I’ve been a musician ever since I first hit a snare drum at the age of fifteen.
It was already too late to make career choices, as I was on the fast track to an art career.
So now I’m a technical artist by trade, but making music seems to be my modus operandi.
So if I could drop what I have, and jump into a band, what band would that be? Here are five candidates.
The Microdance are a confident and lively alternative rock band hailing from Hackney. Fronted by Alex Keevill, they have been recording tracks since 2009. Keevill’s vocals bring the balance between emotion and raw energy to the music, in a manner akin to Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins. But the instrumental context is more of a deep and atmospheric wall of sound, combining ethereal, dream-like ambiences with occasional bursts of adrenalin-fuelled rock. ‘We Are Made Of Evil Things’ is possibly their greatest track and it shows off everything that the band is about: Drama, brutality, alternative culture. This band feel like part of my lucid dreams. The music feels more than familiar with who I am! The Microdance frequent the divey music bars of East London, in venues such as The Macbeth in Shoreditch. Until recently, they were looking for a female synth player. Undertaking gender reassignment surgery for the purposes of joining a band is a step too far in my book.
The Warm Inventions
Mazzy Star has ruled my mp3 collection for over fifteen years. Most of that time, they haven’t even been active until recently. Hope Sandoval and Dave Roback got together to record a few new tracks, and a small tour was put together during the summer of 2012. They appear to have gone quiet for the moment, as the promised new album, to follow up their last release, ‘Among My Swan’ – 1996, never appeared. After that album, Mazzy Star began a musical hiatus period, during which time, Sandoval formed a band with former My Bloody Valentine drummer, Colm Ó Cíosóig. Over a period of eight years, 2 studio albums came out that were absolutely stunning. ‘Bavarian Fruit Bread’ and ‘Through The Devil Softly’ took the Mazzy Star sound and dragged it deep into an inescapable opiated daydream. Live performances hypnotised the audiences with psychedelic visuals and cathartic intensity in the music. That’s the band I want to be a part of!
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
I don’t think that there could be a more fun group to work in than Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Karen O’s impressive front-woman antics are second to none. Music from the first two albums all have a satisfying dirty, cheeky, punk-rock feel. And some of the songs are frankly bonkers. Take ‘Black Tongue’ on their debut album, ‘Fever To Tell’, which is a good old song about necrophilia. Their third album brings us through to a playful disco sound, which works so well live. Often when rock bands decide to go electronic, something gets a little bit lost, but ‘It’s Blitz’ totally worked out. I would liken being a Yeah Yeah Yeah to experiencing a wild roller-coaster ride in a car full of monkeys, from their stage persona. But the global respect that this band commands gives them an international army of fans to chant for encores. Must be one helluva stage to share! Need a synth guy, Yeah Yeah Yeahs?
Winners of the Mercury prize in 2010, this band hailing from Wandsworth made a huge impact on the musical consciousness of a generation overwhelmed with over-produced, high-budget, over-marketed saccharin. Their minimalist sound concealed an intensity present in so few other bands, and their live performances show off their artistic vision in kinaesthetic displays of bright white lights and shadow play. Jamie XX stands at the back of this three piece, inventing a new role for himself apart from the traditional duties of a rock drummer. He beats away at MIDI triggers for the smooth and deep drum sounds, and lays down collections of pads on an array of synthesisers as the boy-girl combination of singers in Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim connect with the audiences. Croft’s haunting guitar melodies and the deep, rumbling bass and drum sections make a great instrumental combination. I would possibly struggle to find a role in this band, but no harm in hoping!
The Howling Bells self-titled debut album came out in 2006. From the members of Australian indie rock act, Waikiki, a new band emerged that was based in London, exposing the music to an indie rock hungry army of potential fans. The album was absolutely superb, presenting a stylish and catchy, gothy indie rock sound with hints of Americana. The songs were packed with emotion and drama and the simplicity of this three-piece collection of musicians with such a full sound was impressive. Following a long period on the road, supporting Placebo on their Australian tour, Howling Bells moved on from their record label, Bella Union and got to work on a new album, which was to become ‘Radio Wars’. The album featured heavily in advertising, as it was linked to a new generation of Apple music devices, but sadly, the impact of the music was not so great. They sounded like a different band. If I was going to join Howling Bells, it would be on the condition that we pick up where the amazing debut album left off.
One band I’ll never get the chance to join is The Doors. The band continued for a couple of years after the demise of their enigmatic front-man, Jim Morrison in 1971. But a resurrection of the key psychedelic rock band is unlikely to happen after Ray Manzarek, the talented keyboardist behind their unique, trippy, laid-back, West Coast sound, lost his battle with cancer, just a month ago on May 20th 2013. This post has to be dedicated to Ray who has claimed hundreds of hours of my life, paying attention to his incredible skills on a good old Fender Rhodes.