I thought I’d stick a few bits and pieces I found knocking around on my hard drive up here. First up, here’s a biog I wrote for NewIslands ahead of their debut single release earlier this year.
Sometimes the hardest part of writing these things is condensing all the wasted time and missed opportunities a band inevitably go through in their early years into something that sounds like a period of fierce creativity. But NewIslands have made this introduction much easier by actually living what for many is fiction. For their first six months of existence they seem almost to have run on fast forward.
Formed in March 2009, fully formed songs began bursting out of the band’s core duo, David Jones and Luke Shoesmith, right from their very first recording session. It helped, I guess, that their studio was set up in a barn in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the Midlands, free from the distractions of, well, everything. Fuelled by a shared love of David Bowie, Japan, Pink Floyd, The Doors and Prince they set about escaping into their own little world of music – this sounds clichéd perhaps, but it’s true that the announcement of “a weekend recording” generally meant you’d see and hear nothing of either of them for days, even weeks.
Recruiting themselves a band – Thomas Neal, Raife Hacking and son of French singer Patti Layne, Bogart Giner – they quickly began performing live, heading out on their first UK tour by May, as well as picking up a slot at Offset Festival and gigs supporting the likes of Dan Black and Miike Snow as the summer progressed.
As things took off, David and Luke realised that a barn in the middle of nowhere has certain limitations as a base for world domination, so made the move to London. With money tight and creativity riding high (and perhaps trying to retain a little of the spirit of their old studio set up), the pair moved into one cramped room of a house in Shepherds Bush. Despite the fact that they have to take it turns to sleep in the bed (which David broke by jumping on it), this unusual live/work situation doesn’t seem to have harmed their friendship and they continue to go from strength to strength.
As we head toward the end of 2009, the band are preparing for the release of their debut single, ‘Out Of Time’, a track which provides the perfect introduction to NewIslands. A simple pop song, put together with deceptive complexity and led by intertwined synth melodies and David’s insistent vocals, it’s exactly the sort of thing which has earned the band comparisons to Depeche Mode, Animal Collective and The Cure.