SILVER WILSON (from l-r): Elliot Labbate (bass/backing vocals), Gabe Holland (keyboards), Brandon Hill (lead vocals/guitar), Tom Girling (drums/backing vocals)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
PHOTO by BEN HALE
With a guitar-led indie-pop sound that incorporates the use of detailed, feel-good riffs, catchy melodies, and new technology, Leeds/Nottingham four-piece Silver Wilson have built up a loyal following since they formed three years ago.
The band have played festivals including Dot To Dot, YNot and Tramlines, and have been championed by BBC Introducing.
Having brought out a well-received single, ‘Let You Go’, in March, the quartet are preparing to release another track, ‘Close Enough’, next month.
I chatted with the guys prior to their recent set supporting Ashfields in Nottingham, and the following is what they had to say to me:
How did the band get together?
TOM GIRLING (vocals/guitar): Basically, I knew Brandon from school, he knew Elliot from a previous band they were in, and when that ended, we decided that we wanted to go in a different direction.
Once we had established themselves, we met Gabe at uni in Leeds, and we moved on from there. It’s been a bit of a long process, but this is where we’ve ended up.
How did the name Silver Wilson come about?
BRANDON HILL (lead vocals/guitar): It was a pretty boring process trying to come up with names, we had a few lined up, and there were all pretty good, at one stage, we were seriously considering the name Coach.
ELLIOT LABBATE (bass/backing vocals): We were trying to come up with a name that was easy to say and remember, and also if you put it into Google, it would be at the top of the results.
BRANDON: The band me and Elliot had been in before was called The Gorgeous Janes, but saying that out loud was a nightmare.
TOM: We wanted a name that looked good and sounded good when it was said.
BRANDON: Silver Wilson happened to be one of the names written down. We then looked at it, then said it out loud, and that was an “Eureka!” moment.
TOM: At least it’s better than Coach.
What are the band’s main musical influences?
BRANDON: We all have different individual influences, but I guess, as a band, when we started out, we were like, “Let’s be like The 1975“, but eventually, our sound evolved into its own little bubble.
TOM: I think as the music industry seems to evolve really quickly, with so much new stuff coming out, obviously with R n’ B, garage, grime, so we try to listen to a bit of everything, really.
ELLIOT: We’ve all got very different influences from a wide variety of musical backgrounds, for example, Gabe likes a bit of jazz, me and Brandon are more into indie-pop and the bands who we grew up listening to, so I guess that’s kind of evolved into the sound we now have.
TOM: Now, to be fair, we’ve been together for a little while, so we’ve had time to mould our sound and image. If we write something, but we feel that it doesn’t fit into our set, we put it to one side, because we now know what we want to achieve musically.
What would you say was your songwriting approach?
BRANDON: We used to do a lot of writing together, but these days, we’re mostly production-based, so I’ll come up with something, show it to the rest of the band, and then they’ll go, “Let’s change this bit here, let’s change that bit here“, so I’ll take it back, and change it around, then towards the end of the songwriting process, I will edit the parts to make it sound more concise, resulting in the finished product.
What inspires the band lyrically?
BRANDON: Lyrically? I’m not really inspired by my day-to-day life and my own situations, I kind of just write what I deem to be the best fit for the soundscape, and also, I like to keep the lyrics open, so the listener can make their own interpretation on them.
For example, ‘Let You Go’, our latest single, has a few different meanings to it, and that’s what I try to achieve.
ELLIOT: People kind of like interpret our songs differently, which is always interesting.
TOM: It’s very balanced. When you’re a solo singer-songwriter, you do tend to write about your own life and experiences, but as a band, what Elliot and Brandon have just said, I think, would be the best way to describe our lyrics.
BRANDON: We try and keep it as un-individual as we can, really.
TOM: It’s one of them, isn’t it? If you write something and it works, you can do whatever you like with it.
You just mentioned ‘Let You Go’. How was the recording process for that?
BRANDON: It was good fun, you know. ‘Let You Go’ was a song we played originally around a year ago, back when we started, and the final track ended up sounding so much different to how it was then. The only thing that was the same was the chorus and pre-chorus.
I made a demo for a random song, so I could play around with ideas. I added a whole new backing track for this song, and then I sang “Let you go” over the top of it, and when I heard it back, it seemed to be a perfect fit, so it was really easy, I think we all did it within a few weeks.
TOM: Mainly because of the level we are at, we can’t just walk into a studio and spend two or three months producing something.
BRANDON: We mainly use laptops, anyway. That’s the way we’ve been working up to now.
And how has the reaction been to the single so far?
BRANDON: Good. It’s been really well-received, and people seem to have really liked the videos that came with it, as well, and at gigs, much of the audience have been singing along to it, which was cool.
You’re supporting Ashfields in Nottingham this evening. How is the experience, for the band, of performing live?
TOM: Really good, yeah. It’s what we live for, as we all really enjoy playing to people and sharing our music with them.
ELLIOT: Rehearsing is like the training pitch, and playing live is like the actual match, you know what I mean? It’s where you really enjoy yourself, despite there being pressure and all that, but at the end of the day, that’s what you do it for.
TOM: Part of the journey of writing a song is discovering how it will come across when played live in front of a crowd, because then, you can get a real glimpse of how people are reacting to it.
The band have also played festivals such as Dot To Dot, YNot and Tramlines. How were they as experiences for you all?
TOM: They were all great. We were fortunate enough at Tramlines and YNot to play some great stages.
When we played YNot in 2016, it was raining heavily about 10 minutes before we started our set, and when we got on stage in the tent we were playing in, the crowd was massive. It was just one of those little things.
It was the same with Tramlines, we were playing in a really small venue, with a sizable crowd watching, and the vibes were just amazing.
And finally, what are your plans for the near future?
TOM: We will be bringing a new single out soon, around mid-July, and after that is released, we’ll be playing a gig up in Leeds, also maybe a few festivals towards the end of this year.
ELLIOT: To keep doing what we’ve been doing, making as much noise as we possibly can, and we’ll see what happens from there.
‘CLOSE ENOUGH’, THE NEXT SINGLE FROM SILVER WILSON, WILL BE RELEASED ON JULY 13.
FURTHER INFO ON THIS, AND THE BAND, CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: