Six By Seven in session for John Peel tonight, their first for him, recorded on April 7, 1998 and broadcast on May 12th. Regarded by many as the best undiscovered band even, Six By Seven were first together from 1992-2008 and then picking back up (with a few personnel changes) in 2012 and, at last report, still going.
Originally formed in 1992 as “Friends Of…”, they performed their first show at the Old Angel pub in their hometown of Nottingham in late 1992. After recording several demos and playing gigs, the band attracted some record company interest. However, they once played to a room full of A&R men at Leicester’s Charlotte with the room emptying before the first 15-minute song was complete. Undeterred, the band continued to write and record. Bass player Paul Douglas joined later that year. The band got their break by playing support slots with Rocket from the Crypt and Girls Against Boys, and changed their name to Six by Seven in 1996. The name was taken from the research connected with the Hubble Space Telescope. Sam Hempton came up with the name and described it as follows:
“There was a big debate as to whether the millions of other galaxies in the universe were accelerating away from each other or moving away at a constant rate, or whether they were actually coming back in on themselves. The scientists originally thought that everything would eventually come back in on itself and implode, but what’s actually happening is that they are accelerating away at a rate of 6 x 7.”
In 1997 the band released their debut 12-inch single ‘European Me’, which led to a five-album deal. Their debut album, The Things We Make, was released the following year, after which they began headlining their own shows, as well as touring with Ash, Manic Street Preachers, The Dandy Warhols, and Placebo. In May 1998, they were asked to play a live session on the John Peel Show, and recorded four more sessions over the next four years (this one is the very first).
Their second album, The Closer You Get, was released in 2000. Sam Hempton left the band shortly thereafter. Douglas followed in 2002, after the release of their third album, The Way I Feel Today. In September 2004 the fourth album 04 was released, along with a collection of outtakes from the recording sessions called Left Luggage at the Peveril Hotel which was initially available through the band’s website. In April 2005 a new album was announced for release entitled Artists Cannibals Poets Thieves – it was described as Six by Seven’s “first album as a three-piece”.
Shortly before the album’s release in June, the band announced they were to “stop touring and effectively end the group for the foreseeable future”, with a live album and a b-sides and rarities collection to follow.
In December 2005 a new “unofficial” studio album – Club Sandwich at the Peveril Hotel – was released on the band’s web site on 16 January 2006, with a limited number of copies making their way into stores in March. Although there was mention (and even scheduling) of a series of live gigs for early 2006, these shows were eventually cancelled.
In August 2006 the band made a surprise appearance playing at the Social in Nottingham with a new line-up featuring past collaborators Tony Doggen Foster and Ady Fletcher with Ian Bissett newly recruited on the drums.
In September 2006 a collection of rarities, live tracks and demo recordings was made available via the bands’ website.
On 12 December 2006 the band played another gig at the Social in Nottingham. Once again this featured the lineup of Chris Olley, James Flower, Doggen, Ady Fletcher and Ian Bissett.
In case you forgot their early period (or never knew about it in the first place) – time to hit the play button and crank it up.
It’s worth it.