To say I was wowed by this Sheffield four piece after their gig at the plug is an understatement. After catching Searching 4 Evidence at a gig at Plug, Sheffield and being amazed by the quality of their music and the confidence they project when the average age is just 14, I eagerly met the guys at their rehearsal space, the Hive, an excellent looking studio, that is still work in progress, at Ecclesfield on the northern outskirts of Sheffield.
Their back up team left to allow a chat between the guys and myself and any fears of them being shy and nervous were quickly dispelled as the banter started when we were making introductions. Searching 4 Evidence are Lewis Hancock lead vocalist and rhythm guitar, Jack Eddison plays lead guitar, Keiran Bond on drums and James Brown is bassist, all aged 14 except Keiran who is the veteran at just 15!
The guys are schoolmates at Ecclesfield Comp and rehearse at least twice a week at the Hive and also have adhoc sessions at members houses during the week which shows their strong work ethic and how much they are enjoying playing and writing music.
Have the band any dreams of where they’d like to be in a years time? “Yeah older, and headlining Wembley, with Muse supporting us.”
Is the involvement in music, with all the commitment to practising and playing, going to distract them from their school work? Keiran says “I’ve done better since I’ve been with the band, they (parents) said if we don’t get good grades they’ll pull us out of the band” Lewis agrees “so we all have to try harder.”
After 18 months together their progress is not far short of phenomenal, winning their first battle of the bands type event in June 2009 and then in Nov / Dec 2009 they won a Ballot Of The Bands comp against some great opposition firstly getting through the heat at Rotherham College then winning the final at Sheffield Academy, which was an audience vote and Lewis explains “it was local and £2 a ticket so everybody turned up” Jack adds smiling “it were a nice big mosh pit.”
Even more impressively they won Eliot Kennedy’s Limelight competition in December 09 beating the likes of highly rated band The Ratells. Winning that meant they got to perform with Eliot at his sold out star studded City Hall charity gala evening in late December but perhaps more importantly they get to spend some time recording in Eliot’s Steelworks Studio where the songwriter / producer has worked with the Spice Girls, Take That and many more. They have ideas which tracks they’d like to record namely Girl At The Spar, Get Out, and Walk of Shame, but they seem to be writing quite prolifically at the moment so it could well change before their February dates with Mr Kennedy. The tracks will be on iTunes soon after.
Of the City Hall gig Jack and James awkwardly tried to explain without sounding ungrateful “it were a good gig to play with all those people but we are used to having people up close at the front and everyone was sat down, only person I recognised at front was Kevin Blackwell (Sheffield United manager), it were good but mostly older people, but we did get a photo with Peter Kay.” And they got asked to sign autographs, was that the first time? Jack smiles “I did one for my Granddad before” at which they all erupt into laughter.
So a rapid and rewarding rise and more to come as they have just qualified for the next round of Live and Unsigned whose final is at Wembley judged by the legendary Malcolm McLaren of Sex Pistols management fame, but on the form the band are in you wouldn’t bet against them making it!
Their music set, when I heard them, was a mix of covers and original material, is that still the case? Lewis and Keiran jointly explain “we are doing our own stuff but then throw a few covers in. We all write, all chip in, its not just one who comes up with ideas. Someone will write a couple of verses sometimes a chorus and then we all work on it together. We’ve written six or seven songs and two news ones, one finished today”
What types of music influences their writing? Keiran again offers “personally I like local bands like Backhanded Compliments” Jack jumps in “I was brought up on Oasis and Stone Roses” James and Keiran then discuss Milburn and off shoot Book Club and the name of the former Milburn and current Backhanded Compliments drummer the excellent Greeny comes up and James says “he just lives down the road and his sister goes to our school.” The school also until recently boasted the aforementioned Ratells who have now left and they give a plug to “a band called Drunk At Weekends but they haven’t played a gig yet.”
A bands name, if selling tracks on iTunes, has to be unique, so was theirs and who came up with it? Keiran is quickest off the mark “we checked that and it is, we copyrighted it too, James came up with the name” James then explains “I was on the history corridor at school and saw a poster with evidence on it so I started putting words together and came up with Searching 4 Evidence.”
Have the band any dreams of where they’d like to be in a years time? comedian Jack chips in “yeah older, and headlining Wembley, with Muse supporting us.” On Fantasy Island I offer? James more seriously says “playing in different places not just round here would be good and with even more people watching us.” Longer term have they got ambitions to be professional musicians? they immediately pool ideas “if we don’t make it with this band I’d still like to do something in music” and “we are never going to split up, but if we did something medical, then a cardio-thoracic surgeon” and finally “I’d be a plumber or something like that” Jack confides that he “can’t actually read music just a bit of tab.” I remind him Paul McCartney can’t read music and he’s not done too bad, Jack chips back in laughing “that’s all right then, oh but he can sing.” to howls of laughter again.
Their support network of parents and helpers is quite impressive, do they have a manager? again a joint answer “we had an approach but it wasn’t what we wanted, we are progressing without one so we can take our time.” There could well be a queue when they feel the time is right to sign up with someone!
Their experience of recording to date was through their win in the June competition at the Boardwalk which meant a £100 prize and a days recording at Megacentre studio in Sheffield. They agree it was enjoyable but can’t wait to record at Steelworks studio with Eliot Kennedy. They will then be following in some large footsteps like the Spice Girls, who Eliot had staying at his home, (which distracted the guys for a few minutes trying to name them all) and Take That with one of his writing partners Gary Barlow.
Their upcoming Sheffield gigs are also impressive, Plug mainstage on Friday 12th Feb ‘10 with Playground Mafia and Driftrun, followed by O2 Academy main stage on 17th April ‘10 with Tivoli and The Ratells and also an as yet unconfirmed very big gig at a sporting event.
As we wound up they wanted to say a big thanks to Joolz (Vernon) from Music First who has helped with their development finding suitable gigs via the Boardwalk, Plug and O2 Academy. Joolz’s reputation for identifying talented bands, nurturing them and picking the right gigs for their exposure is legendary in the Sheffield and with the band also having help from Eliot Kennedy 2010 is looking particularly good for Searching 4 Evidence.