Say Hello to….. Gideon’s Demise
I first came across these guys last year, about the same time they release their album Kiss My Temper, which I highly reccommend you check out. It’s a release full of potential anthems and great rock. It’s very rare to come across a great rock act but hidden away in the depths of Southampton is just such a thing.
Gideon’s Demise, consisting of Gideon Towers, Jim Sparshott and Mike Vaughan, are a refreshing three-piece outfit who are gradually bringing rock back to life and with each track they continue to make music they love, what more can you ask from a band?
I got chatting to Gideon Towers, guitarist and vocalist, about the band.
How did the band come together?
Initially the band was started by Matt Stanton – ex drummer. Matt asked Jim if he’d like to play bass in a band, to which Jim said yes. Having never played Bass Jim promptly picked up a cheap bass guitar and started to jam with Matt. I used a site called Muso finder to find a band to play guitar in, and they were advertising for a singer. Because the site was saturated in aspiring guitarists and bands that needed none, I applied for their singer position. In truth I was a shit singer at the time, but I write songs that suit my voice and in time got better.
However Matt after flirting with a few other bands eventually left to join one of them. This really stinted our growth until Mike Vaughan stepped into his boots, and we have not looked back.
What influences you?
A lot of stuff influences our music. I grew up listening obsessively to REM & Oasis. Jim loved Radiohead, Muse, Perfect Circle, Placebo, and a lot of obscure stuff I’ve not heard of. Mike is totally open-minded – if he likes it then he likes it. He doesn’t pay attention to what he should like according to band culture – and that’s why we like him so much.
How do you apply that to your music?
For me Michael Stipe is a real poet of his time – a mature and excellent wordsmith. In turn lyrics are a really important part of the music. The Oasis element is streaked into our music simply because we love big ambitious sounding songs with smooth melodies. When I take a song to the others however, they always darken it up a lot, which really gives us anything that might be unique.
Last year saw you perform at Bestival, how was that?
Bestival was very cool. Even being accepted to play validated our music and the time and effort spent to make music that we love. Unlike the other money spinning competitions just to play a Festival – someone important simply like our music and put their seal of approval on us – and that was it, we were in. It was a quality time for all of us. Our biggest audience to date and we thrived there, playing a really tight set. Except for Mike heading to the shower just before we were due on it was a pretty relaxed experience and we got some ace feedback.
How have things been since the release of Kiss My Temper?
Slow. When Matt left shortly after the album launch we were left in a real tight spot for about nine months. It’s not easy to find a decent drummer who fits in with you both as a musician and in personality. We had to stop gigging and focused on finding someone. Now that Mike is on board we are focusing on new music, and then promotion.
You mentioned that you’re about to start recording again, do you have a clear vision of what you want to produce?
Not really. We have defined songs and we have the kind of feel we are going for, but some of the musical parts are written or tightened up at the studio. We believe we have some really good songs that we are recording soon, but we don’t know how they will come out. The guy who records us essentially also produces us. He makes suggestions and brings some of our music to life in ways we would have no idea how to do – he knows what we like and how best to achieve that sound. He’s helped us develop our trademark sound, and it’s always exciting hitting the studio not knowing exactly how it will all come together.
You’ve received a lot of praise from critics, many saying that your music was made for stadiums, is that the dream?
No. If course we would love to play stadiums, but a dream like this is illusive and if you held it in high regard could bring a band to its knees. We are realistic about what we are and what “making it” really is. Think about it this way – the vast majority of music we hear on mainstream radio has some kind of financial backing – and therefore someone influential with a vested interest in that artist becoming successful. In turn success is often related to money and PR and is less to do with the music, and if you have limited resources for either of these, no matter how good your music is, it’s very difficult for the masses to hear it and get even a taste for it.
We know plenty of bands that are perpetually “on the brink of making it”. I know one band who have been in that spot for over 10 years. If “making it” is the dream, then I think that’s a depressing fate.
So, this has led us to a very specific goal and mindset. We are devoted to making music we love. That is the goal, and it’s not something we can get bored of and we are not disappointed. We would love to play stadiums and stuff, but that is not the primary goal. We believe at least a few of our songs are good enough that if they were played to death through mainstream radio we’d develop a healthy following and a lot of people would like them. But that’s not where we are at the moment. We will continue to push the music independently and try and achieve goals and always remain ambitious, but to benchmark your value on the music industry in the state it’s currently in is not a healthy thing to do.
Since forming what has been the most exciting thing that has happened to you?
A few things. BBC Introducing gave us an excellent review just after hammering two other bands. We thought we were in for a verbal assault but they loved it. The two other things are Bestival – an amazing experience, and supporting Reef at the O2 Academy Bournemouth, who again I grew up on. These were all amazing experiences.
For someone who hasn’t heard your music before how would you describe it to them?
I’d probably use lots of clichés, but what’s the point? These descriptions always sound shit. I normally put other people’s quotes in there. I’d say listen to “Take Me Down” and “Glow” from our album, and you’ll get a decent cross-section of the kind of music we play. They represent the two sounds we go for. The first is very emotive, and the second is a driving balls out sound.
How do you approach song writing, do you have a bit of a laugh or do you take it more seriously?
When I’m writing alone it’s normally in the middle of the night and the songs are quite serious. I used to write more this way and take the songs to the band, but in recent time we have been coming up with tunes together which has been awesome. It is a good laugh with the others – they have a dark, shocking and strangely appealing sense of humour.
I’ve interviewed bands who have toured with Blondie and Alice in Chains and they’ve seemed pretty chuffed. Who would you love to tour with and why?
I think in terms of style of music, bands like Proud Mary or Band of Skulls would be ace.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
After a while of being offline – we’ll be back gigging soon with new music. We’ll be playing the Brook in Southampton on 2September. Can’t wait to get started again.
So there you have it, a hardworking band who in it for the love of music, it’s nice to have people about who care about the music more than the money. Be sure to keep an ear out for them, with critics already looking favourably on them it’slikely we’ll be hearing more of Gideon’s Demise in the future.
If you’re keen to find out more about Gideon’s Demise you can find them at their Facebook page, on Twitter or even at their website where you can download three free tracks. If you want to listen to more of their music you can also head on over to http://www.nme.com/artists/gideons-demise and check out some of there tracks.
Photos were taken from the band’s Facebook page.