Monday 2 May 2022

Gary Wickham, drummer with Silverbacks

Who are your drumming influences?

I really love Glenn Kotche of Wilco and Mervyn Craig from The Redneck

Manifesto. I sit down and I wonder how they come up with the beats to their songs.

The way they play is different to the way I do. They’re drummers that I love and will always go back and listen to. Another drummer that has really influenced me is David Lovering of  the Pixies. Over the years, while I was playing, even in cover bands, I used to steal ideas from Dave and the Pixies. Pixies not only influenced me but also pretty much all of my friends. Also I really admire Levon Helm of The Band. I absolutely love their music.

 How did you get started?

Well my dad was a DJ. We always had music in our house although no member of my family played an instrument but then in primary school, in order to get out of class, I volunteered for the marching band. I played with them until I was sixteen or seventeen. It involved a couple of years of just snare drum. It was a novelty because we were all young and my friends and I played in parades like St. Patrick Day and in competitions.

What are your favourite songs and albums?

This is always a hard one. Over the last year or so during the Covid-19 lockdown, I was listening to a lot of music that was familiar. I was listening to a lot of Van Morrison.

My favourite album of his currently is St Dominic’s Preview but it changes all the time. I recently started listening to Arthur Russel as well. “Love is Overtaking Me” is the album I have been listening to most.

 What’s next for the band?

Well the new album is out which is great and we’re looking at getting out an album a year. With our first album we had the songs ready and we waited six months for a record deal that never materialized. I imagine by the end of this year we will have a third album recorded that we’ll try to get out for next year. The guys are really prolific and they always have songs on the go. We’re playing Whelan’s on the 20th of May and we’re also due to go to the UK and Europe and play a couple of dates over there in May.

 What’s your favourite song on Archive Material?

 Well the song I tend to go back to the most is Central Tones. I’ve done a complete U-Turn on this because it was originally the song I suggested shouldn’t be on the album. Another song which I really enjoy is Archive Material because it has a really good vibe.

 Do you play certain songs differently live as opposed to the recorded version?

Gary: Yeah it’s actually quite funny because with the first album we had recorded it but we were playing those songs for at least a year or 18 months beforehand but because of the Covid-19 lockdown, with all the stuff on Archive Material, we haven’t really been playing those songs live except maybe 2 or 3 times. When we went back out again on tour last October, we started in the UK and we did a couple of dates around Ireland at that time. When we started playing the songs I was thinking maybe I should have played it a different way. At the end of Archive Material itself, I have this sort of shuffle beat where it slows down and I kind of have regrets about that. With the new album, we wanted it to be more of a studio album so we used more percussion but we were conscious that we needed to replicate it live. On the song, Different Kind Of Holiday, when we recorded it in the studio, we used a lot of percussion and when we went out live, I wondered how I could replicate it, but we managed to recreate the feel which is the most important thing.

When it comes to arranging songs how much of an input do you have in that process or is it left to one or two band members?

The way it works is that Daniel and Killian will do a demo, they love to demo everything. They will write all that stuff and I can’t really sit down and listen to it because if I hear the song 5 or 6 times, I end up thinking that’s the beat. All I can hear is the way that they recorded it and I can’t get that out of my head. I don’t really want to get locked into it. So what we do is bring in the song, break it apart and then put it all back together again. It’s funny when you hear songs like “Different kind of holiday”, “Archive Material” or anything like that, they’re different from the demo and we’re in a lucky position that no one is precious about the material. Everyone will have a say and everyone plays a part.

There’s no doubt you take your music seriously but also in listening to the album, there’s a real sense of fun

Yeah you’re right, anyone who comes to our gigs and hears our music, they know we take it seriously but they know they’re not just listening to a dour rock band. They’re also listening to a band that has a lot of humour and fun in their lyrics and music.

 What advice would you give someone that wants to start a career in music?

The main thing I would say to people is to start a band with your friends. Get as good as you can. It’s only when you go out and play live that you really get your groove. The best thing is to just join a band.

Gary is the cool dude with glasses

Photos Credit; Róisín Murphy O'Sullivan