Interview: The Parish Of Little Clifton

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When in search of new music the are numerous sources you can look to. Random trawls through the likes of Bandcamp and Soundcloud can be fruitful, as to can a direct email from a band or artist (although not in the majority of cases, just saying). A more reliable source, however, is from an artists recommendation, someone which they see and respect as a fellow musician. As is the case with Mr. Simon Bridgefoot, aka The Parish Of little Clifton.

So with a hat tip to friend Teen Daze we were put onto the delightful sounds of The Parish, with the ethereal, synth laden "Pines/Sun" finding a deserved spot in our popular 'Summer Forever' mixtape.

And while the folk-orientated Haselnus EP shown an alternate side to the music, "It's Okay, Roseanne"  - from the recent digital 7" Septemberish ( via Bad Panda) - is a mesmerizing, sun-drenched journey of intertwined samples and blissful electronics.

Read a little introduction to the man, the methods and the ideas behind TPOLC below.

(One For The People) Hey Simon, for anyone reading this who is unfamiliar with yourself, can you give us a breakdown of The Parish Of Little Clifton.....

(Simon Bridgefoot) Well I had this idea of a "musical family" close to a year ago now. I wanted to co-write songs with friends around the area and release them all under one name. But as I started fiddling around on laptop software, and a more self-dependant, electronic sound came forth. The day after 'Portia' was released I called a few friends up and said, "Hey I want to stop making laptop music for the fall / winter and go back to composing in a group, you in?" So The Parish Of Little Clifton is now a some close friends of mine (as well as my sister and mum) coming together in composition and myself heading the end production.... If that makes sense?

"I think a lot of summery records are strictly care free, live while your young, soak in the sun. 'Portia' definitely addresses those mind-sets" - Simon Bridgefoot, The Parish Of Little Clifton

(1FTP) Where did your musical roots start, and what was the catalyst to start The Parish in the first place?

(SB) I grew up on U2, Peter Gabriel, New Age / World Music (Gypsy Kings, Enya, Deep Forest, Afro-Celt Soundsystem) and Christian Pop. My mom's also really into this producer, Mike Oldfield who's very diverse in sound and quite frankly, a creative genius. My family has always been very music-oriented. Most Sundays at church it's my sister, my mom and I doing the music. I suppose it was just a matter of time until I started writing my own stuff. I've been writing folk songs for years now and my friend Matthew Joel and I formed a post-rock concept band called "The Guernica Project" that has long since faded (I think we have a facebook page still haha). Through Matt as well Jamison (Teen Daze) did I start to consider making music on a computer. I think through seeing what those two did on their laptops was the biggest influence to start the electronic side of The Parish.

(1FTP) Tell us about some of your musical influences that go into the creative process....

(SB) Every Parish song to this point has started with a mood. I'll have all these visuals in my head that I want to write music to and so I sit down on my computer and try to document that revelation before it's gone. Sometimes it comes back, some times it doesn't. So before being musically influenced, I'm usually influenced by something outside of music that I want to make musical.... If that makes sense? And then whatever I'm into at the time shapes what that sounds like. The big influences on 'Portia' have been: Gold Panda, Teen Daze, Baths, M83, Bibio, Kuhrye-oo, Born Gold and Washed Out. I've been listening to a lot of Feist and Wilco recently though so expect something more folky in the future.

(1FTP) A lot of your work (particularly "Pines/Sun") evokes an overwhelming feel good factor, I'm assuming they were made with happy, sun kissed thoughts in mind?

(SB) "Pines/Sun" was written in response to the first sunshine of the year and seeing a forest across the street from me be stripped down and burned. So in someways it's very feel-good but also has something very heavy about it too. All the songs on Portia are in response to the summer as well as something emotionally demanding. It's usually about the summer and something deep haha. That was the formula I suppose. I think a lot of summery records are strictly care free, live while your young, soak in the sun. Portia definitely addresses those mind-sets but I'm always working through something internal so I don't think I will ever write a song that doesn't have some meaningful specificity to it. Actually, "It's Okay, Roseanne" is just for the sake of positivity haha. 

(1FTP) Following on from that, what happens when in a couple of month's time when the winter has fully set it, will we see a alternative, darker side to TPOLC?   

(SB) Short answer? Yes. Haha. As I already said earlier I'm working on something more fall/wintery with some friends centered more around the guitar/piano. This might be headed back into the direction of "Haselnus"....who knows? I won't make the same record twice but I'm picking up my acoustic again. 
It's funny you say "darker". I've just made a folder on my computer titled "Dark Songs", but I think I'm saving up all my dark songs for some sort of apocalyptic release haha! This record we've started now is a lot more melancholic but certainly not dark. 

(1FTP) You seem to use samples in your tracks to perfection. Do you know specifically what you're looking for when picking them out?

(SB) Sometimes. There have been times where I wanted someone to make a sound or say something so then I have to go hunting. But I've been listening to a lot of old-timey, blues and folk that often have very quiet instrumentation and loud vocals which is perfect for vocal sampling. So I'll listen to one of these songs and then put it into a "Sample Bank" if I want to pull it out in the future. The sample on the track 'Portia' has been sitting in my sample bank for months, it was just coincidence that it was the same key as the piano riffs. I'd say its 50/50 between wanting something specific and playing around with something in the bank.

(1FTP) Looking to the future, is there a certain sound you'd like to explore, or perhaps a certain someone you'd like to collaborate with?

(SB) Yeah, I love Feist's "The Reminder" - so I'm pursuing a more simple, jazz / folk / indie-pop route. I called up my friend who was pursuing jazz school to "de-popify" my tracks by adding some obscure chords and directions. And then once we've gotten rid of all the U2 influences, I get my sister who is a pop-fiend to add something hooky to the tracks again. I'm really excited for when Matthew (previously mentioned) gets back from his cycling trip to work on music with him again, we seem to gel really well.

(1FTP) Can you give us a little playlist of tracks your listening to at the minute....

1. In Bodrum, Near The Castle - Jordan Klassen

2. Crushing - Blithe Field

3. See Thru Eyes - Active Child

4. Oh, Why - Balam Acab

5. One Sunday Morning - Wilco

6. How Come You Never Go There by Feist

7. In Exile - Thrice

8. Wombstone - Born Gold

Head over to TPOLC Bandcamp page to hear more of the previous material, stream the latest cut 'Portia' in its entirety below.