When I finally broke it was nearly a year after my best friend was hit by a taxi. The realisation that nothing was really improving, in his life or mine, and the titanic struggle I was having with the inability to mourn the loss of a relationship because my friend was still alive got to me.
I had burst into tears in the shower and had been weeping uncontrollably for the best part of an hour. I called my Dad. He understands depression. He understood my situation. It was comforting, but by no means a resolution. American Football had been my religion for the best part of a decade, but it was no longer a source of structure or method for me to let off some steam. I needed a new religion… or to resuscitate and reinvigorate my interest in an old one.
At the start of the year I was invited by my flatmate to jam with his band ‘Servants of Serpents’. They had their first gig booked in March and their bassist had left. It had been almost four years since I had plugged in an instrument with the intention of rehearsing, let alone performing in front of an audience. It took a couple of rehearsals to click with the guys musically, having spent a week or two completely re-writing bass lines that were anything but audible on the rehearsal recordings they’d given me to learn. The gig went pretty well, and I wanted to stick around; working with the band and writing music gave me both a sense of purpose and a creative outlet. There was one condition attached… I wanted them to change the name of the band. We weren’t death metal, and I object to being the subject of another, let alone a servant. The guys agreed pretty quickly, and we had a band meeting in Rufus T Firefly to throw some ideas around. We kept the SOS acronym, but rebranded to Sound Over Silence.
Before long I was writing new material. Take the Kill was the first arrangement for a song I presented to the band. Euan worked lyrics in pretty quickly, and it was good to go pretty quickly. As each week passed I was becoming more and more involved with the band management, the creative direction of the band, and within the scene.
22.5.09 is an important date for me. On that day I first met a good friend, and one of my musical heroes. In the weeks prior the gig that night I had scouted the bands who would be sharing the bill at Cosmopol. Where I Start You End was the stand out on Myspace. I knew all the words by gigtime… totally fanboy-ed out in the front row, chanting the chorus straight back at the band. To this day, the singer/guitarist Bobby is a good friend… and I still fanboy-out over his records. Seminole had a sound that was reminiscent of Reuben, and there was a tongue and cheeky nature to both the lyrics and the music. Their song Vegequarian (it’s about vegetarians that eat fish) features a breakdown that sounds like the circus is in town, slap bang in the middle of grunge oriented track. Genius.
We would go on to play a number of gigs with Seminole over the next couple of years until they split for a seemingly familiar set of collected reasons; Bob was moving to Edinburgh to find work, the bassist was getting married with the intention of settling down, and the drummer was out of work.
Sound Over Silence were going from strength to strength, and in parallel I was gaining more confidence as a musician and slowly returning to my good old bad old self. The excitement and enthusiasm I felt in the band and for songwriting during 2009 is probably best exemplified by the staying power Take the Kill and Only One had in the live set. We played them both at our final show in February 2014.
Back to ’09-’14: Sound Over Silence.
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