Kids In Glass Houses Biography
Last updated: 05/29/2008
When frontman Aled Phillips formed Kids In Glass Houses in 2004, he'd have been the first to admit that it existed as little more than a hobby and was simply something that grew from the boredom of being a teenager in the tiny village of Penpedairheol, 20 miles from the Welsh capital Cardiff. The band, as the singer puts it, 'played about twice a month and practiced about half that amount.' Things started to change however, when a friend of Aled's, Philip Jenkins started drumming for the band and inspired a more dedicated attitude towards the 'hobby'. Together, the band recorded their first two tracks in early 2005, 'Flirting With Widows' and 'Telenovela' on which Aled not only sang, but also played guitar.
The singer was relieved of his stand-in guitar duties shortly after, when guitarist Joel Fisher, who lived on the same road as Phillips and was a regular at the bands early shows, entered the six-string fold, alongside Aled Rees. Almost immediately after in November 2005, the group's burgeoning local popularity saw them win an online poll to open the 'Taste Of Chaos Festival' at Cardiff's International Arena, to an impressive and intimidating 7000 people. Despite ending the year on a massive high, impending university courses and other commitments threatened the future of the young band and saw bassist and founding member Earl Phillips leave the band for academic pursuits. Andrew Shay, who was now a free agent following the demise of his previous band (The Next Nine Years) replaced him and the newly cemented line-up eagerly began writing new material. The result of these writing sessions would be 2006's breakthrough five-track demo EP, 'E-Pocalypse!'.
The process of writing the EP was relaxed and carried no real expectations. 'We were essentially nobodies in the music scene, so it made no real difference to anyone,' recalls the singer. 'We just wanted to come out with the CD and sort of say, OK, here you go, deal with it. We had become increasingly and consciously distant from the sound coming out of South Wales at the time and we just wanted to write real songs that were a bit different to what had become the norm. Fun songs. Songs that we'd listen to and enjoy and that weren't predated or just lumped in to the swill and forgotten.'
During their time in school, they championed bands such as Glassjaw and Lostprophets, admiring their tireless energy both onstage and off and their dogged determination and work ethic. However, it was the timeless songs of stalwart artists like Duran Duran, The Police, Michael Jackson, Prince, The Smiths and The Cure that played an integral and influential role in the bands creative development and provided an ambitious benchmark for the band to aspire to. The months that followed would see the band pour out four new songs in the form of 'Me, Me, Me', 'Easy Tiger', 'Raise Hell' and 'Historia'. Once recorded, the band knew they'd produced something pretty special, but were unsure how it would translate to an unsuspecting audience who had become increasingly accustomed to a tried and tested formula. Nor would they have guessed how many opportunities these songs would give them and just how far they would take them.
Fellow countrymen Lostprophets invited the band to open at some of their 'Liberation Transmission' tour dates in July 2006 and again the five-piece found themselves playing to thousands of people at a time. Once home from their brief supporting stint, the band parted ways with guitarist Aled Rees and spent the next few months cashing in favours and borrowing band members from their local peers. One such person was close friend, Iain Mahanty, then of Dopamine, who filled in when the band headlined a sold-out Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff to celebrate the 'release' of their EP. A night that Phillips remembers fondly, 'It was a bit of a milestone for us. We thought we were the Rolling Stones for 40 minutes.'
Over the next couple of months, the band took to playing everywhere and anywhere they could - a relentlessness that would reward the band with 1,500 sales of the EP by the years end. By October the group had started to gain the attention of record labels, managers, lawyers and booking agents and were promptly booked to play their first London show, coincidentally alongside another newcomer to the British underground, Gallows. The tiny show in Camden's Bar Monsta venue would see the band head back to the Valleys with a handful of business cards, bearing contact information for a whole host of big industry players. Having played the Bar Monsta show and a handful before it, Mahanty would leave Dopamine soon after and join the band full-time.
With interest from fans and the industry increasing at a very healthy rate, the band's EP was serviced to the UK's rock media and received glowing reviews, most notably a 4K review in Kerrang! magazine. 'After that, we all had a bit of a 'fuck me' moment,' states the singer. 'Things definitely changed. We started selling out shows, making some money and more and more doors began to open for us.' In just the three months that remained of 2006, the band went on to play seven London shows and subsequently began 2007 with a manager and a booking agent to their name.
2007 would begin as 2006 ended - busy and on the road. The band embarked on their first proper tour of the UK in support of Hundred Reasons. The tour served as a fine appetizer of what was to come and a definite learning curve for the fledgling group. Kerrang! magazine ran an 'Introducing' article on the band in early 2007, as well as declaring the band as one of 'The 10 Hottest New Bands On The Planet'. 'You really never forget the first time you see yourself in a magazine,' Phillips comments. 'I got up at about 7 in the morning to run out and get it. I haven't been up that early since,' he laughs.
As Spring came to a close, the band had scaled the UK with 30 Seconds To Mars and The Blackout, headlined Klub Kerrang! at London's impressive Koko venue, as well as notching up an appearance on the 'Give It A Name' festival bill and it's preceding 'Give It A Name Introduces..' tour. With no real chance to catch their breath, the group found themselves on tour with the Manic Street Preachers and Goo Goo Dolls, as well as making appearances on the Full Ponty, Download and Hyde Park Calling festival bills, before beginning their first headline tour of the UK in June to predominantly sold out venues.