2022 will be a milestone year for us as we celebrate ten years of the band’s existence. It seems like an appropriate time to take a look back at its origins and journey so far …
The seeds of what came to be Dawn of Elysium were originally sown at the back end of 2011, the exact date being 2nd December in fact. It was a night at the long defunct infamous Gasworks rock club in Bradford, which was hosting the Carpe Noctum goth night. Bands playing were Alice Moving Under Skies and Rhombus, both of which delivered fantastic sets.
Carpe Noctum’s promoter Howard and I had been friends for a few years by that point, having been on the same team running events at previous venues in town. I had been to a fair few of his events before that. Whilst I had a modicum of awareness and always liked what I heard (Howard has always been an impeccable curator of events), I had hitherto not really taken the time to appreciate the bands quite as much as on this particular night. Gothic rock had been a profound influence on my formative years and has always played some part in the music I create. However on a social level, I had never really been a part of or known many people that were a part of that scene. In the years that followed this night, that would change.
Emma and I had not been together for long. We were both in bands. Emma played in Action Directe and the then embryonic Quasimodo and I had post-punk project Suicide By Cop. After watching the bands that night, we concluded that it might be cool for us to do something together. Throughout the month of December, various conversations were had down the pub and by the end of the year, we had our first line-up “on paper”. It was the start of our journey, although there were to be a few stumbles along the way.
Rehearsals commenced on 15th January 2012. In attendance were Emma and myself on bass and guitar respectively, Paul “Punky” Brannan on vocals, Paul Stefan-Gill on guitar and Phil Holroyd on drums. The band was originally to be called “The Wraith”. However, that incarnation was not destined to be. None of us had played together before and there were personality clashes aplenty almost from the off. It was a manic and overwhelming time and by the March, the two Pauls had parted company with the rest of us, taking the name with them.
They briefly continued playing together some time later under the moniker “The Wraith Within” as a studio project with a view to getting a live band together but it never really came to anything. It was on the whole a very brief formation, split and two rival faction scenario. I guess that rendered that particular Spinal Tap-esque “goth band” box ticked very early on in the story. In reality, things ended up being fairly amicable and although we haven’t seen much of each other since, ultimately friendships remained intact. Nothing to see here. Not even on a subliminal level.
Meanwhile, we decided upon the name “Dawn of Elysium” and the band was rebooted. Over the course of the spring and summer, the remaining three of us plugged away at getting a sound together. It was primitive, it was basic but it was ours. Our first appearance in front of people was on 8th September 2012, where we played a short set at the Black Swan pub for a friend’s birthday. It was a brief, casual and unadvertised affair so we never really considered it to be our first proper gig. I also felt that there was something missing from our sound. This was to be rectified shortly after.
In attendance that night was keyboardist Charles Shelley, whom we had contacted just prior to the gig about the possibility of joining the band. He liked what he heard and we immediately became good friends. Charles joined the band on 12th September the following week and we quickly set about recording what was to be our first EP “Sense of Belonging”. Throughout the autumn, we played our first bona fide gigs and completed the EP.
We started 2013 in earnest, continuing to write and rehearse. However, it became evident by the February that being in a band wasn’t really for Phil and so we parted ways. We took the decision to proceed as a three piece without a live drummer and really this marked the end of the beginning.
In the six years or so between March 2013 and December 2018, we continued just the three of us, playing anywhere and everywhere that would have us. We self-recorded and released our first album “Time and Tide” and published a bunch of songs online. It had been a great ride but towards the end of 2018, we started to feel like we were running out of steam, both creatively and motivationally. It was time for change and in the year to follow, that’s exactly what happened.
In 2019 we released “Raven”, our second album and expanded the line-up to four (enter Tim Furze on guitar) and later five (enter Kaz Buxton on vocal). This enhanced the live sound exponentially. During this time, a number of the older songs were left behind in favour of newer material as the band evolved. More gigs were played further afield than before and there was a real feeling of optimism and momentum.
However, the pandemic of 2020 arrived and brought many challenges to bands and musicians the world over. Despite a great live start and a string of releases throughout the year, Dawn of Elysium was no exception. Unfortunately, just before the band was about to reconvene after a period of separation, Tim decided that he no longer felt able to continue with the band. This was in April 2021.
In the weeks to follow, Izak Gloom joined the fold, incorporating a very different guitar style to the overall sound. Consequently, it was necessary to take a step back and set about reworking material old and new to accomodate. We eventually played our first gig with this line-up in October 2021. Since then, we have been working on the recording of our brand new single “Storm”, which is due for release in early 2022. Work also continues on our third album “The Mandela Effect”, which we hope to release later in 2022.
The band as it sounds today is a world away from that of 2012 and we are even in a very different chapter than that of the 2013-2018 “Trio” years. We’re already starting to put together plans for a few gigs next year to celebrate this ten year milestone.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the support we have received over the years and we’re looking forward to seeing in 2022 with a bang!
Have a wonderful festive period and hope you all have a very happy new year.
Alec, Emma, Kaz, Izak, and Charles.