Go to content

Main menu

Interview with David Inglesfield (from State Of Grace)

When looking at the cover of the record below, one doesn't immediately associate it with anything funky. Two rather stiff english gentlemen and a lady in a strange dress posing on a couch...quite a dull image. But let's not judge a book (or should i say record) by it's cover because the band State Of Grace did make good music with their beautiful 'Touching The Times'. Adrian Thomas, Pat Thomas and David Inglesfield created a graceful mid-tempo soul tune with delicious synths and an outspoken melancholic mood. Read the interview with David Inglesfield about their record, which is quite sought after today.

Hello David and thanks for taking the time to do this interview. It was a nice surprise when you contacted me regarding your 'Touching The Times' record. Tell me, which of the 2 guys on the couch are you?

David Inglesfield:

Hello. I'm the one in the front.

I'm glad you were not offended by my review concerning that picture cover :)
What do you have to say about it?

David Inglesfield:

Haha..your comments were remarkably polite considering. The idea behind the photos was to capture a 'Brideshead Revisited' English aristocratic type look which was something we were into and thought was quite clever to juxtapose with the soul/funk music we were playing. Subconscious post-modern thinking I suppose. The photos were shot at Broughton Castle in Oxfordshire and are clumsy looking. Quite funny though, in retrospect. The dress Pat is wearing (designed and made by my sister) didn't suit her at all. Unfortunately it was too late to replace it for the photo shoot.

Fortunately, the record itself did work out very well. Personally i think it's State Of Grace's best production. Who came up with the melody and what was the inspiration? Do you know how many copies were pressed?

David Inglesfield:

I came up with the bass line, beat, chord progressions and riffs etc. and Adrian wrote the vocal melodies and lyrics. There was no particular song that inspired it. We were really solidly into the soul and funk of the day. I used to listen to it totally obsessively. Radio djs like Greg Edwards (Capital) and Robbie Vincent (BBC Radio London) plus the pirate stations that used to broadcast in London at that time: Invicta, JFM, Horizon etc. 'Touching The Times' was pressed up to a quantity of around 5,000 or possibly more in the UK alone. There are 12 and 7 inch pressings of it. It was also released in a number of European countries but not in the USA. It got some British airplay on Capital and other independents but not Radio 1 as far as I know.

How did State Of Grace form? What is the band's background?

David Inglesfield:

I was the drummer in a new wave/powerpop band called The Dazzlers. That was my first band. We made some records. Adrian had been in a band with someone else from the Dazzlers. In fact he was going to be the vocalist at one point. we met and got on really well from the beginning. When I left the Dazzlers I could have gone on and joined another new wave or post punk band as a drummer because I was pretty good but I decided I wanted to form a band with Adrian and write or co-write my own songs which I hadn't had the opportunity to do before. At first it was closer to New Romanticism but it got more and more funky. Pat Thomas was at the London College of Fashion with my sister and we agreed to add her in as a second vocalist.

Although State Of Grace did not have a major breakthrough, your 'That's When We'll Be Free' single was quite succesfull right?

David Inglesfield:

The first record we did was called 'Walking Rhythm' and came out in 1981 in the UK on a label called Flamingo. That had live drums, bass, guitar, sax etc. and was closer to disco/jazz/funk than the later songs. Mike Collier ran Flamingo as an offshoot of Carlin Music where he was the UK director. He had a few disco hits I think (eg 'Summer Groove' by Mirage) and a long history going back to the 1960s as a music biz wheeler dealer. He left Carlin to form his own production company and we foolishly just signed with him. We were young and very naive. We were going with the flow of using drum machines and synths and we recorded 'That's When We'll Be Free' which he licensed to PRT. Matt Aitken (later of Stock Aitken & Waterman) played the guitar. It didn't do anything here but it made an immediate impact in New York on import and was licensed for US release by Profile. Apparently it was given heavy play by the likes of Larry Levan and Tony Humphries at clubs like Paradise Garage and The Loft. It got as far as no. 16 in the Billboard Dance Chart and was also released in a remixed version (mix by Eric Matthew of Gary's Gang/Sharon Redd/Toney Lee fame). Off the back of all that it was also licensed for release in many different countries. Mike Collier told me it was no. 1 in Bermuda and somewhere else equally unlikely! I also believe it influenced some of the records that came out of NY just after that eg Shannon's 'Let The Music Play' which is almost a copy of the melody/chords/bassline..but unfortunately better..harder. Another one that sounds a little similar is Madonna's 'Into The Groove' but again a much better record although I'm sure they were influenced by ours. The follow up single was 'Touching The Times' and the one after that was 'Hello Wintertime' which came out in early 1984 I think.

Back in the 80's fantastic music was made in the United Kingdom. PRT was a label that released several excellent and now hard to find dance records. The sound of 'Touching The Times' actually reminds me a bit of Kadenza's 'Let's Do It', also on PRT. Do you know this band? You told me that you were familiar with members of another U.K. band: The Antilles. Can you tell me a bit more about this?

David Inglesfield:

I've heard of Kadenza but I didn't know them personally. I vaguely remember hearing 'Let's Do It', perhaps on the Robbie Vincent show. PRT also used to license a lot of US records...a lot of the early Sugarhill stuff for example. They also had Imagination (licensed from Red Bus). The Antilles were a funk band along the lines of Brass Construction or something like that. They were signed to Eddy Grant's Ice label and they used to rehearse at the same place as us back in 1981. We got Vince and Charlie of Antilles to do the bass and percussion on 'Walking Rhythm'.

Did State Of Grace ever release an album? I see several, more recent, productions by State Of Grace on the net but i guess that's another band. When did you guys stop?

David Inglesfield:

We never got as far as an album. We moved away from funk towards a more electro poppy sound. The last single 'Hello Wintertime' was a little influenced by things like Shalamar's 'Dead Giveway'. A fast, crisp almost rock beat but with heavy bass synth and lots of keyboards. Then we did some more demos that were never given a release. PRT weren't interested any more because none of the records had sold well enough. We just lost our way...lost momentum. A little later I co-wrote and recorded some amazing songs with Pat Thomas but we didn't try hard enough to get them released. The later State of Grace is a completely different band, as you say.

What are you up to today, are you still active in music industry? And do you still see Adrian and Pat Thomas?

David Inglesfield:

Adrian and I joined up again around 1988 and we were heavily into House and dance and also soul/funk in the early 90's. We tried to launch a production career. We had a fair number of small scale releases/white labels but no breakthrough. It's funny, when you're very young it seems to be so easy to do things. Things seem to fall into place a lot easier. The technology has made it so much easier to get your ideas into shape now but we lost our way somehow. I still see Adrian from time to time. He's my best friend and I think always will be but he doesn't live in London. I haven't seen Pat since about 1990. She's still in London somewhere but we lost touch. I still do music, by myself. You could call it melodic electronica I suppose. None released yet but I'm working on it. Listen to an amazing demo by David here.

What is your opinion about today's dancemusic and that of the early and mid 80's?

David Inglesfield:

I really like the old 80's boogie and electro boogie music. It sounds so fresh now. It's electronic but has an energy and naivety. A lot of modern post House and other dance music is very well produced and multi layered but doesn't have that raw/crisp sound. I really really like current American r&b. Usher etc. and prefer that to most dance music nowadays.

Thanks a lot David for this interesting interview and i wish you all the best for the future.Is there anything you would like to add?

David Inglesfield:

Just that I love your site. It's about time that disco/funk/soul music of the late 1970s to mid 1980s got some proper documentation. There's lots of info available on the web on post 1990s music but very little so far on the older stuff.

David Inglesfield.

May, 2004

Back to content | Back to main menu