Biography - Keith Davies
Keith Andrew Davies (born December 17th 1974) is a rock influenced singer/guitarist and songwriter from the United Kingdom.
Early Life -
Keith Davies was born in Edgware, North West London and raised in Colindale, London, England. He is of English and Welsh heritage. Davies aquired his first drum kit at the age of Three and would constantly be put in his back yard at the request of his nextdoor neighbour so that they could watch him pound away on his tiny drum kit. Davies attended Graham Park Junior School until he turned Ten years old. Whilst attending Graham Park Junior School he was a regular singer in the school choir. At the age of Ten his Mother and Father moved to the South West of England. He spent the remaining years of his Junior School life attending Frian Primary School in Bridgwater, Somerset, England. As soon as he turned Twelve years old he then attended Haygrove Senior School. Whilst attending Haygrove Senior School he found many other ways to entertain himself and one of those ways was creating a short career out of racing Motocross.
He left Haygrove Senior School with all seven GCSE passes when he was Sixteen years old and concentrated on pursuing his Motocross dreams. It wasn't until he reached his mid twenties that he found a bigger passion - THE GUITAR.
Davies taught himself to read guitar tablature and spent many hours of the day trying to play songs by his favourite bands. The first song that he learnt to play on the guitar was a song by Green Day called 'Coming Clean.' As soon as he would learn the structure of each song he would then perform these songs by retreating into his bedroom and playing along to the appropriate songs via his Hi-Fi. For many years he was unaware of the people that stopped outside of his house to listen as they were passing by.
Davies quickly got the hang of playing the guitar and wanted to go one step further and create original songs of his own. Whilst gaining the 'know-how' in order to write original songs he created a YouTube profile and dedicated it to his favourite band Silverchair. He would regularly post videos of himself performing various different Silverchair songs, and gained many loyal followers who appreciated his efforts.
Music Career -
Syphon were a hardcore/screamo band.
Syphon initially formed in the early 2000's with lead singer Henry Dyer. It wasn't until 2002 they began playing at various places. Dyer would soon leave the band, leaving Syphon without a singer. Florey was a regular on the local music scene and was happy to audition for Syphon. Since the departure of Dyer, Davies had written many songs for Syphon and it didn't take long for Florey to put his stamp of approval onto the many songs awaiting him.
From 2002 to 2006 Syphon played many shows and recorded two EP's, 'Sickness Becomes' and 'Round Eye Psychology.' In 2005 Syphon entered the UK Emergenza band competition and got to the Semi Finals.
The many highlights of Syphon's career was sharing the stage with many famous artists and bands such as:
Crowbar, Dry Kill Logic, 4ft Fingers, Skindred and many others..
In 2006 Syphon were offered the chance by Melissa Lee Prescott to perform twice in the USA and that generated mass interest from the BBC, on the strength of that offer it was the beginning of the end for Syphon. Davies went with Justin Mirto (bass guitarist) to be interviewed on BBC Radio to talk about how far they've come in such a short space of time. Ever since that recording took place, things with Syphon were never the same again.
Sickness Becomes (EP)
© copyright Keith Davies.
Carl Florey (vocals)
Keith Davies (lead guitar)
Martyn Chapman (rhythm guitar)
Justin Mirto (bass)
Chris Baker (drums and percussion)
Round Eye Psychology (EP)
© copyright Keith Davies.
Carl Florey (vocals)
Keith Davies (guitar)
Justin Mirto (bass)
Chris Baker (drums and percussion)
Available to buy from the WEB STORE and the following places:
CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon.
Whilst being unemployed, Davies helped Marcus Burns and Ivor Hawthorne to build a public recording studio in a small industrial estate situated in their home town of Bridgwater.
Davies would go on to hook-up with Burns and record a cover version of The Eurythmics song:
Sweet Dreams (are made of this)
Sweet Dreams would go on to proove as Keith's most successful and highest rated video on YouTube with over 125,000 hits.
On the strength of 'Sweet Dreams' success Davies teamed up again with ex-Syphon drummer Chris Baker to form a new band. The new band would continue in the similar vain of Syphon and thus created the hardcore/screamo band Severed.
Severed had trouble finding band members which led Davies and Baker to seek Chris Drew as bass player. Drew was a technical bass player that gave a lot of different avenues to the sound of Severed.
Severed would only consist of three band members:
Davies, Baker and Drew.
Approximately five songs were written by Davies for new band Severed.
None of those songs ever got to see the light of day. The three band members grew further apart and unfortunately many barriers were put in the way and Severed ceased to exist without ever recording a single song.
Within a year after Severed broke up, Keith got married in New York, USA to his American fiance Heather. Keith met Heather during his days with Syphon.
Solo Projects - (2010 - Present Day)
After being married for a few years he decided it was time to get back into creating music again.
In 2010 Davies would go on to write and record his debut solo EP entitled 'The Murmer Of Inertia.'
The Murmer Of Inertia was simply a matter of Keith venting his frustrations regarding the failures of past bands which spawned songs like 'Insert, Delete, The End!' and 'Responsive Against Premonitions That Over-look Reality.'
Davies knew that his musical direction for 'Murmer' was clearly different than what he was known for, but that didn't stop him from continuing his first solo project.
'The Nameless' was the only song from 'Murmer' to be used as a digital single.
Without having a full band to back him up, Davies continued to write and record songs knowing full well that he would have to play every instrument himself.
'The Murmer Of Inertia' was just the beginning of what was to come..
To try and sound complete, Davies invested in a Pro Synthesizer to emulate a full-band.
Whilst learning to use the Synthesizer, Davies taught himself basic piano arrangements and recorded what turned into 'The Bloody Realms Of Malicia.'
As soon as Davies was comfortable in the knowledge that he could emulate a full-band, he started work on his first full length solo album entitled 'Symbolic Hemispheres.'
'Symbolic Hemispheres' originally began production in early 2011.
Davies wrote a handful of songs for 'Hemispheres' but then his mother became ill and in between his mothers illness and writing/recording he found that his concentration levels dropped considerably and decided that after the many hours of effort, he could do better than what he was creating. He pressed 'DELETE' on everything he completed and started from scratch, all except for two songs.
On January 1st 2012 'Never Wanted' (original recording) was released.
In his quest for a better recorded vocal sound, Davies bought a number of different things to aid his needs. One of those things was a better quality microphone.
In preperation for his new attempt at creating 'Symbolic Hemispheres' Davies re-recorded the vocal line to 'Never Wanted' and noticed a big difference between the original and the new version.
In between re-recording the vocal line for 'Never Wanted,' Davies was contacted again by long time friend Melissa Lee Prescott and was asked to write a series of songs and instrumentals for her documentary. Davies took approximately two weeks to write and record the songs that he created for her. Melissa is from MA, USA and has shown interest in Keith's music ever since they both helped run a MySpace profile dedicated to the music of Australian musicians Paul Mac and Daniel Johns. [please see the section entitled 'other projects from Keith' to read about Melissa's documentary]
After helping Melissa with her documentary, it was time to go back to 'Symbolic Hemispheres.'
The second song that Davies kept from 'Hemispheres' original recordings was 'The Bloody Realms Of Malicia.' This is a moody and dramatic intro that is fuelled mostly by the piano.
Davies decided to re-vamp 'Never Wanted' by using 'Realms' as a possible intro to 'Never Wanted.'
On May 7th 2012 'The Bloody Realms Of Malicia / Never Wanted' was released and is now considered a 'B-Side' from 'Symbolic Hemispheres.'
Symbolic Hemispheres -
On July 6th 2012 'Stabbing Daggers' the first digital single from 'Symbolic Hemispheres' is released.
Davies's vocals are possibly the best they've ever been and show a diverse variety in styles. You can tell from this song that Davies is growing in confidence, not just musically, but vocally too.
Davies says "Symbolic Hemispheres' when completed will showcase at least 8 songs of pure adrenaline fuelled rock and metal."
December 31st 2012 is the confirmed release date for 'Symbolic Hemispheres.'
Early 2013 saw Keith embark on another album.
'Seeds and Leeches' was born..
May 7th 2013 turned into the official release date for Seeds and Leeches.
December 17th 2013: Dark Matter, the third album from Keith Davies is released worldwide via iTunes and other digital media websites. Dark Matter is Keith's heaviest set of songs to date and showcases a wonderful limited edition CD package that consists of a comic book, three guitar picks dedicated to Symbolic Hemispheres, Seeds and Leeches and the latest album Dark Matter. Also included within the package is a full colour 8-page booklet and separate gate-fold lyric sheet.
"THE DIARY & RAMBLINGS OF A TROUBLED MIND"
(WARNING: this diary section contains information that is 100% true, I reveal certain things which I've never publicly spoken about before, some people may find the truth uncomfortable to read)
A time that once was..
Back in the year 2001 I decided to try my hand at playing the guitar. To my amazement I started to really click with learning to play this instrument. I was excited to say the least when I learnt my first ever song, what song was it I hear you say? Well, *rolls eyes* it was a Green Day song called 'Coming Clean.' Time went by and I decided to try and write songs of my own. I struggled like hell! Disillusioned and annoyed at how difficult it was to write your own songs I decided to seek advice from my local music store. I went in there and asked many questions about how I could learn to write my own music and I was enticed to start having guitar lessons with a local teacher. I turned up for my first lesson and straight away I asked "can you teach me to write original songs?"
The answer that I got was (at the time) not what I was looking for! I was told that writing songs is not really something anyone can teach a person. The art of song writing comes with a knowledge & understanding of what chords fit best with each other and most of all it's about a 'feeling' from the creator of the song and it's up to them how they piece these chords and notes together to create an original song.
Guitar lessons were taught by the hour and in the remaining time that I had with this guitar teacher I was shown the basic chords and was given a finger picking exercise to learn for when I came back for lesson two. The hour passed and I mastered the picking exercise before I left. My dad was waiting outside to pick me up and when I got back into his van, I bitched and I moaned all the way home about the lessons being a waste of time. Because of my ignorance I never went back for another lesson and I pretty much learnt the hard way of writing songs.. BY EAR!!
What now? I was jobless and had no real money. From that moment in time I decided to spend my days from the moment I got up to moment I slept playing my guitar. I was hell bent on writing my own songs and I took to begging my parents for money so that I could buy guitar tab books. I had arguments over money, I was constantly told to get a job and to stop wasting my time, but somehow my parents caved in and gave me the money for these books. I studied these books day-in and day-out and saw how the bands that I loved put together the chords and notes to make these songs. When I mastered a new song by one of my favourite bands I would immediately put their CD in my player and play along to it FULL BLAST in my bedroom. I soon learnt album after albums worth of songs and I had my parents, aunts and uncles all huddled together outside of my bedroom door listening to me play along to all these different songs. For months on end I wouldn't even know they were there listening? Later on in my life I would find out that my parents would regularly apologize to my neighbours for all the noise, but to my neighbours credit, none of them ever complained! Inside of my bedroom I felt like a rock star, how ever, outside of it was a total different story.
Having all these tablature books and seeing how these songs were written down on paper I started to be able to write my own songs. Learning by ear and not truly understanding music took it's toll on me, but once I had a few songs written I needed to find band members to make these songs become a reality. I could hear in my head how I wanted these songs to sound, I knew what direction I wanted to take these songs, I just didn't have the people around me to make this happen. Without no job, music was my desire in life and I wanted my life to revolve around music.
Finding band members was not going to be easy and it proved to be a royal pain in the ass! 2002 saw the the beginning of the band Syphon. (see biography)
Syphon was formed with just three people:
Me, Martyn and Chris. Martyn was an old school friend of mine and Chris was in a local band with whom I used to go and watch on a regular basis. For months we'd practice playing the songs that I'd written, but two things were missing.. we never had a singer or a bass player. I hid behind my guitar and was content to be lead guitarist and song writer for this band. Could I be a vocalist as well? I always thought "fuck that! I'm not cutout for the frontman job!" but deep inside I was bursting to give it a go!! I held back because I always felt that the others would see me as a dictator. No one ever really saw me as the frontman type and no one suggested that I should even try. So I kept silent and did my best to find someone else to fit the job.
Singers came and singers went, but it was always me who did the running and the chasing, and in the end after months of searching, the bass players roll and vocalist roll was filled with the presence of Henry on vocals and Jason on Bass. Henry was a past band member/vocalist of Chris's old band and it took lots of convincing to get Henry to join. Jason was easier to convince but there was a giant snag with recruiting him, he went to Liverpool University and therefore he was not always around for band practice. We really needed someone & had no other choice, never the less with this line-up we were able to do our first ever gig! I totally scared myself shit-less because in my mind, we were finally moving forward with the band. We were added as openers of the annual FrightFest festival that was founded by Marcus. The FrightFest was all about charity and most of the proceeds went to the BIBIC foundation. Over the years I went to many FrightFest gigs and was blown away that my first ever gig would be at one of these shows.
Click link below to see a rare photo:
The FrightFest gig turned out to be the one and only gig that Jason ever played with us and to this day it it also turned out to be the only gig that my mum ever came to watch me perform. Jason left soon after and spent most of his time living in Liverpool. Gutted about being let down, our paths would one day cross again but in totally different circumstances. (i will reveal more about us reuniting at a later date) So, Syphon were bass-less again and had to endure the process of searching for a replacement. Enter Marcus..
Marcus joined Syphon and quickly learnt our songs with precision and brought a whole new phase to the band. This phase was both positive and negative which ultimately started the beginning of the end..
Soon after Marcus joined Henry announced that he would be leaving due to family issues and work commitments. So we were fucked good and proper now!! I felt like banging my head against the wall!!
We went on without a singer for what felt like an eternity, band practice after band practice I would stand there and try to ask the others for opinions on who we could get to replace Henry? After months of searching we eventually recruited local singer and friend Carl. Carl was a nerdy looking character who never really looked like he fit as the singer of a hardcore band like Syphon. Come to think of it, none of us really looked the part except for Martyn. He sported a bull ring through his nose and had long hair, he wore black most the time and he was a die hard fan of Robb Flynn from Machine Head. (hence the bull ring through his nose) whereas the rest of us looked like a reject boyband. It became very amusing to turn up for gigs and see other bands reactions to us, one minute they all pointed and laughed in our direction but that all soon stopped as soon as Carl opened his mouth on stage! Most people stood there in awe of what they were seeing and hearing. I can still see their faces now, you could tell they were all saying "How the hell are they able to produce this?"
Marcus was also a member of another local band who offered his services, he was, and probably still is undoubtedly a very talented musician. The way this all came about was when I gave up every spare minute of my time to help Marcus and our mutual friend Ivor build a recording studio. I would give them 12hr days, 7days a week, and sometimes more in order to ensure that not just mine but ALL local bands had somewhere to practise and record their songs. I worked my ass off for free all because I saw a positive outlook for music in our home town. The recording studio would take many months to complete and was totally funded by Ivor. He spent hundreds and thousands on renting a building that we could turn into a recording studio, we knocked walls down and rebuilt the whole inside. Ivor searched all over the UK & gained recording equipment and bought pro-acoustic wall tiles, he totally blew me away with his dedication. Within the amount of time it took the three of us to build the studio, myself, Ivor and Marcus had many long chats into the early hours of many mornings about Syphon and music in general. Many times Marcus and Ivor spoke about giving me a regular job working at the studio when it was built. Marcus and Ivor would both tell my dad that they were going to offer me a full time job when the studio was finished. Everything seemed so positive and genuine. Both parties even went as far to say that I could personally record my songs for free 'for life' when the studio was finished. They saw it as repayment for all the hours and dedication that I gave to them. When I learned of their intentions it made me feel really proud. I truly felt like I belonged somewhere.
When I think back to the time when Marcus joined Syphon I was totally stoked to have him be a part of our band. He was a well respected musician in his own right. After all, both myself and Marcus have a strong passion for the Canadian rock band Rush, and we just all clicked instantly. So for the very first time we were able to gig anywhere and everywhere, and I made sure that we were a part of everything that was available to us at the time! So with the bass player and new vocalist problems solved, we went on to produce what I would call the finest era of Syphon's short lived career. We supported bands like Crowbar (made up of members from bands such as Super Joint Ritual and Black Label Society etc..) we also supported NYC hardcore band Dry Kill Logic on one of their UK tour dates. Things were going really well. With my endless desire to be a success I turned up to one of our band practices and I remember standing in front of everyone and saying "I wanna take our band to the limit, I wanna go as far as we can go, If I can get us all the way, do you really want this?"
Everyone agreed and seemed positive. So I took that positive response and I ran with it.. People would flock to our gigs in droves. I'd make poster after poster and I would ride around my home town on my bicycle putting up illegal posters on walls and lamp posts just to get people interested in our gigs. I spent a fortune on printer ink (or rather my parents did). That stuff is truly expensive. We'd begin to get a big following online and around the world. I would go days without sleep pestering people all over the world via the internet to get them to listen to our music. I felt like a total zombie and I could never have done this if I worked a regular 9 to 5 job. It was through this endless desire that I became friends with one of my heroes, Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns. Even though I was hell bent on trying to promote my own band I am a massive fan of the Australian band Silverchair and I was lucky enough to be offered the chance to help run the official Daniel Johns and Paul Mac MySpace profile. (i will tell this story another time) It was through running this MySpace profile that gained Syphon the worldwide attention that it got! With situtations eclipsing closer to home I managed to enter Syphon into the national Emergenza band competition and this was where everything started to fall apart. The idea for this competition was to springboard us towards the people who were in the UK music business because all the judges were music business bigwigs. At this particular moment in time there was no call for rock bands in the UK and it was almost impossible to be taken seriously due to all the pop acts that the UK was churning out. Myself, Carl, Marcus, Marytn and Chris all agreed to take part in this competition. Both myself and my brother arranged transport for our fans so that as many people would come and see us play, we needed as many people supporting us as possible because at the end of each round of the competition the audience had to vote for who they thought was the best. Naturally, the more fans you had supporting you the better your chances would be of progressing through each round. The judges would vote and also the audience would vote too. One of the drawbacks to this type of competition was that the Emergenza organizers would only allow the guitarists/bassists to bring their guitars and foot pedals. Everything else was supplied for you right down to the amplification, guitar leads and drum kit. The idea of this was to make each band on equal par with each other and it was supposed to have sorted out the good bands from the crap ones. (shit idea if you ask me) If you had any requests for any additional equipment such as a double bass drum pedal, you had to let the organizers know weeks before your round was due to take place. So we turned up at every round with the BIG help of my brother paying for bus loads of people to come and support us, we were ready to destroy anyone who opposed us! We watched each band do a sound check, we watched each band point and laugh at our appearance. It was pretty intense, and we wasn't prepared for what came next..
The way that this competition was organized was simply bizarre! To cut a long story short, in each early eliminating round, all genres of music were kept in their respective category, i.e. Rock/Metal was drafted together, Pop and Dance music were kept together. So with that said, in our first round we were up against many different rock and metal acts. It all seemed very well organized. When it was our turn to get up on stage we were given 30mins to impress the judges and audience. We won the first round and was put straight through to the second round! A few weeks went by and the second round arrived, we sailed through that too.. More weeks went by and we got all the way to the semi finals and this is when everything turned sour. We arrived at our gig/destination to find that the double-bass foot pedal that we ordered in every round was suddenly not available for us! The Emergenza organizers were a bit, how do I say, non cooperative with us. To make matters worse, when we complained to them they tried telling us that we never even requested one, (which was bullshit!) in the end they said that if we want a double-bass pedal we would have to pay £50.00! I was like "What the fuck??"
So we argued our case and all the bands on the bill were there watching and listening, pointing and whispering, and in the end someone who was a fan of ours piped up and said "Fuck it, I'll pay the £50 so that you can play!"
Before we could say anything to this guy he was off out of the venue and looking for the nearest cash machine!! Whilst he was gone we continued to appoint our disapproval of the way we were now being treated and we were thrown into chaos when we was told that we had now missed our slot for a sound-check due to our complaining! This really angered everyone in the band!! We never had any spare cash on us because we were not expecting to have to pay for something that we had used in past rounds of the competition. As tempers were still flying, along came our knight in shining armor with the £50.00!
If my memory serves me correctly I swear this guy's name was Charlie and he split the money between himself and a kid called Dan? I have a recollection of being on stage and having Carl thank the guys and I feel certain that their names were Dan and Charlie. Anyway, So Charlie comes back with the money and hands it to the organizers who then say that they've gotta send someone out to try and get a double-bass foot pedal for Chris to use. Where did they get the foot pedal from? THEY GOT IT FROM THE BACK OF SOMEONES CAR WHO WAS ALREADY AT THE VENUE!! We were being ripped off and due to all the commotion that was going on we never really got a chance to see who we were up against, low and behold we were the ONLY Metal act in this semi-final! Every other band in our semi-final was nothing like us. It seemed very obvious that we were being sent home before we even got to play our set. With all this shit going on we demanded that we have one of our own people do the sound for our semi-final, and the Emergenza organizers agreed that we could.
Ivor (who I spoke about earlier) had been doing the sound for us at our recent gigs, and he eagerly stepped up and took to the controls when it was our turn. Remember, we never had a sound-check so he was going into this BLIND!! He was forced to do our sound-check through our opening song! As we climbed up on stage and plugged in our equipment, Carl proceeds to entertain the crowd by slagging off the event and the organization of it. He also slated the fact that we as a metal band are now suddenly put against pop and dance acts. This semi-final, we never stood a chance!
I remember standing there on stage knowing full well that we were never going to progress further than this round.. As my opening guitar riff belted out, we were on a collision course to self destruct! Our stage presence was angry, we literally blew the roof off of the venue! The audience never knew what to do with us?? The performance we put on that night was talked about for ages after wards. Our fans loved what we did, we also took part of our performance into the crowd. Carl would very often disappear into the audience and freak people out with his aggressive style. I always remember what Carl would say to people about his stage presence.. He'd say "I'm a performer, not a singer!" Needless to say, after our set was over we waited for the results and we never progressed any further in the Emergenza band competition. We were booted out of the semi-final!! Leading up to the semi-finals I managed to get newspapers interested in covering our progression. Everyone was talking about us, it was insane!
Click links below to read newspaper articles regarding Syphon and the Emergenza competition:
I mentioned earlier that Ivor was tasked to be our sound engineer at our live gigs. During this time Ivor noticed a serious point that was beginning to take place within Syphon's sound. Band practice for Syphon was always held at the studio that I spoke about earlier, and one particular evening I arrived early for practice. I entered the building to find that Marcus was already inside and when I unpacked my gear from my dad's van, he hit me with news that we had a problem.
Marcus told me that Ivor had noticed that Martyn's guitar playing and sound was not up to scratch and warned me that someone needed to tell him to sort it out! Apparently at our Emergenza 'semi-final' Ivor had to turn down Martyn's guitar in the main mixing desk in order to get the best sound from the venue. From what Marcus said to me it appeared to not be the first time that Ivor had done this. Straight away my first response was "Who's gonna be the one to tell him?" Marcus's response was "I can't do it because this isn't my band."
One thing that Marcus did say that worried the hell out of me was the fact that he was almost ready to start helping us to record our first Ep, and he said that everyone is carrying Martyn and if Martyn's guitar sound wasn't up to scratch then it would ruin the whole recording!!
Not knowing how to proceed with this I chose to keep silent through this particular band practice. I didn't want to present the problem & make anyone feel uncomfortable. When band practice finished I arranged to meet up with Martyn to somehow find the right words to say what was needed face to face without upsetting him. I'm going to be brutally honest here and say that Martyn was the kind of guy who went around telling our fans that he was the one who wrote and arranged our songs, (in actual truth, the guy couldn't even change his own guitar strings, he always got me to do it for him so that pretty much spells out his ability) and I just let him carry on with his fantasy. I never really tried fighting with him over it. When it came to music, at this particular moment in time, Martyn was the type of guy that turned his amp up as high as it would go and he didn't care if he drowned out the rest of the band. In his eyes, he thought that volume was the key and that was the way rock and metal was meant to be played! Up until now we just laughed it all off and basically said "That's just Martyn!"
But things were starting to kick off for us and we needed to be in top form all of the time.
So with regards to me talking to him about his sound.. He took it surprisingly well and told me that he would work at his playing ability and try to change his sound for the better. He told me that he didn't want to upset anyone and I was happy with his response, because after all, we had been friends since school and I wanted this to work out as quickly and in the best way possible. With that said, next band practice came and Martyn set up his amp and he kept it at a respectful level and things started off really well. (or so I thought)
Little did I know at the time, Martyn did take offence and the real reason for this will be explained later. Instead of giving me the same respect and talking to me about it, he kept it all inside and gradually started turning up his amps louder, and louder.. For fear of upsetting the band I tried to ignore it. We were back to square one within a matter of weeks and we had a big show coming up at the time, we were due to support American punk band '4ft Fingers' on June 2nd 2005 at the biggest venue in our home town. 'The Palace' was the venue. Back in the day the venue used to be a cinema complex until they turned it into a multi story nightclub and inside of the building they have what I can only describe as a big theater style stage with open plan flooring leading to a double tier pavilion. Imagine a broadway theatre interior and you get see what I mean.
On Wednesday 1st June 2005 we had our final band practice before Thursday's gig with '4ft Fingers.' As usual my brother travelled all the way from the north of the UK to come and see Syphon perform. He'd spend 9hrs on a coach just to come and see Syphon play. As you already know from reading above, my brother spent hundreds of his own money and helped Syphon hire coaches to support us at each round of the Emergenza competition. Seeing as my brother was visiting he came with me to band practice. Everyone in the band knew my brother and just like always there were more and more people turning up at our band practices. The place was pretty full because many of the people who came to our band practices were mainly friends of Martyn's and they used to hang around smoking weed whilst we practiced. People used to say to me "it's like a free gig and we get to smoke weed too!" If I'm honest it used to piss me off when all these people turned up, and yet I never said anything, i just tried my best to focus on the music. I was glad that my brother was there, after all, he never abused the situation or tried to mess around, he was a genuine fan of the band. After band practice finished we all sat around in the hang-out area of the studio and had a laugh and joke and spoke about the gig we were about to play the following evening! As the night went on Martyn's girlfriend turned up to take him home and she briefly came into the studio to say hello. We all hung around for a little while longer before we called it a night and went home. Everyone was in good spirits..
Thursday 2nd June 2005 arrives and we're due to support '4ft Fingers' and I totally wasn't prepared for what I was about to witness. At this gig there was another band playing too. This particular band was called 'Fastlane' and this was Fastlane's last gig before they were due to perform at the UK's Download festival in 2005. Syphon had to share a dressing room with 'Fastlane' and they were brilliant people. They spoke to us like we were friends and they made us feel welcome at the gig. '4ft Fingers' were the complete opposite. None of the band members spoke to us, they looked at us as if we shouldn't have been there. It was intense to say the least. After all, they may have had a point, they were punk and we were a screamo band. Still, the worst for me personally was yet to come..
Syphon were due to go on stage for a sound-check and Carl, Chris, Martyn and Marcus were all still in the dressing room. I ran to get them to tell them that we were due on in about 5mins and what I overheard/witnessed from our dressing room totally killed me. The nearer I got to our dressing room I could hear hysterical laughter coming from the room and I have NEVER spoken to anyone other than my parents about this incident, until now.
My whole band was making fun of my brother, and Martyn in particular was doing impressions of him and it killed me when the people in my own band were all joking about his dress sense and how they all thought he was gay. They were doing impressions of the way he acts and speaks. To this day I have never forgotten what Martyn said, he was telling them about what his girlfriend said to him when they got into the car after band practice the night before. He was like - "Yeah, when my girlfriend turned up and looked at Keith's brother she thought to herself, WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?"
Everyone pissed themselves laughing and I didn't know what to do with myself? Do I bust in the room and kick off about it? Do I risk having an argument about it just before we're due to go on stage? I quickly decided to not say anything and whilst the laughter was still echoing I walked into the dressing room.. Instant silence greeted me and shock appeared on all their faces.. I smiled and said "we're due for sound-check anytime now!" I turned around and walked straight back out.. To which I hear Martyn say "That was close, do you think he heard what we were saying?"
I kept walking and thought to myself "I heard ya! But you'll all still take his money if given the chance!!"
My instant reaction to this was noticeable to everyone in the band because I didn't really say much to the guys during and after this gig. I just did what I had to do and got off stage. After the gig a few of the guys had the nerve to follow me outside and ask me if I was alright? I mean, C'mon, you just butchered my brother back there and you all know damn well that I heard what you were saying and yet you act like it's me that has the problem??
Click links below to see a rare pics of the Palace gig:
(photo taken from video still)
For a sneak peek at a live song from the Palace gig see video below:
(amateur video footage recorded via a Hi-8 video camera)
We were all stood outside near the rear exit fire doors when all of a sudden a group of girls went by and they noticed me standing there. They came up to me and asked for my autograph!! I was shocked because this was the first time that this had happened to me! Of course, I said yes, and within a matter of minutes they were telling me how great they thought our show was. It was without doubt the best ending to a rather unflattering gig. It hit home to me how other people perceived our performance when behind the scenes I was ready to quit! I stand firm in saying that if it wasn't for those girls saying what they said, I probably would have walked away from Syphon after this gig! Knowing that these people had a good time because of our music gave me the desire to try and forget what I had witnessed from my own band members. And that's what I did.. I never mentioned anything to Carl, Chris, Martyn or Marcus. I held it all inside for fear of losing what I had created. Why should I be the one to walk away from all the effort I've put into this band?
A few weeks pass-by and our first Ep entitled 'Sickness Becomes' is due to start recording. Now someone else is going to suddenly let us down..
As we build up and prepare to record our first Ep, we were out of the blue asked to take part in the 2005 FrightFest music festival. After much consideration we decided to put on hold the recording of our Ep until after the gig took place. This particular years FrightFest was due to be held on 30th June 2005. As I explained earlier, Marcus was also in another local band and he was the sole creator and man in charge of his band called 'Downfall.'
Now for the first time Syphon was not the opening act! The running order of the 2005 FrightFest was as follows:
First on was a band called - 'Angelology'
Then 'Downfall' was due to take to the stage followed by..
and then we had headliners 'Twin Method.'
Click link below to see the FrightFest running order poster:
Speaking of 'Twin Method,' this was to be the next time that we ran into our old bass player Jason. Jason was lucky enough to be the vocalist of a band that got to America and toured with the likes of Machine Head, American Headcharge and Slipknot to name a few. Their debut album 'The Volume Of Self' was recorded by former Machine Head and Soulfly guitarist Logan Mader. To make matters worse this gig was to be Twin Method's make or break gig. What a lot of people didn't know was that at this gig there was Twin Method's (future) management which was also Slipknot's management too. What was happening here was simple, the management wanted to see how the UK reacted to Twin Method and this was their first chance to see for themselves. If Twin Method impressed the record company they were guaranteed to get signed! So you can imagine the tension that was building.. I immediately thought..
"Holy shit, this is our chance to get noticed too!"
I was immediately warned off from having anything to do with the record company that was appearing at the FrightFest. By whom I hear you ask.. that would be Marcus. Now I fully understood that the FrightFest was his baby and that he was the one who booked the bands and organised the whole thing, but I was shocked when I was told that I couldn't go anywhere near the people who could have possibly helped our career. If they didn't want anything to do with us, I wanted THEM to tell me that!! At the time I didn't know why I was being told this, but I listened, and I obeyed Marcus's wishes. As it turned out, the management didn't want anything to do with anyone unless they were directly involved with 'Twin Method.' That was the kind of scenario that followed because our old friend Jason seemed to be very distant and didn't speak much to the likes of me anymore and it really pissed me off to see how his new found fame had changed him. This was when I realized that I never wanted to let shit go to my head and I always said that I would look after my fans and never let myself think that I was better than anyone else!
So the FrightFest kicked off with a bang and Angelology came and went. Then it was Downfall's turn. No one really bothered to take much notice until Syphon came on stage, and this really got up a certain persons nose.. Yes, you guessed it, it was Marcus. From this gig onwards nothing was the same with Marcus because this was the first time that Syphon and Downfall had played at the same show together, and the worst thing that could have happened, did happen!!! After Syphon's set, Marcus was constantly getting told by the people in the audience that he was better suited to being in Syphon than he was in his own band!! People were actually telling this to his face. This was when the shit really hit the fan because this infuriated Marcus, he could see that Syphon were becoming the main focal point of the music scene in our area and he hated to admit that Syphon was overtaking the popularity of the local music scene. Syphon were originally supposed to have been the opening act of the FrightFest 2005 but somewhere along the lines we were upgraded to the penultimate act. Newspaper article below was written before we were suddenly upgraded, and also before Angelology was announced as openers!
Click the link below to see a rare picture from the FrightFest 2005 and newspaper article:
FrightFest 2005 pic
So with the FrightFest over for another year, Twin Method got their record deal (congrats) and Syphon were eager to get into the studio and record the Ep that we were promised & so badly needed! Nothing could be further from the truth.. We were faced with delay after delay.. Marcus immediately told us the he didn't have time to record our Ep and we had to wait.. How long for? Well, that was a question that never really got answered! This went on for a while and we found ourselves having to now cancel many gigs because Marcus would let us down and say that he couldn't make it!! I knew this was utter garbage and that he was making excuses, a few weeks passed & the day finally came, we were told that Marcus had left the band..
Now what? Give up? No way, I was not about to let one persons jealousy stop our band from doing what we loved! Syphon were back down to four people.. myself, Carl, Chris and Martyn.
With the recording of 'Sickness Becomes' halted, we were now without a bass player again! What I didn't mention until now was a little scenario that involved Ivor and Carl. Both Carl and Ivor lived in the same house. They were housemates and had been for many years, and also living in the house with them was a certain person by the name of Justin.
Justin at this particular moment in time was the bass player of Marcus's band 'Downfall.' None of us ever thought of asking Justin to fill in on bass because we all associated him with Downfall and never once entertained the idea of poaching another bands bass player. That was just the way it was. However, myself, Carl, Chris and Martyn were all at band practice one night and Carl mentioned to us that since Marcus had quit our band Justin had shown a very keen interest in becoming Syphon's new bass player! Straight away we were all defensive about this because it wasn't the right thing to do by sourcing another bands band member. At first we totally dismissed the idea and if I'm 100% honest, Martyn threatened to quit the band if we ever made Justin our bass player. Did Martyn dislike Justin? I'm not entirely sure? But one thing I did know about Martyn and that was he worshiped the ground that Marcus walked upon! In Martyn's eyes, Marcus could do no wrong!
Marcus was the one that used to let us into the studio each week so that we could have band practice, but now suddenly Ivor was the one who showed up each week to let us in. I guess at the time it was easier on Marcus to not have to see any of us?
A few weeks went by and Justin suddenly turns up with Carl at one of our band practices. Everyone was surprised to see him, but we all kinda guessed why he was there! Justin didn't waste no time in voicing his opinion on what he wanted with regards to the vacant bass player position. I remember him telling us about how every time he saw Syphon play he thought to himself that we had the x-factor, and how he always thought to himself that he wished he could be a part of Syphon instead of Downfall. (those were his words.. NOT MINE!)
What could we say to that? None of us knew what too say? You could see that Martyn wasn't comfortable with Justin even being in the same room as him! Seeing as Justin turned up he asked if he could jam along with us, and we let him! Nothing was said about Justin being a permanent member of the band. The night ran it's course and we left without ever saying that Justin could be a part of the band. I was personally just happy to have a bass player backing us up even if it was just for band practice, no one ever thought that Justin would be a part of Syphon.
A familiar pattern started to occur, Justin would regularly turn up with Carl unannounced to Syphon's band practices. Justin would push ever harder to cement a position as Syphon's bass player. In the end Justin knew the majority of our set and he just hit us with these words "I wanna join, you need a bass player and I need to be a part of Syphon!"
With that said, we all looked at each other and we all agreed that if Justin was going to be a part of our band then he had to face up and tell Marcus that he wanted to leave Downfall to be our bass player. Justin agreed and we unofficially welcomed him into the band! At this point, no one outside of the band knew that Justin had ever asked to join. We were all waiting to hear the news that Justin had told Marcus so that we could finally move forward with our music!
We waited, and waited.. and.. the moment never came!
We had many band practices since we asked Justin to face up to Marcus and we'd all say to him "have you told Marcus yet?
"Not yet!" was always the answer we got from him! When we asked why, he'd say things like "I've not found the right moment yet!"
There was never going to be a right moment!!!
In the end Marcus found out through hearsay that Justin was looking to join Syphon and things between us all took a massive dive lower than they ever were before! Marcus threatened to kick Syphon out of the studio. He refused to let us practice! In a nutshell, he hated us and refused to have anything to do with the recording of our Ep! And I don't blame him for feeling that way regarding Justin's actions! At the time we were all counting on Justin to do the right thing and it made everyone else look guilty when he didn't! Both Marcus and Ivor owned the studio, Ivor lived in the same house as Justin and Carl. You can imagine the stress that Ivor must have felt. Poor Ivor was caught in the middle of an argument.. Who would he side with, the people he lived with? Or his business partner?
All of a sudden it was public knowledge that Marcus and Downfall were without a bass player, and Syphon had a full line-up again! Everyone was on tender hooks with each other! It was a testing time for all involved! Now that Marcus had completely removed himself from having anything to do with Syphon it was now a question of where and who was going to record our first Ep?
Ivor kindly stepped up and told us that if Marcus resigned himself from having anything to do with Syphon, then he would offer his services and record our Ep for us! Four months had past since the FrightFest festival and in late October 2005 leading through November 2005 we finally got a chance to record our first Ep 'Sickness Becomes.'
In October 2005, Chris would record all of his drums tracks. Justin would then come in and lay down the bass guitar. Then it would be my turn to to put my rhythm and lead guitar parts down. Martyn was nowhere to be seen, so Carl would start laying down vocals! (explanation for Martyn's absence is told by Chris in the video below) The following video is filmed by me (some parts are filmed by Chris) and shows Carl attempting to lay down his vocals for a song entitled 'Redline.' Also within the video Chris takes you on a guided tour of the studio that I helped to build and if you look closely you will see Ivor's drawings hanging on the wall.. Ivor was a very talented artist!
Approx running time for video is 42mins
Video was filmed on a freezing cold night at 'The Collective Studio' on November 10th 2005. Video consists of four people:
(myself) Keith Davies - Guitars
Chris Baker - Drums
Carl Florey - Vocals
Ivor Hawthorne (RIP buddy) - Music Engineer
As the recording sessions for 'Sickness Becomes' progressed we were getting more and more agitated with the absence of Martyn.
Martyn became very distant. When he eventually turned up to record his parts none of us were prepared for what was to come.. When you go into a studio to record your songs one of the first things any musician should do is prepare and be sure you know what is expected of you! KNOW YOUR PARTS!! Two key ingredients were missing from Martyn because Ivor spent a whole day recording just one song because:
A) Martyn's guitar sound was terrible, and
B) He kept making mistakes and had to re-record his parts!
No one was present at the time of Martyn recording his guitar parts other than himself and Ivor! We only know what went on because Ivor told us. Ivor had a real cheeky face that always smiled and he did his best to work with Martyn. A few weeks went by and Martyn finally finished his guitar parts. All that was left to do was mix it, master it, and then hey presto it would be complete! At each band practice I would ask Ivor when the mixing would be taking place for our Ep and each time I would get a similar answer of "We've got other bands to record and they're paying customers so we've got to see to those bands before we continue with Syphon's stuff!"
I always thought "Fair enough" and I understood that position we were in.. The thing that was killing me was not being shown what Martyn had recorded?? I wanted to hear just one finished song with as ALL!! It was like they were trying to hide something.. Eventually the time came when I got to hear Martyn's guitar parts, but sad to say it wasn't in the way I had hoped for!
Marcus hadn't been seen for a long time & now and all of a sudden he reappears. What I am about to share with you is being told for the first time and up until now only the people who were 'there' at the time knew of this incident! As always my father would take me to band practice in his works van, we arrived miles early on this particular night & we pulled up outside of the studio and I notice that Carl's car is there, Chris's car is there and Marcus's car was there too?? Ivor for some reason never showed up and it became obvious to me that Marcus was there to open up for us! (or was he) As I get out of my dad's van I hear this awful loud noise and hysterical laughter coming from inside of the studio! Me and my dad both looked at each other as if to say "What the fuck is that??"
I try to prepare myself for what may lay ahead of me.. My first impression was that Marcus was there to rip into me about Justin, I couldn't have been more wrong!
I open up the main door of the studio and bring my equipment inside, that terrible noise was still blasting away and the laughter was still raging!! I stick my head around the control room door to let them know I have turned up, Me and my Dad walk in and we are confronted with Marcus crying with laughter sitting in the main control seat and I find Chris and Carl doing the same but they were stood slightly behind Marcus. I was totally confused to see Marcus after all that's happened and I was like "hey guys, what's going on?"
(I'm convinced that Marcus never got funny with me because my Dad was there)
The response I received was shocking to say the least.. All three of them pretty much acknowledged that they were listening to Martyn's guitar tracks for 'Sickness Becomes.' Out of the five of us who was there, me and my Dad seemed to be the only ones who didn't find this funny! I truly could not believe that Chris and Carl were getting enjoyment out of this. I felt so bad for Martyn because even though 'yes' his guitar tracks were bad and 'yes' they sounded like they were grossly out of tune, but the questions I instantly had in my head were 'why isn't Carl or Chris concerned that Martyn's tracks were so poor?' and 'why are all three of them taking the piss out of Martyn behind closed doors?'.. After all, Marcus was supposed to be Martyn's idol (and friend) and here I was stood in the Collective Studio witnessing him slamming Martyn's guitar playing and what made it worse was that he kept on soloing his parts and giggling uncontrollably over it! Marcus never really said much to me on that night but what he did say in front of us was this "You guys need to get rid of Martyn!" This was not the first time he has said this to us and I just walked away.. Marcus left the building before Justin and Martyn arrived but he did manage to slip in the fact that Downfall had now recruited a new bass player! I think that was his way of saying "Fuck You!"..
I was totally shocked to see Marcus suddenly reappear after not seeing him for so many months.. It played on my mind for ages afterwards because he turned up like nothing was wrong! It was so weird that it was almost disturbing to say the least! I always felt that his sudden reappearance was to cause animosity between us.. and I guess looking back on it now, I was right!
Now we were faced with another problem: How do we find a solution to this regarding Martyn? It was almost like Marcus was trying to plant the seeds to make us eliminate Martyn from the band and then walk away as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth! Either way, this had to get sorted and fast.. When everyone turned up for band practice nothing was said to Justin or Martyn about what happened earlier, we just ran through our set-list and went home again. It was totally weird and the atmosphere between us was odd!
The following week would be the last time I ever have contact with Martyn. The next band practice was due to take place and whilst I was gathering my things at home my phone buzzed.. It was Martyn. I received a text from him that said 'I don't want to be in the band any more, I don't like the fact that Justin is now our bass player. I don't feel comfortable with him in the band, it's either him or me'
How do I respond to that? My answer to Martyn was simple - 'I'm sorry you feel this way but Justin is now a part of Syphon. Can't you find a way to get on with him and accept him? Maybe you should try talking to him about this?' Martyn refused outright to say anything to Justin and said that he would no longer be a part of Syphon if Justin was our bass player! I took my phone to band practice and told them of Martyn's ultimatum and they all said "Let him leave!"
With that said, it was left up to me to inform Martyn, and I did just that! I told him what the others decided and I tried my best to make it not sound so harsh. From that day onwards Martyn hasn't spoken to me since 2005/6. I have heard through the grapevine that he holds me responsible for his decision to quit because in his eyes I never did enough to convince him to stay in the band when he told me that he wanted to quit. He says that he is disappointed with me because I went to school with him and that I should have done more because I've known him longer and that I should have kicked Justin out of the band on his say-so! Little does Martyn know that his so-called friends who he still hangs out with today were the ones responsible for his departure. Behind closed doors they did nothing but ridicule him, but to his face they were different people. If I'm honest about Martyn, I am pretty sad that he was manipulated to the point of where he no longer speaks to me any more. The guy now crosses the street if he sees me walking down the road towards him. Because Martyn opted to leave I lost many of our mutual friends in the process. I was seen as the bad guy because Martyn went around telling everyone that I had kicked him out!.. This wasn't the case at all.. I have heard many different stories and reasons why Martyn no longer likes me and each time depending on who Martyn speaks to he tells a completely different story each time..
Now with Martyn no longer in the band I was faced with the possibility of re-recording his guitar parts for the Ep 'Sickness Becomes.' I opted not to re-record his parts but simply take out his parts all together and not include them at all! Martyn still gets credited on the Ep even though his parts were never used and that was out of respect for Martyn more than anything else. Now with the departure of Martyn I could have told him all about the nastiness of Marcus and the things he has said and done but I chose not to say anything for the sake of the band and for upsetting Marcus. That was the only selfish thing I did with regards to Martyn, knowing all the things he has now made up about me I am glad that I chose to keep quiet.. I kinda laugh to myself now when I think of how close he thinks he still is to the very person who did their best to hurt him behind closed doors!
Ivor now returns to continue the mixing/mastering for 'Sickness Becomes' and it was going very well. I instruct him to leave out Martyn's guitar parts and the quality of the mix is now miles better, the songs sound great in the studio.. and the mix is BIG! (see video above) Ivor was doing a grand job until one day I get a text from Marcus that says "I have completed your Ep, I have mixed it and left a CD-R copy for you to collect when you next have band practice!" I was excited beyond belief.. This was our first ever CD and judging by what I had heard in the studio with the songs that Ivor had already finished, I was expecting this to be awesome! Little did I know that the CD-R that was left for us was nothing like what Ivor had created for us. Marcus had totally erased what Ivor had done and he did his own mix without ANY of us being present and I am 100% convinced until this day that he fucked that up for us on purpose.. it sounded like shit! Gone was the grand loudness! Gone was the powerful mix.. The whole sound was total rubbish and it had changed so much that when I asked Marcus what the hell he had done and that I wasn't happy with it he told me that they'd spent too much time messing around with Syphon's music and that we were getting it done for free and because of that fact alone I should be thankful for what I get! I was livid to say the least! Man I tell ya, I was so gutted that I struggled not to cry right there in front of him! And you know what the biggest strain of all this was? Marcus had gone & put Martyn's guitar parts back into the mix and his reasons for doing that was.. "Martyn was in the band at that point in time and you should include his parts because it's only fair!" Now excuse me a minute, this is coming from the cunt that did NOTHING but insist that we get rid of Martyn!! I was angry to the point of exploding and you could see the smug look on his face to know that I was gutted with this. I remember going to Ivor and asking him about this and he told me that he never knew that Marcus had re-mixed/deleted all the settings that he had spent HOURS completing for 'Sickness Becomes?' The next thing I knew was that Ivor had told Marcus that he didn't want to be his business partner any more if he was going to be like this! I remember myself, Carl and Justin all carting out the equipment and taking it back to Ivor's house and he stored it there for what felt like a bloody long time! I remember the time when I was stood in Ivor's kitchen and Ivor expressed his feelings about how disheartened and let down he felt by Marcus and that he would keep all of his equipment locked up in his shed and start up again on his own. After all, Ivor was the one who had invested thousands of his own money into the studio and now Marcus was purposefully making recordings sound rubbish all because he had a personal vendetta against me and the band we were both once a part of! I really felt sorry for Ivor being stuck in the middle of this mess. He tried to please everyone and that was what made him such a nice guy!
Time went by and eventually Ivor went back to being a business partner with Marcus. Whatever Ivor's reasons were to go back, I really don't know?? The matter of fact was, the Collective Studio was back open and we had somewhere to practice again. Our first gig without Martyn was due and nobody in the band was sure about how the public would perceive us? We all knew that Martyn loved to tell people that he was the mastermind behind Syphon and we also knew that wasn't the real truth. We had no Ep to sell because of Marcus.. What would happen with 'Sickness Becomes' and what did the public say about our first gig without Martyn?
To be continued..
Keith onstage with Carl Florey.
Photo by Ivor Hawthorne. (R.I.P 2013)
Photo by Ivor Hawthorne. (R.I.P 2013)
Photo courtesy of 'The Unknown'