f: How did you first get into making music?
Bold Parade: I’ve been doing it on and off literally decades. The first four track I got was a really shitty Amstrad system that allowed you to play four separate tape tracks at once. It was really crap, but it got me hooked and I got a Tascam Portastudio soon after. It was all pretty basic though until I got my first computer in the mid Nineties.
f: What was the first dance record you bought?
Bold Parade: That depends what you call dance music, but probably Soul 2 Soul ‘Back To Life’. I just loved the groove on that track and I’m a sucker for a strong female vocal.
f: How would you describe your sound?
Bold Parade: A bit of Jazz, a bit of Funk with Electronica elements and some detours into World music including Samba, Tango and Middle Eastern.
f: Who were your musical influences and did they have an impact on your sound today?
Bold Parade: I love singer songwriters (eg Nick Drake) and I always look to hear if a song means something as well as sounds good. Someone like Stevie Wonder just nailed this every time, writing incredible melodies with great lyrics. Van Morrison, especially his classic period just had this great Jazz and Blues influenced sound with such compelling lyrics. A lot of Blue Note Jazz, Nina Simone and Brazilian music. I try to use modern techniques to get an organic sound, as much as possible. I like to mix the old with the new.
f: What was your first release?
Bold Parade: A dub influenced track on a Northern Irish label way back in the late 90’s. It was called ‘Skank’.
f: Which of your own tracks was the biggest labour of love to create?
Bold Parade: Probably my first release, ‘Celebration’. I had to try a couple of vocals for it and none of them seemed to work so I released it as an instrumental, but it just needed vocals. Thankfully I got a great soul singer to belt it out the way I hoped for and just put the new version up on Youtube. I might release it later but I figured I’d stick it up in case anyone wanted to check it out.
f: You’ve just released your brilliant new ‘Flowers In The Dirt EP’, under your new musical guise, Bold Parade. What can we expect to hear?
Bold Parade: The EP is really an introduction focusing on the Jazz, Funk and electronica elements of the album. ‘Flowers…’ is a personal track written about my experiences of Bipolar, with a bubbling electronica and funk edge with vocals from Vytaute. ‘Always’, which was co-written with Mark Bell, is like 70’s soundtrack fFnk topped off with a brilliant vocal and lyrics from my long time collaborator, Marti Buchanan. Finally, ‘Cutting Room Floor’ is an out and out Jazz stormer, with a great horn arrangement from Alex Saxon.
f: Bold Parade is a new project for you, who was involved in the first release?
Bold Parade: Well first and foremost my Bellcrash bandmate Mark Bell was involved a lot, plus Marti our long time singer. After that I managed to get musicians from all over the world thanks to the beauty of the internet. I work with quite a few Brazilan musicians – bass, percussion and guitar. I also used a few musicians from Skalpel. Alex Saxon did some great flute and brass work. There’s a great funk guitarist called Kevin Daoust. All in all over the three tracks there’s about 10 musicians involved.
f: And what was the inspiration behind it?
Bold Parade: I was recovering from a major operation and basically housebound, so I got myself a new mac and just initially started as something to keep me busy. It soon progressed into a real labour of love though and a genuine attempt at serious self expression.
f: There are quite a lot of Jazz influences coming through on the EP, what are your thoughts on the current Jazz scene and who should we be on the look out for?
Bold Parade: I tend to go for artists who aren’t straight ahead Jazz, but mix it up a bit genre wise. That said, I really enjoy Mammal Hands and their offshoot Sunda Arc. I enjoy some of the stuff on Proved Records. Most of all, I love Malcolm Strachan who Mark turned me onto. His stuff is superb.
f: You’ve worked a lot with Mark Bell over the years, together as Bellcrash, please tell us a little bit about your collaborations?
Bold Parade: We met through Timmy Stewart, who suggested we should work together. We really have a very similar taste in music, in fact I get most of my music recommendations from him. When we started it was very much sampled based with us playing little bits and pieces over the tracks, but we got to know a lot of musicians on the Northern Irish jazz scene and started incorporating more live elements. I really respect him as a producer and I’ll always let him hear stuff first and if he’s not fussed on something I’ll have a long hard look at it. His own solo stuff is coming out later this year and it’s great.
f: Have you any plans to release a Bold Parade album?
Bold Parade: Yes, around summer and it’s called ‘Two Leaves Falling’. I have 19 tracks that I have to somehow whittle down to an acceptable number. I’m very happy with it. It’s all mastered and ready to go.
f: What’s your studio set up like and what’s your favourite piece of kit?
Bold Parade: It’s fairly minimal at the moment because of space. Mac Powerbook Max, Prophet Rev 2, Roland XM, Digitakt, MPC Live 2, an Arturia Keystep to control it all, a few guitars. Quite minimal, but it works for me.
f: Who are you 3 favourite current producers?
Bold Parade: Inflo – the guy behind Sault and many great tracks. I love everything he does.
Kaidi Tatham – still producing amazing music. He did a few incredible remixes for my mate Simon Sheldon’s releases.
Madlib – another genre hopper, great taste in music and always produces quality work.
f: What else are you working on at the moment that you can tell us about?
Bold Parade: I’m working on the follow up to my album.
Bold Parade ‘Flowers In The Dirt EP’ is out now on Suzume Recordings.