Child of the Parish unite the experimental psychedelia and electronica of brothers Tom and Ben Vella with intense visuals courtesy of ‘Stranger Things’ graphic artist Pius Bak.
The project was introduced with the independently released debut EP ‘Make It Better’, which has exceeded 5 million streams. It attracted radio support including Jack Saunders’ Tune of the Week at Radio 1 and Lauren Laverne’s While You Were Sleeping feature on 6Music, and they diversified their following with the help of an inclusion on an official FIFA soundtrack.
We caught up with the duo, to learn more about “Midas Touch”, their upcoming EP, and more.
Aditya – Welcome to this edition of T.H.E – Interviews! How’s 2021 going for both of you?
Child Of The Parish – 2021’s going pretty well – better than 2020 anyway! Like for every other band, and person in the world, it’s been a difficult, stressful time. But we’ve been busy during lockdown so we feel we’ve got some great new tunes to share, and looking forward to finally be able to play live!
Aditya – Could you tell us more about your Audio-Visual project? We’d like to know more about your persona!
Child Of The Parish – I’m not entirely sure I’d describe Jacob as a persona, I don’t think I’m that evil on any level! We came up with the band name first, and I’d just moved to a small rural village with a lot of history to it, witch trials etc, so the idea of Jacob and the Child of the Parish formed from there. We worked with my writer friend Rich Brown and the artist Pius Bak to come up with the comic – we both grew up loving certain comics and graphic novels, the weird darker side, like Akira, Watchmen, etc so it was really a childhood fantasy of making a comic realised. He’s basically the son of Satan, so his persona is pretty dark! But there’s a parallel to modern online gossip and 17thC witch trials that runs through the story.
Aditya – ‘Midas Touch’, your latest release sounds really inspiring and mood-uplifting! It’s a perfect amalgamation of electronic music and guitar! Could you share the creative process of the track?
Child Of The Parish – Tom initially came up with this one, the harpsichord parts in the verse and the string samples in the chorus, actually as separate ideas that I knitted together and wrote the song to. I love the descending progression in the chorus, which put me in a mind of 70’s artists like Bowie, so we got an amazing saxophone player in Australia we use to add some brass to it, which helps with the glam vibes. As it was written during lockdown we’ve had to get used to working remotely with other musicians, but it’s been quite fun working with people all over the world with home studios – I think half the singers on the chorus of midas are based in the US. The songs about bad luck in poker, something I know a lot about.. when we were allowed out again to see friends in their gardens me and some mates started playing quite a lot. Only for peanuts but you can imagine the stakes being bigger and getting sucked into a spiral of chasing luck. I also like a lot of the language and phrases in poker, the river card turning etc.
Aditya – The visualiser looks brilliant, it looks scary and intriguing at the same time! Could you tell us about the visual direction?
Child Of The Parish – This is another one of Pius Bak’s amazing pieces that we had animated. The idea was, once the comic itself was finished, that all the single covers would involve Jacob referencing the track in some way. So in this one he’s used his evil powers to kill everyone at a poker table, the son of Satan would obviously be a bad loser..
Aditya – Could we know more about your upcoming EP?
Child Of The Parish – The whole EP was written during lockdown. The pandemic has obviously been a horrifying nightmare, and it was hard not knowing when we’d release music again, play a show etc, but it has given us a lot of unexpected time to write. I feel across the 4 songs we’ve experimented a lot – I think our influences have always been quite broad but all this extra time, with no real idea of when it might end, has maybe led us to experimenting even more. There are elements of rock, of prog, of electronic RnB, hip hop, disco – it definitely goes on a bit of a journey which we may not have taken otherwise.
Aditya – Your debut EP ‘Make It Better’ amassed over 5 million streams, how do you feel about that?
Child Of The Parish – Yeah the reaction has been amazing, its had a lot of support on streaming, a lot of radio plays on BBC 1 and 6. The songs have featured in a few games that have big followings as well.
Aditya – Being included onto FIFA’s official soundtrack is definitely a milestone! How did that happen?
Child Of The Parish – Our record label just submitted it and they went with it! To be completely honest I don’t play computer games that much, but I’ve got loads of friends who do and they’ve all said it weirdly seems to play more than some of the other tunes – I don’t know if there’s some sort of algorithm or someone at EA Sports is just a fan! Quite a lot of games now focus on their soundtracks, and they all have streaming playlists which has been great for us to reach a new audience.
Aditya – What should the fans expect in your live show? I’m sure it’s going to be an audio-visual roller coaster.
Child Of The Parish – That was one of the worst things about lockdown for us (well, maybe not quite the worst..), we booked our first ever show then the world went into shutdown and it got cancelled. So although it feels like we’ve been going for years we’ve never played a gig!! On the flip side, all this extra time has meant not only have we written a new EP, but we’ve had a LOT of time to plan the show. We’ve done a lot of writing for it; intros, outros, instrumental pieces that link songs, it’s become a bit of an obsession! It’s the thing we’re most excited about now as it’s been so long coming. As for the audio-visual side of it, with the nature of the project there is obviously a lot of scope to do exciting things with it so watch this space!
Aditya – Could you tell us the importance of having a proper aesthetic direction in artworks since the listeners see the artwork before streaming the track.
Child Of The Parish – Well as you say it’s the first thing the listener sees, before hearing the music. A lot of the online space’s bands exist in are now very visually dominated, like insta. But I don’t think we’ve ever seen it as a persona to hide behind, it’s more a love of the medium. In all the bands I’ve been in I’ve enjoyed the visual/artwork side, I find it really exciting to work with other artists in completely areas, so it’s sort of taking this love to it’s natural conclusion and forming the whole project around it!
Aditya – Lastly, what are your plans for 2022?
Child Of The Parish – We’ll be releasing the rest of the EP this year, then into 2022 we’ll be releasing more singles, then the actual album. The main thing we really want to be doing is playing shows and developing our live set, I think that’s going to be the thing that defines Child of the Parish. And crossing our fingers there aren’t any more lockdown!