Epic45 is, was and always will be a home recording project/collective based round the ideas and inspiration of childhood friends Ben Holton and Rob Glover. As a ‘group’ epic45 has seen a few different lineups, as people come and go. Occasional forays into studios do occur from time to time, the first EP ‘Shorebound’ was mainly recorded in 1998 in a small, untidy studio in the attic of an old house in Rugeley! Since then 99% of recording has taken place in various homes as its found to be an overall more satisfying process.
First gig played at a school concert in Spring of 1997 to the delight of Physics teacher Mr Granger who, being taken back to his love of Krautrock in the 70s, recommended the band get themselves a ‘crazy Japanese frontman’…..
First proper gig played winter 1998, Rugely Red Rose, to the confusion/anger of the hardcore metal fans attending. This year also sees epic45s first ‘release’, a 3 track CDR made to order (estimated number of copies in existence, 10)……
Shorebound was released on 7″ vinyl in mid 1999 and got the attention of radio 1 DJs John Peel and Steve Lamacq, Peel actually finishing his show with the seven and a half minute track ‘The Overwelming Feeling’. 2000 saw the release of the second ep ‘A is an Alphabet’ and the French split 10″ featuring live favourite ‘When the Cold Weather Comes’. A is an Alphabets first track, composed entirely by Rob Glover, was played by John Peel also.
In 2001, the split 7″ with 100 pets was released featuring another live favourite ‘..and Still They Stand, the Churches of England’, which again, Peel played on his show. Also this year epic45 released a (mini) album called ‘Secrets, Signs and Threats, to be given away free on the bands website.
The first album proper ‘Reckless Engineers’ was released in 2002 on Canadian label Where Are My Records and was recorded entirely in our home village of Wheaton Aston in Staffordshire (with the exception of ‘Shorebound’). Recording onto 4 track and crap computers, the duo recorded pretty much every instrument themselves with a little help from the mysterious Joseph Pilato Quartet. Epic45 had done a handful of gigs by this time, based round a three piece consisting of Holton, Glover and school friend Mark Oldfield (whose drums where grafted onto a few of the Reckless Engineers tracks) which all seemed to go pretty well.
During 2002/early 2003, the trio, now joined by Marks childhood friend Oli Grocott, set about recording the follow up to the debut. Against the Pull of Autumn, as it would be called, was an attempt to capture some more live sounding tracks. The first track ‘I’m getting too Young for this’, featuring extra guitar from on/off member Matt Kelly, was probably the most successful of the 12 tracks to do this.
In early 2003, Mark Oldfield and Oli Grocott, embarked on a long trip to Australia, leaving the epic45 live band without a drummer. In spite of this, the band, helped by Mike Rowley of The Arm on drums, played a few shows across the country with Canadian band Below the Sea. During the rest of 2003, Ben and Rob continued recording and in early 2004, the very limited CDR album ‘Slides’ was released on the label Make Mine Music, a syndicate label founded by Scott from the now defunct band Portal. The summer of 2004 saw the return of school-friend and occasional contributor Matt Kelly from university. It also saw the seemingly permanent departure of long term drummer Mark Oldfield and synth player Oli Grocott. However, fresh from uni, Matt brought a a renewed sense of energy to epic45 and, as a drummerless trio, epic45 headed to Denmark to play a gig. Here, Rob and Ben also played a gig as part of July Skies with Antony Harding, a good friend and long term collaborator. On returning from Denmark, the trio began work on what was to become the ‘England Fallen Over’ ep, perhaps epic45s most confident and ‘poppy’ collection of tracks to date.
2005 saw the release of england Fallen Over on Make Mine Music to great critical acclaim. This year the band also played a couple of gigs with the band Hood, releasing a limited (about 30 copies) ep called ‘Long Walks’ to coincide. Also this year Ben, Rob, Antony from July Skies and Dan from Ruraline visited the labyrinthine tunnels and corridors of the Drakelow nuclear bunker, where the inspiration behind the ‘Drakelow’ ep would emerge.
Drakelow, recorded by just Ben Holton and Rob Glover was released in early 2006 on MMM. In direct contrast to the brash pop sound of EFO, Drakelow concentrated on dark, reverberating soundscapes and desolate, warped synth eulogies to the decaying, mildewed tunnels of the underground complex. Again the ep was met with an enthusiastic response from fans and critics alike. 2006 saw the departure of Matt Kelly as he moved to Edinburgh with his girlfriend, and the re-release of Slides on a proper CD backed up with the rare Long Walks ep. Also throughout the year Ben and Rob began work on the follow up to Slides.
May Your Heart be the Map came out in Spring/Summer of 2007 and saw the band concentrating on the more acoustic side of their sound, evoking lost childhood summers and a longing for a past that may or may not have existed.
In All the Empty Houses, the bands latest 'mini' album, released late Autumn 2009, dealt with issues such as loss, change and decay. However, the sound remained a beguiling mixture of melancholy and the eventual uplift of hope. This release saw a collaboration with Simon Scott (Slowdive, Televise, Seavault) on drums.