Wednesday, 28 May 2014


"Formed a band" was Art Brut's first single released on Rough Trade 10 Years ago!

This painting was the front cover of Art Brut's first single.

I love demo tapes of unknown bands. I used to find them in charity shops a lot when I was growing up in Poole. It was the early/mid nineties when it was fashionable for groups to have one word names. 'Kush' 'Stray' 'Circa' were all names of musical outfits in the local area.

I don't know if I ever owned any of those bands demo tapes, but everybody seemed to be in a group in the mid nineties. I vividly remember buying demo tapes from charity shops. The bands logos would be written in an exotic font and faded from being photocopied so many times and then wrapped around a cassette. Too many bands! Too many cassettes! Lots of them ending up being surplus to requirement - 'Sorry mate there are too many bands! Your tape has to go right to the second hand shop'

There was always something very exciting about these unknown demo tapes, especially when presuming it was the bands first time in the studio.

I used to enjoy imagining all the effort put into them, the money saved from gigs in local pubs, added to money from after school jobs, the fights about what songs should be recorded. Making a demo tape is a form of gambling really. They've saved up money and bet it on all the songs they can record in a short space of time. Their three or four best songs, their HITS! As well as selling these tapes at shows they are going to send them to producers and venues and record labels.. and the local paper. Crossing their fingers and hoping for a taste of success. The jiffy bags they are posting not just stuffed with tapes and flyers for shows but pregnant with possibility, full of hopes and dreams.

Perhaps I'm over romanticising the demo tapes of unsuccessful bands from the Poole area of Dorset.

I always found something to enjoy on the Demo tapes of the long forgotten bands that I'd find in charity shops - even if often the music was terrible. I was obbsessed with being in a band at the time and I think I just like the sound of other people enjoying what I could only dream of.

Of course the technology to record at home exists now and people don't really go to the studio with their best songs in the same way. Even by the time my first band (The Art Goblins) were recording even though we had to go to someones studio we didn't get handed a tape we got given a CD each. I was amazed it was so easy to make a CD. 'Why isn't everybody recording songs! You just go and do it and get given a CD' INCREDIBLE!

Nowadays of course you record it in your house and its a download it's almost like it doesn't exist at all.

I made my formed a band painting before Art Brut were even formed, definitely before I'd written the words for the song. The painting was supposed to represent the demo tapes I'd found in charity shops growing up and had nothing to do with anything else.

But as it turns out Art Brut's first ever recordings the songs we fought over deciding which would be the best to play people, that we paid for with money from gigs and topped up with money from our jobs, songs that were supposed to be our first demo ended up being our debut single on Rough Trade.

So nothing made more sense to me than making the front cover a painting of a fictional demo tape that I had imagined was in a charity shop in Poole waiting to be picked up by somebody like me.

I have made some replica's of the Formed A Band painting they are made of car spray paint and acyrlic paint and are on 16 x 18"  canvas.

They are £80 including postage. HERE

Here is one of the songs from the Art Goblins demo CD we recorded when we were 17. Lets just pretend it was a tape as they are better to look at. You might recognise some of the words.

You can hear the song Formed A Band HERE.


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