The Overnight Success That Took 20 Years
We talk to Clive McDaid and Andy Knapp of The Parish Music Box
They’re at the age when most bands are doing come backs however The Parish Music Box are nothing if not unconventional.
Talking to the Chiswick based 40-something song writing duo in High Road House a couple of days after their band's introductory mini-album was released on Universal’s No Carbon Record label, Clive McDaid and Andy Knapp explain where the anomalous name came from.
Searching for something that was ‘quintessentially English’ “We wanted a name that sounded very British, something like The Smiths [one the band’s major influences] as soon as you hear the name, it puts you in a certain place. So we thought of a parish, church halls, money box then moved onto the angle of a music box which could be anything from gramophone or jukebox to an Ipod.”
The Parish Music Box were discovered on myspace.com by head of Universal label No Carbon Records Don Jenkins who told them they were “too old” and their music was “too slow” but he loved them.
“We’ve done it the wrong way around,” says Andy “Our audience found us. We put four songs on myspace.com about two years ago and then we got reviewed by a guy writes a music blog called Song By Toad.”
“Then we got an email from the guy at Universal who said he was sure we’re signed already but if not give him a call.” adds Clive.
The pair met five years ago when Clive saw Andy playing in another band. “I could tell he could sing, he looked alright and he was wearing a good pair of shoes. You can tell a lot about a person by their shoes,” laughs Clive about Andy.
After many conversations and discovering shared influences the two began playing the acoustic gig circuit, including George IV, picking up other band members along the way. The two now write their music in Clive’s kitchen “Yeah, we went through three kettles writing the mini-album!” recalls Clive.
Lyricist Andy says “When we were younger there were three or four different types of songs. The ‘why don’t you like me’, the ‘angry’, the ‘last song better get a snog’ etc. I suppose when you’re older and more experienced there are more shades of grey, it makes it more interesting.”
He continues, “Writing lyrics gives you licence to air all the things that otherwise you’d get hit for, shouted at, left or felt sorry for. Chiswick Green [one of the band's songs] is all about losing your head and the resulting carnage. I wrote Silent for the Last Time after overhearing two people arguing. I wrote down all their best lines and it became a song.”
“If what you do is good you’re only half way there but the harder you work the luckier you get,” he concludes which certainly seems to be the case for The Parish Music Box. They pride themselves on responding to all the emails they receive from fans, “It’s important to take the time to earn your following one fan at a time and work hard to earn that bond.” says Clive.
The band’s mini-album was released on 7th April with a full album is expected in the autumn. Their Soho Revue gig on 15th May will be filmed by the BBC and Radio Two will be interviewing the band.
In the meantime the guys are sticking to their jobs in computing and running Core and Ore (tile shop on the corner of Chiswick Lane). But you can’t help feeling that it won’t be for long. “Yeah,” says Andy “We’re the overnight success that took 20 years!”
Emma Brophy / Jack Collins
The Parish Music Box reviews:
“Think Bowie’s Life On Mars meets Richard Hawley and you're on the way there.”
“Intimate stories of regret, loneliness, love and loss aplenty. But don't be fooled – there are hard-bitten lyrical twists and turns along the way that are reminiscent of Morrissey at his best. Simply gorgeous.”
April 19, 2008