Monday, 19 September 2011

Down for the Count 6 years on

This week Claire looks back at the last 6 years with Down for the Count!

For my blog entry, I found myself thinking about how far the band has come since we formed way back in 2005, and how many different and exciting things all the band members have been up to in the past 6 years!

Some quick facts showing how far we’ve come since 2005:
  •  Our first album was recorded in Mike’s living room. Our most recent album Say No More was recorded in the Limehouse Recording Studios in London.
  • Our first gig was for a 50th birthday party in a marquee - now we’re headlining the Herne Hill music festival and playing at prestigious venues such as Pinewood Studios.
  • We started off playing for events in small villages in Buckinghamshire, now we’ve played in Somerset, Nottingham, Gloucester and everywhere in between.
Steve and Rich at our very first gig - as a 6-piece band, performing for Hugh Martin's 50th Birthday Party on April 2nd 2005. We've done hundreds of gigs since - but this one still takes some beating!

Down For The Count first started when Mike asked Steve, Claire, Stan, Rich and some other musicians to play for a village production of Aladdin, and of course we all jumped at the chance to be part of such a cheesy, entertaining production…
Well, it was a pantomime...
Although panto music clearly had its appeal, Mike was keen to create a jazz band, and “Poinciana” (our first working name) was born. Little did we know that 6 years later, we would have evolved into the band you see and hear today! (And if you haven’t seen or heard us, come and see us at the Herne Hill Music Festival!)
Our first recording session - for one day only, Mike's living room and garage were converted into a temporary recording studio.
Poinciana quickly grew in size, firstly with additions to the horn section. Kate and Simon added alto sax and trumpet, and then Milly joined the band on keyboard so we could have lots of different extra sounds without all the extra players. During this time we were all in various stages of secondary school, doing GCSE’s and A levels. Mike, Milly, Katie and Steve were getting ready to go to university to study a variety of topics - medicine, media arts, more medicine and psychology. Even though many of us didn’t study music at university, it was our shared passion in music that kept the band together and going strong. It’s also interesting just how spread out the band members were once we all left school. We had DFTC members in Bangor, London, Oxford, Leeds, Bristol and Manchester!
Our most recent recording session, in the absolutely amazing Limehouse Studio, East London.
Over the years the band has gone from strength to strength and also through a few changes. Our lead trumpeter Stan went to study in Singapore in October 2010, and Max joined the band as his dep. In June this year Katie joined the touring production of Dreamboats and Petticoats, so we have Nicky filling in for her.
The band at a wedding in 2006
So what are we all up to now whilst we continue to play with the band? Well, just like when we all started playing together - we’re all doing very varied things! Steve, Milly and myself are living and working in London. Steve’s working as a waiter while he ponders his next move, and Milly and I are attempting to turn our hobbies into full time jobs. I’m working as a freelance musician and Milly has set up her own vintage homewares business. A third of the band are still being educated at UCL - Mike’s in his final year of medicine, Max is starting his Masters and Nicky is going into her second year of studying history and French. Kate is starting a career in recruitment and also plays with the ska punk band The Amendments. Rich is working as a drum teacher and is also playing with the pop punk band FlipSideUp. Finally, Simon is starting his Masters in composition back up at Manchester.

The band at one of our first performances as a 9-piece - Magdalen College Auditorium, Oxford
So that’s Down For The Count in 2011 - who knows what we’ll be up to in another 6 years??

Down for the Count in August 2011

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