Silva:Code are Adam (vocals), Mike (drums), Si (guitar) and Andrew (bass). Formed in 2004, the band are entirely different from any other you'll find. Although they're only playing small venues, they've got a big music style. We talked to them after a gig at Edwards No8 in Birmingham to find out more.
Andrew: I wasn't really inspired to be a musician. I didn't really have any kind of expressional experience or anything. I didn't do anything creative. So one day I became a bass player. And, I'm nothing more, I'm nothing less. I'm not a guitar player, I'm a bass player.
Adam: I think, for me, it was when I was at uni, and I'd been learning guitar and playing guitar to myself, and just not really done anything with it. One night, I went to an open mic, played and stuff, and sung. People said some really nice things and stuff. Then I just thought "Let's see what happens".
Si: Nothing really sort of inspired me to start playing guitar really. I just, it was just like everybody was playing, so I thought I'd pick up and have a go like. I never really...I was in a few shitty bands now and again, but nothing really made me think to myself "This is what I want to do with my life", until I finally got together with Face and Mike, which was about two or three years ago. Literally our first practice, we just clicked and since then, it's taken over my entire life, it's what I wanna do with my time now really.
Mike: I was basically...I saw Mark Richardson, the drummer from Skunk Anansie, and he scared the crap outta me. I just really wanted to be a drummer.
When you were younger, did you ever expect to be in a band?
Mike: I didn't. (laughs)
Andrew: Well, I've got nobody musical in my family at all, but my dad was a roadie for a band back in the day. Proper cliché dad who knows a few things, people in the industry, you know. He doesn't really, but you know, because of that link he's always sort of wanted me to, but never forced me. So, it was an added bonus, he was sort of like...my dad was really proud of me when I started playing bass and I was in a band, so...I can't remember the question. (laughs)
Si: There's nobody really musical in my family, to be honest with you. What was the question? (laughs) Originally, my first job I was gonna do was an ice-cream man. Because I like ice-cream (laughs). Then I decided I was gonna be a doctor. And then a rock star. And that was pretty much my life, so far.
Adam: Yeah, same as these guys. None of my family are particularly musical. I just used to watch gigs and stuff on TV and that, and I went to see people and I was like "This looks really cool, I'd like to do this".
What would you be doing if you weren't in a band?
Adam: Well, we're all like either at university or working outside of this. I'm a teacher, so if I wasn't in a band, I'd probably be doing that, but I'd be very very bored with the professional thing.
Andrew: Well, mine's way more exciting. I'd be a technical engineer. If I wasn't, I dunno, I'd probably...probably drink beer.
Si: I'm not sure, I mean, I kind of gave up going to Australia for a year and doing something really cool in a band, so I'd probably be a totally different person for a start. But if we're talking career-wise, I dunno. I'd probably be in my third year of uni...I dunno, I'd be a right dork.
Mike: I'd probably be really bored at uni.
How did you come up with the band name?
Andrew: Well we realised that once me, Si and Mike were together, we realised that we had a decent thing going. But we had no identity, we didn't have...you know, as a band, it was nothing more. So me and Si were sitting around in this room one day, really boring store room, and we just came up with Silva:Code. It's got a hidden meaning, but nobody seems to have figured it out yet.
Mike: I don't know what the meaning is (laughs).
Do you think that it's harder for you to get recognition because you're not a "scene" band?
Adam: Yeah, it probably is, because we're very sort of, not of the current trend at the minute. We wanna do something that kind of, not necessarily raises the bar because that's really pretentious, but kind of, you've got to kind of get into the head of us to see what we wanna do and stuff.
Andrew: I think really, all the other bands that are out there at the moment, I mean, you've got your emo, your punk, your metal, your Arctic Monkeys, your Fratellis, stuff like that. I just think it's funny, more than anything. I really enjoy playing something different, just to get people's reactions. If they don't like it, they don't like it. But at least we've provoked a reaction, rather than somebody being exactly the same as everything else out there, and not having a reaction at all, because you're just totally predictable.
If you were offered a contract with a major record label, but only if you changed your sound, what would you do?
Andrew: We wouldn't take it. Next question. (laughs)
Do you find it easy to write songs or does that depend on personal events at that time?
Mike: I'd say how we're feeling depends on how we write the track, but we never really struggle to kind of come up with ideas. But yeah, definitely if we've all had like a bad week at work, we'll probably want to write something heavier, or if we're feeling really creative, write something softer.
Si: Yeah, I mean, we write so much stuff really really quickly. I don't know what the pace of the other bands are around the world, but everything seems to pour out of us. Even like when we're in a bad patch, when our materials kind of dry up a bit, we've still got at least five or six almost finished tracks. Writing's never really been a problem for us. The only thing I'd say is really a problem for us is we like to have a different sound, you know, so it's like taking a track which sounds fantastic, and trying to give it a really personal experimental edge to it, like. That's probably the hardest part.
What are the best and worst things about being in the band?
Andrew: The best points of being in a band are having an excuse to get with your mates and play music and drink beer. That's a fantastic thing that loads of people like to do but it's just a brilliant excuse to do it. One of the best things, is it's just really fulfilling, and sort of satisfying. One of the worst things really is just the amount of time that you have to give up. Thing is, a lot of bands, they'll say they're dedicated, but in actual fact, when it comes to sacrifices: time, money and stuff, they're quite reluctant. We're doing it in a very, sort of, economic way, but we're still really dedicated. Sometimes that means giving up a lot for something that we really enjoy. We don't mind it.
Mike: The worst point for me personally is coming off stage in a really sweaty t-shirt, and having to take everything down, and then putting it all in the car, and then driving home.
Andrew: When people come through all the time when you're trying to do an interview!
Si: One of the best points, one of the best times when you're in a band is where you're playing a gig and everyone's really appreciating it. Cheering the songs, and a fantastic atmosphere, that's one of the best times. One of the worst times is where you're playing to the wrong kind of audience and they just don't care. You're playing in front of people which would rather be watching the band which they came to see. They're just staring at you just to be polite. Some people aren't even polite and they just walk off. But, that's the lowest point probably because it really saps your motivation on stage.
What do you dislike most about the music industry?
Andrew: In actual fact, the level that we're at, I mean, the music industry, we're not quite there yet. The music scene at the moment is like the stage before that, that we're at. But even now, we get promoters and things that won't listen to you twice because you're different to everything else. It might not be because they don't like us. It might be because they think that it won't sell at the moment. They might think that we're the best band in the world, they could do, but it won't make a difference because they can't sell tickets to our gigs because we're different and things like that. That really pisses me off. They can't be bothered to go out on a limb and sort of say "This is something different, come and listen to this".
Adam: It's also like, the kind of, the whole thing with promotion companies and when people are putting on gigs and stuff, people make it really really hard for people to go and see live music. They put it in crap venues, or they charge extortionate rates at the door for people that come in. It's like "Why the hell are they doing this?" because they want people to come in and see live music, so why make it difficult? That's what pisses me off.
Who are your heroes?
Mike: I'd say...Si. Well, Si and José from Incubus.
Si: First and foremost, it's gotta be Michael Einziger from Incubus. One of the best guitarists ever. Who else? Si, me. I've also really got into Wes Borland, recently, from Limp Bizkit as well. He's fantastic. I could go on but I'll just bore you.
Andrew: Er...SuperTed (laughs). The blue car when the blue car and the red car had a race. Ooh! Brum! Brum the car. Seriously, bass-wise, it's gotta be, someone I'll never be able to equal, Nathan East. He did the bass for Waterfalls by TLC. Other people I can really relate to more, are sort of, Dirk Lance from Incubus. I don't like bass players that are sort of guitarist-turned-bass-player, like Ben Kenney from Incubus, he's a bit toss, like.
Adam: I suppose...Brandon Boyd from Incubus, obviously. Obviously, for obvious reasons. Musically, I dunno. It's difficult really. Non-musical is Bruce Lee (laughs). And Spider-Man.
Adam: Spider-Man. But yeah, Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee's a legend.
Which question do you wish someone would ask you, and how would you answer it?
Andrew: I dunno. Shiny, metallic or matte covered, which is your favourite? I like matte on wood and metallic on most other things.
Si: I've got one: Is pineapple acceptable on pizza? The answer is yes. Ham and pineapple pizza, yes. I dunno, which came first, chicken or the egg? I don't know. I honestly can't think of one.
Andrew: Would you like a beer? (laughs)
Mike: Will you go to bed with me? (laughs)
Andrew: Should socks have toes in them? Separated toes in them, or not?
Si: That's freaky, no.
Andrew: I borrowed my sisters the once, and it's horrible, it's weird, man. I think I liked it, but I don't know. Because when you rub your toes together, you get friction and it warms up. (laughs) It's weird!