Sharing the magic
For quite a long time I have been solely working on my own material which I compose and record in my studio in Dublin. Just over a year ago I decided that I wanted to get out and play with other musicians again so I put some feelers out to see who might be interested in forming a band. I thought it would be good to write and play music that was a combination of ambient post-rock and progressive rock. I was fortunate to come across an excellent bass player/singer and drummer who were very open to the idea. The drummer was mostly into prog and the bass player was into post-punk and rock generally but between us we found a lot of common ground and some creative differences.
So we started rehearsing and decided to learn to play a number of covers that represented the kind of direction we wanted to go in. This was so that we could develop a rapport and have the experience of playing together. We referred to it as a musical ‘boot camp’. This worked really well for a number of months and we had a lot of fun playing music by Hammock, King Crimson, Bowie, Porcupine Tree and Cardiacs, among others.
After a while we decided that we needed to add a keyboard player to complete the lineup. We advertised, asked around etc. but nobody was coming forward. We were just about to give up when the bass player decided to put out one more ad and this time we had a couple of people show interest. One of them was this fantastic musician with a whole array of keyboards and he ended up joining us. It was like finding our own Keith Emerson or Rick Wakeman, just perfect for a prog-oriented band! He was also a talented composer so as soon as he came on board, we decided to focus exclusively on writing our own material.
So we got down to the challenging job of coming up with new music. This was a pretty daunting task but we started to bring ideas we each had to rehearsals where we developed them into full arrangements. This worked remarkably well and several months later we have almost a complete set, enough for playing live and for a first CD! This is very exciting and the music is a rich mix of all our influences and styles, some of it quite complex and difficult but definitely representative of where we want to be as a band. It has ended up more rocky than my original intention but that is all to the good as there is a lot of energy in the music.
The next phase will be to stop writing and to focus instead on perfecting the songs and learning to play them properly! We will probably record the album as soon as we have them up to performance level and then go out and play gigs. The material is somewhat niche but we believe there is definitely a market for what we are doing, even if it is likely to be a fairly minority one as the music is definitely not mainstream. At this point in our lives we don’t really care about that as our priority is to write and play what we want, not to please any particular market.
Anyway, the whole experience is very exciting and satisfying. I am still writing my own music which is a mix of orchestra, guitars and electronics but having a band as well complements that project perfectly. It’s just finding the time to fit it all in that can be a bit of a challenge!
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