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|Origin||Southport, Merseyside, England|
|Genres||Indie rock, alternative rock|
|Labels||ATO, MapleMusic Recordings (Canada), Eat Sleep, Independiente, Hut/Virgin|
Gomez are an English indie rock band from Southport, comprising Ian Ball (vocals, guitar), Paul "Blackie" Blackburn (bass), Tom Gray (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Ben Ottewell (vocals, guitars) and Olly Peacock (drums, synths, computers). The band has three singers and four songwriters, employing traditional and electronic instruments. Their music covers the genres blues, indie, alternative, rock, folk, psychedelic and experimental.
Gomez began their career on Hut records (Virgin), signing in 1997. Just before their third album release In Our Gun Hut records was forced to downsize and on the following record, Split the Difference, Hut records was disbanded by Virgin/EMI Records. The band were so dismayed by the music industry that they decided to go on alone and asked Virgin Records to let them go in 2004. The following year American label ATO signed the group, releasing their first live album Out West and their most successful records stateside How We Operate and A New Tide.
Ball has released two solo records entitled Who Goes There (2007) and Unfold Yourself (2013). Ball and Peacock worked on the side project Operation Aloha. The experimental project designed by photographer Christopher Wray-McCann brought together 14 of his friends, living in tree houses making songs with whatever they could bring to the island of Maui, Hawaii.
Ball, Ottewell, Peacock and Pattison (engineer) created the Final Keep Me Up in 2009. They recorded an album using only iPhones in the back lounge of the tour bus from Calais to Köln, on 2 May 2009. The album exists only in streaming form.
Ben Ottewell has released three solo records: Shapes & Shadows (2011), Rattlebag (2014) and A Man Apart (2017).
Guitarist and vocalist Ian Ball and drummer Olly Peacock are long-time friends, having played in a 3 piece band from the ages of 14 to 18. They met bassist Paul Blackburn and multi-instrumentalist Tom Gray, who had grown up two doors down from Peacock, at college. Finally, Ian Ball met vocalist/guitarist Ben Ottewell from Matlock Bath in Derbyshire at Sheffield University.
The band played its first gig together in 1996 in Leeds at the Hyde Park Social Club on Ash Grove. At the time, they did not have a formal name. The band left a sign out which read "Gomez in here", for a friend of theirs whose surname was Gomez, to indicate that it was the site of their first gig. People saw the sign and assumed that the band's name was Gomez. The name stuck.
The band started recording four-track demos in Peacock's father's garage in Southport during the summer of 1996. The demos were handed to Stephen Fellows (later manager/Comsat Angels) who distributed them to four initial record labels. A bidding war erupted immediately, including several US labels. The band, having only one performance under their belt, decided against playing showcases in London and instead made the record companies travel to Red Tape rehearsal studios. After several weeks of playing to over 25 labels, the band finally signed to Hut records (Virgin Records), in September 1997.
After signing to Hut Records in September 1997, they began recording their debut album. They entered Parr Street Studios with engineer Ken Nelson (later Badly Drawn Boy, Coldplay) recording new songs and improving the mixes of the demos. The band self produced.
The album went platinum. A season of English Festivals (including two performances at Glastonbury) followed. The band's successful year was crowned when they won the Mercury Music Prize in September 1998. Other nominees included Massive Attack - Mezzanine, Pulp - This Is Hardcore, The Verve - Urban Hymns.
The band's second album, Liquid Skin, was released in 1999, lending Gomez further success on the British and Australian albums charts. The band also made the Billboard Heatseeker chart for the first time. After winning the Mercury Prize, the band went back to Parr Street Studios, pressing on with recording as much material as they could between tours. Ken Nelson engineered once again and the band self produced. The album went Platinum and touring followed, including a performance at Glastonbury Festival on the second stage.
The group's third album, In Our Gun, was released in 2002. It made the top 10 on the UK charts as well as the top 50 on the Australian charts. The single "Shot Shot" charted in the UK top 40, the top 20 in Portugal, and the Billboard Heatseeker chart.
The band produced and recorded the record in Batsford Manor, Gloucestershire with additional recordings in the famous Studio 2 at Abbey Road Studios.
While Gomez's first three albums had been self-produced, the band decided to work with Tchad Blake as producer for their fourth record. Blake had previously produced albums by Tom Waits, Crowded House and Pearl Jam. The band were massive fans of his compressed sounds inherent on Los Lobos and Latin Playboys recordings.
The band had built a Studio in Portslade, just outside Brighton, England (where most of them were residing). They worked independently for months recording, until they developed what the record would be with Tchad Blake at Real World Studios.
The album reached the top 40 in the UK and Australia. The first single "Catch Me Up" entered the UK top 40 in March 2004 and "Silence" was released as the second single.
Split the Difference received a good critical response, with Allmusic rating it as four and a half stars out of five and BBC Internet Music Reviews describing it as "one of the finest releases of the year so far. If you were one of those people who wrote them off two years ago, it's time to get listening again."
However, unfortunately for Gomez, Virgin/EMI closed down Hut Recordings and, having had such a strong bond to their friends at the label, the band asked to be released from their contract. Virgin agreed.
Gomez's fifth studio record, How We Operate was released on 2 May 2006. It was the first record the band did not produce themselves, letting Gil Norton (Foo Fighters, Pixies) take the reins. The record was developed in the band's Studio and later recorded in 6 weeks at RAK Studios, London.
The album's title track was featured in the Grey's Anatomy episode "Deterioration of the Fight or Flight Response", and later covered by Kevin McKidd in the season seven episode "Song Beneath the Song". On 14 February 2006 their song "Get Miles" was featured in the House episode "Distractions", and on 6 March 2007, their song "See the World" was featured in the House episode "Half-Wit". "See the World" was also featured in the "Bones" episode "Widow's Son In the Windshield".
They were also one of the many bands featured on a John Lennon Tribute aired on BBC Radio2 to mark the 25th anniversary of the musician's death. Gomez performed "Hey Bulldog" by The Beatles, and "Instant Karma!" by Lennon.
With this album, the band were careful to create a collection of songs that would stand up well at live gigs.
With the band members now scattered across two continents, from Brooklyn to Brighton, England, early tracks were written and recorded individually and then merged online. The process allowed for an open and adaptive songwriting approach, the material taking on its ultimate shape when Gomez officially convened in studios in Chicago and Charlottesville, VA, with producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron and Wine, Counting Crows).
As ever, a wide range of styles are incorporated into Gomez' sound, including blues, Krautrock and psychedelia. The record also sees Gomez accompanied by a number of guest musicians, including vocalist Amy Millan (of Stars/Broken Social Scene), bassist Josh Abrams (The Roots, Sam Prekop, Godspeed You Black Emperor!), cellist Oliver Krauss (Tom McRae, David Gray, Paul Weller, Beth Orton), and multi-instrumentalist Stuart Bogie of Brooklyn's world-renowned Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra.
Gomez released their seventh studio album, Whatever's on Your Mind, on 21 June 2011.
In 1998, Philips Electronics chose Gomez to cover The Beatles' song "Getting Better" for a $100 million ad campaign for Philips new lines of flat panel and high-definition television sets. The cover song was not released on an album until 2000 with Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline, a collection of B-sides and rarities.
In 2005, Gomez signed a new deal with Dave Matthews' (of the Dave Matthews Band) ATO Records. Under a new label, the band released their first live album, Out West in June 2005. The double disc CD was compiled from shows recorded at San Francisco's famous Fillmore Theater in January 2005.
In January 2006, the band performed on Jam Cruise before returning to the studio to put the final touches on How We Operate. After playing the SxSW music festival in Austin, Tom, Ian and Ben debuted material from the upcoming release in several US cities. The band's 2006 spring tour included stops in Asheville NC, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Denver, San Francisco, and Portland, OR. They also performed at several large outdoor festivals, including stops at the Beale Street and Bonnaroo Festivals in Tennessee, the Jazzfest in New Orleans and Sasquatch Festival in George, WA.
A collection of A-side and B-sides and rarities titled Five Men in a Hut was released on 17 October 2006. The two-disc album consists of released and unreleased tracks recorded under the Hut/Virgin label from 1998-2004. A DVD with music videos and interviews from their time with Hut was also released.
In 2007, Gomez recorded a cover of The Band's hit "Up On Cripple Creek" for the tribute album Endless Highway: The Music of The Band. Also their song "How We Operate" was played in the final scene of The Hitcher starring Sean Bean and Sophia Bush. Gomez continued to tour, including a co-headlining 2007 US tour with label-mate Ben Kweller. The band toured Australia and New Zealand before heading back to the States for a second headlining leg of their US tour.
In 2008, Gomez opened up several shows for Dave Matthews Band.
On 21 December the band revealed to their mailing list that a new album entitled A New Tide will be released on 31 March in the US, in the UK and Europe on 30 March, and in Australia on 28 March 2009. Gomez recorded A New Tide in Chicago, and played festivals including Lollapalooza that year.
In early 2009, Dajon Everett, Ian Ball and Olly Peacock were involved in a project called Operation Aloha with 14 other musicians including members from Phantom Planet and Maroon 5. They produced an album over the course of 30 days in Maui, Hawaii. A self-titled album was released on 12 May 2009.
In April 2009, the band's song "Little Pieces" was used in the 19th episode of Grey's Anatomy season 5. It played at the start of the episode and involved a montage of Alex watching Izzie sleep in hospital, as well as Callie dancing with Arizona around Callie's apartment.
In September 2009, their song "See The World" was featured in the motion picture I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.
In August 2012, their song "Shot Shot" was used in the boxing scene in Episode 10 of second series of the American legal drama Suits.
The line-up has not changed since the band's beginning in 1996. Instrumentalist Dajon Everett is listed as a de facto member of the band on their official website. Most Gomez songs feature more than one vocalist. The breakdown of lead vocalist on each track from How We Operate is:
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|US Heat||US Indie|
|1998||Bring It On||11||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|2002||In Our Gun
|2004||Split the Difference
|2006||How We Operate||69||37||--||--||--||106||1||7|
|2009||A New Tide
|2011||Whatever's on Your Mind
|2000||Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline
|2006||Five Men in a Hut
|2002||Detroit Swing '66/Ping One Down
|2006||See the World E.P.
|1998||30 March||"78 Stone Wobble"||44||--||Bring It On|
|1 June||"Get Myself Arrested"||45||--|
|31 August||"Whippin' Piccadilly"||35||--|
|1999||28 June||"Bring It On"||21||--||Liquid Skin|
|30 August||"Rhythm & Blues Alibi"||18||--|
|15 November||"We Haven't Turned Around"||38||--|
|2002||4 March||"Shot Shot"||28||--||In Our Gun|
|3 June||"Sound of Sounds"/"Ping One Down"||48||--|
|2004||8 March||"Catch Me Up"||36||--||Split the Difference|
|30 August||"Sweet Virginia"||--1||--|
|2006||17 April||"How We Operate"||--2||8||How We Operate|
|4 September||"See the World"||107||1|
|2009||13 April||"Airstream Driver"||--||7||A New Tide|
|17 August||"Little Pieces"||--||--|
|2011||30 May||"Options"||76||10||Whatever's on Your Mind|
|2006||Five Men in a Hut: Singles 1998-2004