Bristol spawned a whole new genre in the 90’s and by way of its University 15 years later it gave birth to Escapists via a north American record collection.
Guitarist Oli Court’s love for The National, Broken Social Scene, Arcade Fire and The Dears gave lead singer Simon Glancy’s own musical forays a direction. And Glancy’s own past gave it a meaning; the son of Naval Officer, his Mother died when he was just a year old. He was raised in an old rectory, forced to attend Church by family members and sent to boarding school at the age of seven. The stuff of creative dreams and personal nightmares.
With Court graduating a year before Glancy and returning home to play in his band The Cutaway, Glancy spent 12 months trying to write songs that had the gravitas and intrigue of those alt-indie bands that Oli had led him to. Fast forward to Graduation day 2008 and the death of Glancy’s Grandmother on the day of the ceremony provided further anguish but also propelled him to record some songs Max Perryment the bass player from The Cutaway.
In three days they recorded four songs, layering up multiple vocal tracks and drum lines played from individual pieces of the kit. He put them on MySpace, played gigs, some solo, some with Perryment on backing vocals and £5 Casio keyboards, some with Court on guitar.
The MySpace caught some industry attention and the three of them were offered time in EMI’s studios in Tottenham Court Road. Andrew Walsh was an old school friend of Perryment and Court who was drafted in a week before the session. A self taught drummer influenced by 70’s rock, grunge and melodic beat driven tunes by the likes of Free, Joy Division and The Cure. Walsh had developed a big, hard hitting, simple sound with moments of attack which was perfect for this impromptu session. With one practice under their belts they entered the studio. In two days they had two songs finished.
Around the same time Perryment and Glancy wrote and recorded a track which was picked up by Beggars Publishing. A publishing deal was offered to Glancy and the track was put forward for Adele’s ‘21’ album. It didn’t make the cut and Glancy was dropped.
But they now had a complete line up that could begin to write and arrange the layered, emotive and urgent songs that would become Escapists sound. Walsh’s staccato beats set the tempo for Court’s chopping-then-swooning guitars. Perryment’s Carlos D-style bass and pitch perfect harmonies laid the platform for Glancy’s scratching Fender and unforgettable vocals. The lyrical content at times finding a chink of hope amongst themes of death, religion and the afterlife.
So in November 2010 they entered the studio with Steve Belgrave to record an albums worth of music. It took time but in October 2011 the band self released their debut single ‘Post Gospel Blues’.
With no label, no manager, no publisher and no PR’s the track was made record of the week on John Kennedy’s XFM show. A session and an XFM playlist followed along with further radio support from Radio 1, 6 Music and Q.
The live show came together, promoters hounded the band, managers circled and labels ears pricked up. Euphonios Records (DEMS, I Dream In Colour, Unicorn Kid) fought off stiff competition from London’s indie label select and a deal was signed to release a four track EP ‘Burial’ in May 2012.
From the eerie opening of ‘Ghost In Your Bedroom’ through the tsunami of ‘Burial’ and the beautiful ‘Witching Hour’, to the smash and grab spookiness of ‘Northern Lights’, Escapists have created a beguiling masterpiece of soaring indie rock.