Tess Parks 359 Music

Tess is a true believer in the church of rock’n’roll. She’s got great taste and is really sharp. I got lucky again!

Alan McGee

A native of Toronto, aged 17 Tess Parks made the decision to move to London, where she briefly studied photography at the University of the Arts before dropping out – although she is still a compulsive snapper. Tess did, however, stay on in London for three years afterwards, sporadically gigging as a solo act without making any major inroads into the business. Or so she may have thought.

Tess had though made an impression on one industry legend – step forward Alan McGee, albeit the timing of their meeting could hardly have been less ideal; McGee was no longer involved in music and Tess wasn’t even supposed to still be resident on these shores due to her visa expiring some months previously (see interview below).

An enforced return to Canada followed where she decided to augment her sound by getting a band together with guitarist Andrew McGill, bassist Thomas Huhtala and multi-instrumentalist Thomas Paxton-Beesley.

The Good People as they call themselves have now been wowing audiences for around a year, including a very well received spot at last month’s CBGB Music & Film Festival in New York – by which point, of course, Alan McGee had fortuitously decided to re-enter the music business and launched a brand new label. In the early days of planning 359 Music, he’d phoned Tess in Toronto to ask if she would like to be a part of the venture.

She did. She absolutely did.

Tess is currently back in Britain in the run up to the release of her album Blood Hot, an event that she describes as being ‘the project my whole life has been leading up to.’

This might sound as scary as it is exciting but if the bulk of Blood Hot is anywhere near the standard of the couple of tracks I’ve heard so far, then Tess is surely on to a winner.

The sound?

Absorbing, sensitive and evocative. As a rough guide think Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval fronting Slowdive – if they were from the other side of the Atlantic rather than Reading – with a little dreamy modern day psych folk thrown in for good measure.

The look?

Harper’s Bazaar or Vogue cover model from 1968.

And the outlook?

You’ve guessed, McGee did get lucky again.

With a compelling, melancholic sway, here’s the lead single, Somedays, which for my money might just be the most mesmerizing three minutes or so of music released all year.

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I’m guessing right now must be like a dream for you, a single just out with an album to follow on the new label of the guy who once signed your favourite band, Oasis?

Haha yes, it’s a dream!

You couldn’t tell from the music that you’re such a massive Oasis fan, could you? What other singers and bands do you most admire?

I don’t want to be too obvious stealing from my favourite band! I love Bob Dylan, I love the Rolling Stones, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spacemen 3…

The tale of how you met Alan for the first time is an interesting one.

Yes, I met Alan very serendipitously at 12 Bar in Denmark Street. I wasn’t even supposed to be living in London anymore.

Was being signed to 359 destiny or just good luck?

I couldn’t tell you! It feels like destiny… but it could just be a lot of good luck.

And speaking of luck, due to a lapsed immigration visa you had to leave London a few years ago and return home to Toronto – I might have suggested jokingly that you should have went down the fake marriage routine in order to stay in the UK but back in Canada you teamed up with a shit hot group of musicians who totally complement your songs so it looks like it turned out for the best.

Haha, I was SO sad to leave London, but it turned out for the best. Everything happens for a reason.

Looks like there’s a thriving music scene in Toronto at the moment. Ostrich Tuning are very different from you but sometimes have the same kind of hypnotic quality and BB Guns must be a great band to see live.

Yes! I love those bands so much! They’re some of my favourite people and best friends! Ostrich Tuning are insanely good live also. BB Guns are like a modern day sexy sixties girl band.

The reaction to your music so far seems to be routinely positive. Even on YouTube the video for Somedays hasn’t even had one person press Dislike yet.

No dislikes! Thank goodness! It’s cool yeah, I haven’t heard any bad words yet!

One of the tracks on the album is called This Time Next Year, so do you have an idea of where you want to be in November 2014?

I just want to be happy. And stay happy!

Thanks, Tess and good luck with Blood Hot!

Tess Parks (Luis Mora )
© Luis Mora

Blood Hot will be released on Monday, 18 November.

For more on Tess:

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