YEAH, I’M IN A BAND: THE GILLIEZ – DEMO DAYS

“I promise you I actually can play drums” laments Louis, head in hands after yet another take of out-of-time drum tracking. The walls of Ben’s spare room feel as though they are slowly closing in around us as a sideways glance at my phone reveals that we’ve been struggling to record the most basic elements of the one song we’ve written for four hours.

“Don’t worry mate you’ll get it” I force myself to say through gritted teeth whilst Ben, hunched over his Mac, takes a break from furious clicking and intense screen staring to gaze into my eyes with a look that says “this is really fucking long.” Kristian’s lounging on the sofa behind me staring at the ceiling cursed with a different fate – having flawlessly recorded his bass part in the first 10 minutes of the session, is now left with nothing to do but watch while the rest of us grapple with the mammoth task at hand.

This was the scene of the first recording session The Gillies attempted with the current line-up and it had to be done. It’s the first step towards achieving the ultimate goal that all teenage, garage-born-and-bred bands share – to play a show. What promoter would ever take us seriously if we didn’t have a zero-budget demo track to show them? Of course at the time I was convinced that our four-chord wonder was going to be the next ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and that all it took for a song to sound like a contemporary production masterpiece was determination and a distortion peddle.

Four hours in a sweaty loft conversion proved the opposite. The fruit of our labour was not the modern grunge anthem that I had dreamed it to be, but a flimsy demo that sounded more disjointed than your nan’s dodgy hip. It was the first time any of us had properly recorded with actual software with actual an band, and despite our best effort it still sounded like the brittle attempt of four stoned pubescent skaters in a bedroom… Which I guess is exactly what it was…

I look back on that day with my official 20-20 hindsight spectacles not as an embarrassing misfire but as a key learning experience. Every single band goes through the same thing, and without that awful, flat, out-of-time rendition of a song we don’t even play any more, maybe we would not have come as far as we have. It doesn’t matter how shit it sounds, what matters is that it exists, and that you dragged it into existence kicking and screaming. So, to all you fledgling young future rock stars I say get your band together and record, record, and keep recording until you have something to show for it. And even if it sounds like its been recorded through someone’s arsehole you’ll be one step closer to that all important first gig…

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