The Don't Touch the Walls Story

Don’t Touch the Walls: The Making

Don’t Touch the Walls originated at the University of Birmingham, where 3 of its current and 3 of its former band members began attending 4 years ago. Having been justifiably described on numerous occasions as “geek rock”, the band comprises of Richard Buka, medical student, Jasvir Virdee, medical student, Holly Necchi, maths graduate and trainee teacher, Ian Shirley, music tech student, and last but not least, Joseph Apperley, maestro of coffee making and general greatness.

It would be unmerited to go without mentioning their two former members of two years, law graduate and entrepreneur David Mytton, and physics graduate Tom Perry, and year- long drummer Michael Nutman, who contributed to the development and shaping of Don’t Touch the Walls within their university circle and are greatly missed. Alas the capital called them for greater things, and they appear to be on their way to making their millions. Let’s see if Don’t Touch the Walls can beat them to it!

Don’t Touch the Walls was brought to life some 3 years ago at a grotty pub in the heart of student dive Selly Oak, when an inspired Rich asked housemate Holly if she would like to join his band as a pianist and singer, whilst they were watching a local Birmingham band. Holly’s musical experiences are vast, having played classical piano for most of her life, and playing and singing for irish-folk bands, jazz bands and choirs in the past.

Rich’s desire to form a band had also began long before this; cramming guitars and keyboards into his smaller than average bedroom at his university halls, his intentions to start a band were unrevoked from the very beginning of his student career. Being the most clumsy person in existence, it is hard to understand how he had managed to make use of his cramped musical bedroom without electrocuting himself, causing a fire, or destroying the equipment, but nevertheless, he had met Jaz, a guitar genius, and the pair had been jamming there for a while with various other people in the hope to form a band; one of which was former bassist Dave.

Thus the final addition to the band was their first drummer Mike, a friend of Dave’s. The only thing the band now needed was a name...

Rich and Holly met in student accommodation 4 years ago, and after forming a great friendship continued to live together for the rest of university. They also met a strange catholic girl who had some rather unusual habits, which caused chaos, mess and filth wherever she went. Despite her foul tendencies, the girl displayed some good traits, and so she too continued to live with them for the subsequent years, and the band name was inspired by the need to avoid touching anything around the filthy student house in which they lived, including the walls. Thus after many suggestions, some more sinful than others, the name “Don’t Touch the Walls” was agreed on, and the band was born.

The band’s first gig was a birthday party, in the same grotty pub mentioned above. Drummer-less and vocally shocking (and not in a good way), the band were definitely less than average, but never-the-less were not disheartened and began playing open mic nights around the area. After much improvement they began to get themselves known amongst the local promoters and regularly played at local pubs and gig venues.

A year in, Holly and Rich met next door neighbour Tom Perry, a drummer. Tom regularly filled in at gigs that Mike was unable to attend, and joined the band after Mike gracefully left the band due to other commitments. Tom was an adventurous drummer and added style to the band with his charm and good looks, but regretfully had to leave the band this summer to move to London after graduating.

However, hope approached the band in the form of Joe Apperley, cousin of Holly. With his first instrument being the piano, Joe and Holly shared the same piano teacher, both learning to play from the age of seven, and grew up together writing and recording songs about pizza and cows. Joe extended his musical flair to other instruments, and after having prior experience of being the drummer of teen punk band “Caught Off-Guard”, he was the obvious choice of replacement.

Around the same time as this, bassist Dave Mytton slowly became less available as his global business empire grew, and after subbing in regularly, welsh greebo Ian Shirley, cousin of Rich, joined the band when Dave left for the capital to conquer the world. Ian is a technical genius, and is a brilliant addition to the band, not only for his innovative bass playing skills, but for his ability to set up equipment quickly and smoothly without getting annoyed at Holly, who is greatly renowned for being useless and getting in the way.

Thus Don’t Touch the Walls was re-created. However, band members were not the only changes being made to the band. The song-writing and vocal skills of the band are ever developing, and after an exploration of open guitar tunings from Holly and Rich, Lydian scales from Jaz, fretless bass-playing from Ian, and unusually high-pitched harmonies from Joe, new songs were created.

Holly and Rich write many songs together. Although the song-writing process often involves the pair engaging in hours of bickering and scrapping about harmonies, structure and instrumentation, their styles mould together well, and with the rest of the band’s input the outcome is definitely worthwhile. Their songs are based on the weird and the wonderful, such as medieval tales about witches, historical war stories, and schizophrenic encounters, to experiences of heart break and longing, everyday life, and religious opinions.

Holly and Rich have strong folk influences, from the likes of Seth Lakeman, Joni Mitchell, Laura Marling and Sufjan Stevens, rock influences from bands such as Billy Talent, Nirvana and Snow Patrol, and classical influences from Ludovico Einaudi, Rachmaninov, and Liszt. Holly’s obsession with vocal harmonies combines intimately with Rich’s ability to create strange and interesting chord progressions. Jazz is influenced by his love for funk and rock; conveyed in his wild guitar solos and elaborate riffs.

Don’t Touch the Walls are releasing their self-titled EP on 31st October 2011 with the launch party being at the O2 Academy on 2nd November 2011. The band will be giving out a limited number of free records, so show your love to the band and get yourself in the queue quickly for some freebies! Alternatively, download the EP for free here.

Don’t Touch the Walls are ready to deliver unique music comprised of driving guitar rhythms, intricate piano lines and cuttings vocal harmonies to the world; so why not jump on the bandwagon!

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