Todays Hidden Gem comes to us from the city of Cardiff on the southern coast of Wales. Introducing… Whitehall Parade – formally known as The James Clode Band!
James Clode and his manager Marilyn have been friends of the Voice Box Live Clan for quite some time. The first song heard from the band was ‘Wait for you’ and it became an instant earworm throughout the land! You can’t help but tap your toes, sing along and thoroughly enjoy yourself when listening to them. Whitehall Parade is comprised of 8 well-seasoned musicians who thoroughly enjoy their craft. Listening to their music will makes one realize that it’s only a matter of time when they’ll be on top of the charts!
Self described as a ‘roots rock band,’ their music easily spans old time rock and roll with funk, folk jazz and a bit of Celtic mysticism thrown in just to keep us guessing!
James was kind enough to take some time from his busy schedule to answer a few questions! So without further ado let’s see what he has to say!
- Tell me a little about yourself in one rambling, run-on sentence
It’s too easy to say I’ve been a musician most of my life. We’re all fans of music right? For me it started by simply taking a few songs to the occasional open mic night and getting some surprise reactions (a lack of veg throwing and “get off the stage”) From here I started to enter a few singer/songwriter competitions and getting pretty far in them. At this point I knew I was onto something and needed a larger sound…. I went band hunting. ..
but for your Sentence… In nutshell.. simple minded singer/songwriter, proud father to a beautiful girl and a full time job. This pretty much completes all of my time.
- Is there a particular lyric or song that moves you?
If you mean from my own assortment.. I would probably say “This Life’s Drum” that’s on the Citadel album as it was written about the band that I have now. It’s based in the future looking back at the amazing time I’ve had and am having right now with what I now class as my family.
- Who are some of your favourite musicians and bands?
Showmanship it has to be Mr Springsteen, song lyrics and quality Justin Currie from Del Amitri.
(Here’s a great cover by the band playing Dancing In The Dark)
- How do you feel the band has changed since releasing Citadel & Set In Stone?
We’re a lot more grounded in the way we play the songs. We’ve always done what we call “go with the flow” at a lot of our gigs and taken things as they’ve come. The only thing any band can do is rehearse and play in front of as many audiences as possible to get best possible experience and understanding of what works within a set list. We understand our songs extremely well and know what’s required to pull them off.
- Describe your perfect day:
It’s always going to be festival days for me. There’s something quite special about the atmosphere at a music festival. There are a number of factors that come into this of course e.g. good weather, it usually helps if its a family friendly festival etc. Last year I got to attend the Watchet Festival. It was perfect. The weather was amazing, peoples spirits were high, the food was fantastic, during the day times myself and my girlfriend would just walk around the field poking our heads inside the different tents they had set up there. It was amazing. To top it all off imagine having the opportunity to be one the main bands playing on the main stage with the likes of Seth Lakeman and the Boomtown Rats. Perfect.
- If you could close your eyes and be transported to a favourite place right now, where would that be?
One huge stage in front of a 50,000 crowd with my band members at my side… preferably somewhere warm and a view.
- Tell us about The Band:
I don’t have 24 pages to type but we are a very random collective of musicians that couldn’t work more perfectly than we do right now. We get on fantastically and they’re the most experienced musicians that I’ll probably ever have the privilege of working with for the rest of my life. I’ll never be as grateful as I am right now for the time’s spent with these amazing human beings.
There are 8 of us in total and I always like the idea making it grow further but for now it’s big enough for any sound engineer to deal with 😉
- Who would you be nervous to meet?
Let’s be honest any top class musician that’s been around for 30-40 years i’m always going to be slightly nervous. I’ve only been doing this on a busy level for the last 3-4 years and to be fair I have total respect to anyone that makes this their life’s work. I’ve mentioned Justin Currie before. This guy’s writing ability is astounding. What I love is the fact that he wouldn’t admit it. In my opinion he’s the best at what he does and he keeps to the shadows. Total respect.
- What is your most valued possession?
Haha I don’t have anything of worth when it comes to possessions but my most valuable things in life are my band, my daughter, my girlfriend (Ffion Dafis- also in the band) and my father (Andrew Clode) and his amazing girlfriend Nadia. All of these have helped me through my toughest times over the years and i’ll be forever in their debt because of this.
- What are you looking forward to doing more of in the future?
If I work hard and throw in a little bit of luck.. playing in front of larger crowds around the World.
- Can you share some of your thoughts on the music scene in Cardiff.
Cardiff has some of the best musicians around and I am extremely proud to have been born and raised in such amazing city but i feel the support for the local music could always be better. The same could be said about any place though. What’s the phrase “you load £10k’s of gear for a £200 gig.” Every band chooses their going rate and some you play for free. I have done this, we as a band have done this. There are plenty of venues around that expect the world from a band at the lowest rate possible and don’t really understand or appreciate the work that goes into such an arrangement. Forget the playing (that’s the cherry on the top), but it’s rehearsals, the lugging of gear, putting potential family/friend things on hold. One of the major issues in Cardiff for Musicians was parking. Double yellow lines everywhere and the only place to go is paid parking spaces. This isn’t cheap nor effective when it comes to moving gear. Next time you see a local band know that 99% of the time they’re doing for the love of music and nothing else.
- Where do you see Whitehall Parade in five years?
On a big private coach heading to the main stage of a huge concert (or 10). This will happen.
- What surprises you the most?
I still can’t get used to people asking myself and band members to sign CD’s at the end of gigs. It’s weird.
I can never get used to it…
Thanks so much James!
James Clode – Lead Vocals
James started creating pieces of music from an early age on Piano. At the age of 11 went on a short tour around the UK with the Welsh National Opera in Bizet’s Carmen. Years later he taught himself Guitar as well as the piano. He got to the final of a singer/songwriter competition five years ago at the Hard Rock Cafe and songwriting quickly became a passion.
Gordon Keir – Keyboards
Gordon Keir is a versatile musician who can play a range of instruments including various stringed instruments as well as keyboards. Musical tastes, styles and influences have included traditional folk, rock, classical and jazz. He is renowned for being somewhat of a collector of instruments
Derek Morgan – Bass
“It all started with a kid’s plastic ‘Elvis’ guitar at the age of 7. After years of struggling with the thing, I was bought a Watkins Rapier (Red) Electric Guitar, together with a small Bird Amp for Christmas, just after my 11th birthday. Guess it all went wrong from there really”.
Xenia Porteous – Violin
Xenia loved violin from the beginning and started playing at the tender age of 3. She grew up with classical music and played in numerous groups including the National Youth Orchestra of Wales. She moved to Cardiff where the lovely people of Rumney Folk Club encouraged her to improvise and branch out into other styles. Xenia holds an ABRSM diploma in violin performance and is studying to perform the Mendelssohn violin concerto with the Llanelli Concert Orchestra in 2014.
Ffion Dafis – Saxophone
Ffion is an experienced and unique saxophonist. Having gained a MA in Music Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and a BA in performance from Leeds College of Music. Ffion has performed in a range of diverse ensembles such as quartets, wind bands, big bands, quintets and octets around Wales, Leeds and Manchester. Her talents span across many genres including but not limited to jazz, classical, folk, rock and pop. As well as working as a solo musician for weddings and events. She has played the Palace Theatre, Manchester and a wide range of venues across the UK and brings a wealth of talent to Whitehall Parade.
John Turner – Drums
John’s drumming is the backbone of the band, decidedly modern, his talent is evident as he commands the beat whether it be Jazz, Pop, Funk or Fusion. His rock drumming sensibilities allows him to push boundaries and provide the perfect cadence in the signature Whitehall Parade style.
Phil Young – Guitar
Phil grew up in a musical household – his mother was a school music teacher. During his early years he learned to play the piano and the flute before ‘giving them up’ as a teenager because ‘they weren’t cool’ (a decision he regrets to this day). Then, during his mid-teens a neighbour called over one Christmas with a Kay Les Paul copy in one hand and a cheap practice amp for him. 2012 saw Phil begin to collaborate with a neighbour of his, James Clode. It was downhill from there.
Elaine Morgan – Vocals & Percussion
ElaIne Morgan has worked with some of the foremost artists in International Folk Music including Fairport Convention, The Albion Band, Phil Beer, Jethro Tull, and Donovan; she toured several times with Ralph McTell. She has also worked closely with eminent Breton artists Dan ar Braz and Alan Stivell, and controversially represented France in the Eurovision Song Contest with Dan and the Heritage Des Celtes. She fronted and toured with her own band Rose Among Thorns during the 80s
All in all this ensemble brings a wealth of diverse talent and a signature sound, one I hope to hear much more of in the future! Citadel, their self produced debut album was launched in 2014. Prepare your ears for an absolute feast of sound, as each song progresses into an intricate melange of music; mixing Indie Rock with Folk, Jazz, Funk and Pop as Whitehall Parade does best! James’ husky vocals and the energy of the band shines through bringing to mind Springsteen, Southside Johnny and John Mayer. Always unique, whether playing live or in the studio, their signature sounds provides a wonderful glimpse into just what this band is capable of. Playing gigs and festivals throughout 2015, the James Clode Band, now known as Whitehall Parade rocked their way through the past 2 years to the delight of every audience. An EP “Set In Stone” launched in 2015 setting the stage for more new music from this prolific band. The New Year and new name brings to them a realm of possibilities. Whitehall Parade recently spent time recording at Rockfield Studios… new music coming soon!
Whitehall Parade has started 2016 off at a vigorous pace, recording and gigging all over Wales and hopefully the rest of the world in the near future. If you have the chance to catch one of their shows…Go See Them! Their Live shows are simply stunning from what I hear and something you won’t want to miss…
Citadel and Set In Stone by The James Clode Band now known as Whitehall Parade are both available on iTunes and Amazon. Be sure to Download then turn it up and get your groove on!
Saturday 20th February 2016
Saturday 12th March 2016
THE CWTCH, PEMBROKE DOCK
Thursday 24th March 2016
Saturday 26th March 2016
ROATH ROCKS @ THE GLOBE, CARDIFF
Saturday 9th April 2016
THE MINSTREL ROOM, COWBRIDGE
For more information on James Clode and Whitehall Parade, please check out the following links: