Posh and pecs
IT may not have seemed like it at the time but all those early mornings spent training his tonsils may be about to pay off in big fashion for Alex Davies.
The classically trained Yorkshire lad now fronts majestically rocking Elliot Minor who arrive at Sheffield’s Plug next Friday as one of the year’s most touted.
Two hits under their belts already - the independently-released Parallel Worlds and top 20 Jessica Alba-fuelled follow-up Jessica - the quintet are threatening even bigger things with their debut single for major label Warner; The White One Is Evil, out October 29, has already been interpreted several ways. “The song was about an ex girlfriend, but a lot of people have associated it with drugs, cocaine, which is okay. Then it had something do to with wizards. It’s a really odd song.”
It has to be said, Elliot Minor aren’t exactly a straight forward rock act. “The whole background was classical music; none of us had a clue about rock music,” says Alex of his York school days. “When I was young I played violin and piano and got up at 6.30 for music practice. I’ve been in the choir and after school I would go and sing.”
He met Ed Minton, the other guitarist and singer, and started to listen to bands like Green Day, Blink 182 and various pop punk and began writing “simple songs” aged 14/15, eventually acquiring a home recording set-up.
“I spent every day recording demos and trying to make it a bit different, putting classical-style harmonics into it.”
But then he and Ed did gigs as an acoustic duo before getting the band together.
“At first we sounded like an emo band, then pop, then we got to where we are now.
“Quite a long time before we even had a manager we were doing shows to like three people. At that time I had just started uni - some of the other guys were already at uni. I went for about three months, three lectures on a music course in Leeds. But I went back to York every day and rehearsed.”
Now some people assume Elliot Minor is “this guy with an acoustic guitar”, which didn’t bode well for notorious rock festival Download when the band played the 10,000 capacity Dimebag Darrell Stage this summer.
“I’m not sure we were ready for it,” admits Alex. “We found out a week before and it was really scary. We had heard stuff about it, that a couple of people die there. We were just about to get on stage, no sound check, and we peeped around the side and saw these heavy metallers with their arms folded. We went on and the reaction was good. Well, we didn’t get bottled off.”
After some healthy support slots the quintet have been pulling a healthy female following but Alex reckons more blokes are getting their Muse meets Fall Out Boy with a pinch of McFly blend. It’s rock embellished with grandiose orchestration; something he calls symphonic rock.
They are currently mixing their self-titled debut album, produced by Jim Wirt (Hoobastank, Incubus) and recorded in Los Angeles earlier this year.
“We’re getting a lot more guys now,” confirms Alex, who utilised his classical background to write the album’s orchestral arrangements with strings, flutes, organs, synths and choirs.
“A lot of the harmonies are classically based, so that whole side of my background is represented.
“I’m not sure what my music teacher would make of it, though, she was not a fan of rock music.”