to America to play a showcase (SXSW perhaps?)
We are due to go into the studio this month to record 4 or 5 songs, then back in as soon as possible after that, to record another 5 or 6 songs, that will then make up the album. We’re due to tour England, Germany and Holland in November and then the album will be out early next year hopefully. We may be off to China later this year and we are working on getting over to America to do some gigs as well.
Contact Exile Parade via MySpace at: http://www.myspace.com/exileparade
or via their website at: http://exileparade.blogspot.com/