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FACING FORWARD WITHCHILD OF THE PARISH

by Alex Brzezicka

Let your imagination roam wild in the beyond-genres comic universe.

Teaming up with Stranger Things’ graphic artist Pius Bak, brother producer duo Ben and Tom Vella have created one of the most exciting projects to come out of the dark depths of lockdown’s creative machine. Fusing psych-dimension of acid rock tinted with 80s disco fever feel and enticing visual work, they propose something more than music.

Following their fascination with Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira and Alan Moore’s Watchmen, Vellas set their sound in a mini-comic series, that Ben brought to life, set in a 16-century witch-cursed village. 400 years later the place is punished by the arrival of Jacob, featuring in their covers’ artwork, son of the devil and the Child of the Parish. They’ve dipped it in dark humour drawing comparisons to the witch trials and modern social media lynching. The full story is to come in the near future as a prequel to their upcoming album. For now, be one of the first ones to engross yourself in their eclectic sounds, just before everyone else will follow.

Since releasing last year’s debut EP Make It Better, Child Of The Parish has been riding on the post-record momentum that scored them over six million streams and set landmarks on the British alt-electronic scene. While cooking up bigger scale projects behind the scenes, the duo teamed up with Belgian legendary DJ, The Magician (known for Lykke Li and Years & Years remixes). He used some of his wizardries to reimagine ‘Forever’s Not Enough’, infusing it with ‘00s nostalgia and house groove, hinting Purple Disco Machine and Tensnake. We caught up with Ben and Tom Vella to obsess over the remix and Remi Wolf while scheming a new music industry future…

Talk us through the MAGICIAN remix of ‘Forever’s Not Enough’.

We’re so excited with what he’s done! We’ve been big fans of his work since his Kitsune days so it was amazing he was up for working on it. We’re big house and disco fans, and there are elements of those in our music but we tend to take stuff off for a weird wonder, adding indie elements and guitars, so it was exciting hearing the track transform into being more dancefloor focussed. Hopefully, it’s the first of many!

What do you feel MAGICIAN brought to the track?

It’s definitely got an 80’s disco vibe, which we love. He turned the track on its head with a new chord progression, and built the main riff around the pre-chorus. It’s really interesting to hear his interpretation of it. I think that’s the best thing about having your tracks remixed, hearing someone take the raw materials of the vocal and then experimenting and having fun with it. When you’re so used to the track in your arrangement it really puts a fresh spin on it hearing someone else’s take.

What do you envision the future of music to look like?

That’s a hard question to answer right now! The ongoing covid situation makes it hard to see beyond it really, things looked like they were coming back to normal but maybe not now. I think covid has also meant the effects of Brexit on European touring haven’t been seen properly yet, but that could still be a disaster for UK music going forward. I think we need to get through those two things first and then we can think about a brighter future!

What is one change you’d love to make to the industry?

This is actually really easy, I 100% back the plan put forward by Paul McCartney, Chris Martin, Kate Bush and others to alter the mechanics behind streaming payments. There’s now huge money being made by streaming, but the archaic nature of record deals means artists aren’t seeing any of it. They suggest streaming should work more like a radio performance and less like a sale, so the artists gets a small split before it ever goes to the record company. This seems much fairer and means artists actually stand a chance to make money from their music! Musicians need to be able to eat if we’re going to keep releasing new records.

"We had our first gig booked just before lockdown started so we’ve never played a show, which is crazy. We need to put that right next year..."

If you could collaborate with any musician in the future, who would it be and why?

There are lots of artists and producers we really like that would be amazing to work with. But I find it really exciting when I’ve worked with musicians in totally different areas. We worked with a gospel choir a couple of times which was amazing, and in previous bands I’ve recorded with orchestras. Those experiences really stay with you as a musician.

Where would be your dream venue to play?

I’d love to play the Roundhouse in Camden. We grew up nearby so I’ve loved going there when it was still a bit of a dump, and I’ve loved going since it got spruced up! It’s such an amazing looking venue and the sound is brilliant, I imagine it looks great from the stage as well. Fingers crossed I’ll see that view at some point.

Who are you betting on for future stardom?

I’m a big fan of Remi Wolf, I think her whole sound and look of her videos is so fun. I get elements of Beck from her who’s one of my favourite ever artists.

Where do you hope to be in the next year?

Next year the big plan is to start gigging. We had our first gig booked just before lockdown started so we’ve never played a show, which is crazy. We need to put that right next year so, presuming shit doesn’t hit the fan again, that’s the main goal.

The next 5 years?

We’ve got long and short term plans, we’d love to develop the comic more as future albums come out, work with more artists and animators.

Press play on the MAGICIAN remix of Child of the Parish’s ‘Forever’s Not Enough’ below now.

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