There has always been a tradition of creativity in this city. And, as well as producing talent, we’re more than happy to harbour creative strangers and nurture them, taking them under our wing and helping them flourish.
The Wild Eyes are such strangers but they’re welcome to stay as long as they like.
The band consists of Huw Roberts (vocals, guitar), Sam Gill (drums) and Neal Johnson (bass). Growing up in small towns and in the throes of Britpop, Huw and Sam bonded at school, buying singles from Our Price and salivating over the recent copy of NME, it was an exciting time to be young and enthusiastic about music. Neal met Huw later, sparking a connection with a shared love of early Verve. It is this deep connection through music that has interwoven through the history of the band. After stints at Universities, the trio again came together and formed the band (then a four piece).
Describing themselves as ‘rock and roll weirdos’, we’re prone to agree with them. The thing that has become ‘weird’ in the current music industry are bands with little history before they are signed or put out a single; most new bands never play gigs to a handful of people on Monday nights, they never have to think about learning to win audiences over with a sound that speaks for itself. Maybe the Wild Eyes are weird, but for all of the right reasons.
The band may be a familiar name to Liverpool gig goers, and have been for a number of years. Most bands would try to hide this fact, paint it out of their history and reinvent themselves as a fresh new act; but in this case, that really is not necessary. The trio are quite happy in their own skin, as Huw says, ‘We’re proud of the fact that we’ve developed. You know, it’s rare for anything to arrive fully formed’.
‘One of our first gigs was at Bar Ca Va, we started the first song and I immediately broke a string. I threw the guitar down and that’s when the performer in me came out. I didn’t have anything to hide behind and just sort of exploded with energy. All of the movement and attack I’d typically put into playing needed to come out and just got channelled at the audience. I think the others were taken aback. Something was born then perhaps…’.
Huw has all of the makings of a showman; softly spoken and articulate, yet when he looks across the crowd from behind a mic stand, he comes alive; he struts, he talks with his hands, he has your attention, and the music pulsates through his words and out into the room, creating an atmosphere all its own. This did not go unnoticed at Liverpool Music Week in 2010, which earned the band some rave reviews and a lot of local media exposure.
Their sound is psychedelic garage, a template that has changed a little over the years yet still remains true to the group. Sam began life in the band as a guitarist, yet as time passed by and drummers came and went, he found a home behind the kit. Holed up in their rehearsal room, they created a brand new set of songs – songs that would bring them to the forefront of a new scene emerging in Liverpool.
‘We had an old kit down at the practice room that we would use to help us writing tracks. Over time Sam started to bang away on it more and more, and a set of songs developed on which he just played drums’, says Huw. This new set up seemed to bring in a wave of much needed luck for the trio, and has rolled on ever since, seeing them build up a following and a lot of admiration from fellow musicians.
Their new set comprises songs such as ‘Kosmos’ which is like a seductive lover, an ethereal tune calling you into the realm of Heaven, tinged with specks of darkness; floating back down from your cloud, ‘Sweet Teardrops’ and ‘I Look Good on You’ slap you hard in the face and take you roughly by the collar- dragging you around the back streets of a town seething with sleazy riffs, whilst ‘On the Shore’ never fails to transport the listener to a midnight river, glistening in the moonlight.
2011 is set to be a busy year for the trio, with a 7’ single in the pipeline, and tour of Liverpool booked for the coming months, we’d advise at least one dose of The Wild Eyes this spring, if not two, just to fill any space you may have in your heart for a new favourite band.
(pic courtesy: David Howarth)