There is a rather romantic notion, one that I suspect many who have never been in a band will share, that all that happens is some musicians get together, write their own songs and things go from there. Of course, this is what happens, in the same way that saying The Big Bang created the universe. You accept it, nod your head thoughtfully and go ‘Ahh’. But if you think about it for long enough, you think ‘hang on a minute…’ and realise there that a lot of stuff happens in between.
Being in a band is like making new friends (which, of course, it is). Think of unique songs as those in-jokes you share with your best friends, that no one else can understand and comprehend. The kind that will leave you and your ‘bezzie’ in hysterics whilst the people around you look at you with confusion written on their faces like a four year old’s pencil drawings on cream walls. Those kind of experiences, and by extension of logic, songs, can only be built up over time. You may have memories of the first time you met, and funny stories, but the in-jokes and the real good memories and funny times come after having known each other for a long time, and having shared experiences with them. So it is that original songs cannot, or should not, simply be born out of throwing people into a room and tossing them some guitars. A lot of it boils down to influences. Jake and Sam (Lead Guitar and Bass) are very influenced by the Chillis, Aaron (Frontman) by Blur, and I myself am a big fan of Muse and the drumming of Dominic Howard. These influences have to be welded together to form a common interest, and most of them are shed over time until you find the ones you all share. This is why most bands when they start out, start by playing covers. It is so much easier to begin to gel as a band if you can play music together, instead of sitting down trying to work out a song at these early stages.
When Sam and I teamed up with Aaron and Jake we had nice head start, because we had replaced their old rhythm section and so had six or seven of their own original songs to start playing. It was not long before our styles had changed these songs considerably, and we were not simply session musicians – only one of those original six is still in the set, and not for long I would think. As a band we have been together now for technically thirteen months, but if you take out the Easter, Christmas and summer holidays, in which we were all far apart, we have only actually been together for seven. Over those seven months we have written about fifteen songs together, most of which have since been discarded as better ones have been produced. Our latest songs – Scars and Soldiers, and Gunfire, could not have been written seven months ago, or even two months ago.
Which leads me nicely onto the topic for next week – our sound. Yes, this blog is a two-parter, which means I should probably leave you with a cliff-hanger. At the moment, Jake’s trapped under the Tour-Punto, Sam’s falling out of an aeroplane with only his bass and a pineapple, Aaron’s being chased by tigers through the Amazon because he spilled his drink on one of them during the last gig, and I’ve been sealed in the bass-drum, weighted down and dropped in the Baltic Sea by militant otters. How will we escape, in order to continue writing new songs? You’ll have to wait until next week to find out…