Rich Huxley – Guitar and vocals
Ed Waring – Keyboards
Jason Miller – Bass
Ash – Drums
If the name Four Day Hombre sounds familiar, it’s because good music makes its own introductions. After all, this is a band whose fledgling career has already seen them triumph in a Radio 1 One Music competition, make the Station’s daytime playlist as an unsigned band and win high profile fans like Kate Moss and Chris Martin. Since then they’ve toured religiously, started their own label and recorded a classic debut album. It’s taken a while, but things are about to get very exciting for Four Day Hombre.
The first version of the band sprang into existence back when Simon Wainwright, Rich Huxley, Ed Waring and Jason Miller were four students fresh out of Lancaster University with big ideas, a rented house, no songs and no drummer.
“We soundproofed our cellar and turned it into a rehearsal room,” explains golden voiced singer Simon. “Six months after we started building it, we actually started rehearsing.”
At this point, all they needed was a drummer. Preferably one that knew how to work a power drill. Thankfully, keyboard player Ed had an old school friend that fitted the bill.
“I’d played with Ash in bands at school,” recalls Ed, “doing really fast Led Zeppelin and Hendrix covers, like you do. He’d actually been to Music College and it had beaten drumming out of him. It had killed his love of music. But he came down to a rehearsal to see how it went, and he’s still here six years later. Although he still maintains that he’s never been asked to join.”
“Yeah,” smiles pocket sized guitarist Rich, “But he’s never been asked to leave.”
It’s at this point in most bands’ stories that demos are recorded, gigs are played and deals are signed. But Four Day Hombre are not most bands. Plugging their way around Leeds with bands like Parva, who would eventually evolve into Kaiser Chiefs, success wasn’t arriving overnight.
“It wasn’t like we started playing and a whisper went around the city,” confesses Ed. “But people who were into the local scene kind of noticed us. We were quite tight, even though we weren’t very good.”
“We were playing songs,” agrees Rich, “but looking back, they weren’t necessarily Four Day Hombre songs. We were still finding out what our roles in the band were.”
Crucially, the band weren’t rushing themselves in the bid to find the false Holy Grail of a record deal. Influences were absorbed, songs were written and fans were accumulated. By 2003 the time had arrived to actually get something recorded. And with a demo by the name of ‘The First Word Is The Hardest’, the fun really started.
“We sent it out to three or four people we knew in the industry so they could give us some feedback,” recalls Ed. “Two days later we started getting phone calls from random people. We’d sent one to Steve Lamacq, but rather than going straight to him it got put on a One Music pile, and we found out we were entered in this weird battle of the bands. We thought, ‘Aw, fucking hell’. Two months later, we found we were in the top five. We ended up winning that and being put on the Radio 1 playlist. And all the time that that’s happening, we’re getting calls from big labels. We did showcases in our rehearsal room for like, ten labels.”
“We used to play these twenty minute gigs to two people in a freezing studio,” laughs Rich. “We had those toxic space heaters and people would leave high as a kite on the carbon monoxide fumes.”
“We brought that demo out as a single through Crystal Songs,” continues Simon. “We started playing live on Radio 1 and we got loads of major label attention and loads of people coming along to gigs – people like Chris Martin and Kate Moss. But it never just fell into place. There was always something wrong, or we didn’t get offered what we wanted.”
“At that time we still didn’t really know what we were,” admits Ed. “And when labels came to see us, they didn’t know either. They were like, ‘They’ve got a song on Radio 1 and it’s a bit like Coldplay but it’s not. And when you see them live it’s nothing like Coldplay.’ They couldn’t get their heads around it.”
After years of being Leeds’ nearly band and on the verge of finally signing the elusive perfect contract, the deal fell apart like so many before it. But it was here, at their lowest point, that Four Day Hombre had an epiphany.
“We just looked back over the last three years and asked why every positive had happened to us,” explains Simon. “The reason it happened was that people we knew were working hard to make it happen for nothing. We thought fuck it, let’s get all these people together and do what we would have done anyway. It can’t be that hard.”
“We realised we still wanted to do this,” adds Ed. “If we didn’t do this album, we may as well quit. We needed to start our own record label. We sent a mail out to our mailing list, which was about 3,500 people, saying that we wanted to start our own label and if you wanted to buy shares, then let us know. We set this target we wanted to hit and we just pole vaulted past it.”
Thus began the legend of Alamo Music, Britain’s newest independent label.
“It’s been one of the most life affirming experiences of my life,” beams Simon. “To see people literally signing away their life savings because they believed in us. The day we signed all the agreements and we realised we were going to go to France to record the album, it was amazing. We know them as friends now, but they’ve been coming to gigs for years.”
Now those friends and fans are about to prove that they have great taste and business acumen when single ‘1000 Bulbs’ is released this November. It’s an incredible debut, hinting at what Athlete would sound like if they ever went through puberty, or what Coldplay might have done if they invested a fraction of their marketing budget in amplification.
The days of four ex-students refurbishing a dusty Leeds cellar seem like ancient history, but some things are worth waiting for. The real story is just starting for Four Day Hombre, and the band can’t wait to write some more chapters.
“I just want to be the best band ever and have people crying at gigs,” beams Ed. “When we were playing to ten people, people would come up to us after the gig and say ‘That was amazing’. And we got of sense of ‘Fucking hell, we did that. We are alright, despite all the other shit’. I want to affect more people like that.”