Words by: Summer Hartley
Galaxies is a 4 piece post-rock/psychedelic/experimental band based out of Lexington, KY and they love what they do. Founded on the idea that they wanted something heavy yet beautiful, Brandon Surber and Nick Ridley Bull recruited Daniel Rogers and, later down the road, Fred Birch to fill in the gaps and create a four piece band that was close-knit and on the same page. Heavy sounds with a dreamy feel is the only way to describe the beauty that is a Galaxies song. If you're a fan of pretty rock and Dance Gavin Dance, Galaxies is right up your alley. Hell, anyone is up their alley, because they're that dang awesome.
Give me your name, your role in the band, and tell me 1 interesting fact about you.
Brandon Surber; guitar; “I met Nick [the vocalist] on a Craigslist ad. That was a pretty interesting way to meet.”
Frederick Birch; bass; “I like to run and jump and play football and such.”
Nicholas Ridley Bull; guitar/vox; “I grew up in Amsterdam.”
Daniel Rogers; drummer; “I have a mini Delorean from Back To The Future. I got it from ThinkGeek.”
Where did the band name derive from and who came up with it?
“Brandon came up with it,” says Nick. “Me and him started jamming a lot, or tried to jam a lot. Most of the times we were just spending our nights getting drunk and watching videos about aliens and outer space. But it was down to a few different ones that had to do with outer space and we thought Galaxies was the coolest one, so that is what we stuck with.”
How long have you guys been a band? Give a brief history of Galaxies.
Prior to Galaxies, Brandon and Nick were in a band together where Nick was the guitarist, while Brandon was the vocalist. “One day Brandon just stopped showing up,” says Nick. “... there were a couple of guys in the band that I didn't get along too well with,” Brandon rebuttals with. “... but I really liked Nick a lot. I knew Nick didn't plan on staying much longer so I got in touch with him...” And as the two searched for a drummer and bassist, they came across Rogers, and later found Fred after their previous bassist didn't work out. “We've been together as this lineup for about a year, and 3 years since the very, very beginning of Galaxies,” says Brandon.
How would you sum up your band's sound in just 3 words without using a genre?
The four stuck with Spacy (Daniel), Pretty (Nick), and Ambient (Brandon). “We have our own sound, but it kinda reminds me of floating through space in a peaceful way, so I think that's pretty much us,” says Daniel.
Are any of you involved in any other bands or projects at the moment?
Fred is not only a bassist, but he is also a drummer. “I've been playing drums in a band called I Like You for about 3 years now, and I also just auditioned for a band that I would be playing bass for as well as Galaxies,” he says. Daniel is also in a separate band: a Tool tribute/cover band called Arizona Bay, who have been on a hiatus of not playing a show together for about a year. “Essentially, we're waiting on the next Tool album to come out, is what it is. I may be old and unable to play the drums by that point, but we'll see.”
What is a common writing process for a Galaxies original song?
The boys of Galaxies have a general process for their songwriting, always beginning with Nick. “I'll write a full song and email it to them, and then they learn their own parts and put their own take on it. I'll write the picture I want them to get, and then they'll turn it into their own parts.” The boys say that Daniel “Sometimes I'll play the exact part, sometimes I'll completely change it up.” “We trust each other on writing and figuring it out.”
How do you pay for things such as travelling to shows, studio time, etc.?
“Black market organ transactions,” jokes Fred, followed by Brandon saying, “Self sex trafficking... Totally kidding, don't do that, kids.” All jokes aside, it's mostly self paid for between all of the members. Daniel says their latest process of going into the studio, though, didn't cost anything. “We're gonna be going into a studio soon, and what happened with that is my roommate had a business with a guy who works at Third Sky studio in Richmond. He wasn't paying rent for awhile and I let it slide for a bit, since we were good friends and I knew he'd pay me eventually. He eventually started paying rent, though, but what we ended up doing was instead of paying [his part of the rent], he gave us some studio time.”
When it comes to everything else, though, Galaxies pays for it through their own day-time jobs. “We all work and divide up costs. We put together what we get and buy our own shirts and such,” says Nick and Brandon. “We haven't actually been on tour though, so we don't know how paying for that would go. We're waiting to get a full album put out so we can attach something tangible to our reason for touring.”
What is your favorite show done with Galaxies so far?
Fred: “My favorite show was back in about September, where it was 4 local bands: Boxwine, Damaged Therapy, Galaxies, and I Like You. I pulled double that night, but it was a lot of fun. It was two of my favorite local bands plus two bands I'm in.”
Nick: “Opening for Emarosa at Buster's was great, yet terrifying. There were so many people there.”
Brandon: “I liked playing at Cosmic Charlie's with Travel Guide. It's one of my favorite venues to play at.”
Daniel: “Both Fred's and Nick's answers are on the same level with me, honestly. I love both of them.”
Why should someone who may be new to Galaxies' style of music come choose to see you guys live?
“There aren't many other bands around town that do what we do. In terms of sound, not a lot of bands around here have our type of sound. As far as Lexington goes, though, you won't hear anything like Galaxies in this area,” says Fred.
“Yea, alot of our songs are versatile and totally different, but they have a central theme,” follows Daniel.
What are some of the pros and cons of being where you are in the local KY scene?
“Pros are that there are a lot of talented bands and musicians in Kentucky. Cons, though, is that there's not a variety of places to play. I wish they were also more friendly to original bands. Around here, a lot of people like cover bands, and it's just not what original artists like to do, they wanna show off their sound,” says Brandon. “I like it overall, though.”
What's your favorite local venue in KY?
There was a general consensus on Cosmic Charlie's, a popular venue in Lexington. “They treat you the best there. They're kind and generally a lot of people come out there,” adds Fred to why the band loves their shows at CC's.
Anything you wish you had learned about being in a band before actually joining a band?
“I dove into the music scene as best as I could in a short amount of time. I'm generally comfortable with it now, but I like the idea of learning stuff on your own,” says Fred. He began getting into music only when he was 21 (now 25). “I had no idea how to promote and book shows, so I had Brandon do it and help me figure it out,” says Nick. Brandon, though, says he wish could have first learned how to do live performances a bit better. “Musically, I knew what I was getting into, but I now wish I would've known how to move around and have fun on stage. Now we've got the hang of it, but starting out was a new and terrifying so we just kinda stood there.”
Any bands you'd love to collaborate or perform with?
“Deftones and Muse would definitely be the top,” Nick states off the bat, which everyone agrees with.
“I like Dance Gavin Dance, I'd like to play with them.” Brandon
“I've always enjoy playing with Bad People [another local KY band]. I love Emarosa, too.” Nick has a bit of a history with Emarosa, fellow Lexington, KY natives. “I know all the guys from Emarosa because I sometimes drive their tour bus, and I also previously lived with Will and Lucas from Emarosa, so I know them and love their music.”
What's coming up for you guys in the future?
“We plan on making a new album soon in Daniel's roommate's studio after we finish these new songs,” says Nick. “We're always setting up new shows and getting merch, too. We also wanna definitely set a tour here before too long,” Brandon adds in.
Any final words about Galaxies?
“If you like music with odd time signatures or chill music with harder riffs, come check us out. We're all set on this band, so we'll force ourselves to be successful if we have to. This is the band we've all always wanted.” Brandon says, which everyone agrees to. “I'm having a blast. It's definitely terrific,” says Fred.
To close: give me one pet peeve each.
Nick: “When I tell my friends about a show we're playing and their first question is, 'When do you guys play?'. Show up for all the bands, not just us!”
Daniel: “Mine is people who misuse the word literally. [Fred: 'Is that literally your pet peeve?'] That is literally my pet peeve.”
Brandon: “I don't like onions. [Me: 'That's not a pet peeve! What's something you don't like people doing?'] Putting onions on my food.”
Fred: “I hate retail, especially when people try to haggle prices with me that are set in stone. This is not a flea market or an auction, go away.”
If you wanna check out Galaxies, follow these links to another dimension:
- Summer. xo
*All answers are quotes from the band taken from a recording of an in-person interview.