Dave Giles has been a full-time musician since July 2007 after spending four years studying at The Guitar Institute in London.
Dave was originally the lead guitarist in a band called The Rileys, formed with his best friend from school. For three years, they gigged around London - learning about self-promotion and building an audience. They set up their own record label Cheeky Chimp Records LTD and all their hard work peaked with a sold out gig at The Shepherd's Bush Empire in October 2009.
At the start of 2010 The Rileys decided to go their separate ways. Dave, frustrated with dealing with band politics, decided to go solo. After a summer of embracing the London open mic circuit, he fully launched this new phase of his career in October, with a sold out gig at the Camden Barfly celebrating the release of his debut EP 'The First Seven'.
In January 2011, Dave supported Ivyrise on his first UK tour, and followed that by supporting Room 94 in July, which coincided with him releasing his second EP ‘Tales of a Social Misfit’. In October he embarked on his first headline tour with a full backing band, ‘Touring For Tea’, that drew a crowd of 1300 people across the nine dates, which ended with a sold out gig at The Borderline in London. Not wanting it to be 'just another tour', Dave decided that he would offer everyone who turned up a cup of tea which he would duly make to specification during the opening acts.
Following a successful 2011, Dave started 2012 with another headline tour, ‘The Tall Man Shortbread Tour’ - this time opting just to give out biscuits rather than make all the tea! This six date tour was also with a band and played to 800 people. With no London date, the stand out night was a sold out gig at Satan's Hollow in Manchester.
In April of 2012, Dave announced that he wanted to record and release his debut album. Following a funding campaign which raised £10,000, Dave managed to talk Nigel Pulsford (former guitarist of Bush) into producing the album and they put a band together to record at Riverside Studios in Bath with engineer Seb Pecchia. ‘Love, LIfe, Loss and Tea’ was released on 28 October and was launched with four sold out gigs in four nights in London at the Barfly, Upstairs at the Garage, The O2 Academy 2 Islington and The Borderline. The year ended with a co-headline tour with Danny Gruff and The Candle Thieves. ‘The We're Not That Moody Tour’ that comprised of eight dates all in seated venues around the UK, with six of them selling out.
2013 and 2014 saw Dave out on the road promoting ‘Love, Life, Loss and Tea’ with a series of co-headline tours. Dave started touring with Upload Live, a company that brought together musicians who had been successful on YouTube and took them on the road. Dave was asked to get involved due to the music video for "Bangarang" which came out in 2012. After 4 big tours of the UK and Ireland, and a five date tour of Australia Dave broke away from Upload Live in the second half of 2014.
In October 2014 he embarked on his first headline tour since February 2012, back on the road with a band. A nine date UK tour that once again ended up with a sold out show at The Borderline in London.
At this point Dave decided it was time for a break from self-promoting. He had gone straight from three years of doing it with The Rileys to other four years of doing it for himself and he was clearly burnt out and feeling rather uninspired. He felt the need to take the time to figure out who and want he wanted to be musically without the distractions of having to constantly be selling himself. Although he knew that taking a long break could mean losing some of his audience, he knew that if he wanted to carry on in the long term, he needed to recharge.
As a result 2015 was a quiet year. He did a few select gigs, produced some EPs for friends and started a side-project-band with the singer from The Rileys called ‘For Apollo’. At the start of 2016 he started playing at a monthly residency at The Monarch in Camden called Gypsy Sally's. Each night was dedicated to a different icon of Americana music. This is where he got to share the stage with some ridiculously talented songwriters including Beans on Toast, Chris TT and Jade Bird to name a few.
By September 2016 Dave was completely reinvigorated. He went on tour with Joe McCorriston with an extra spring in his step - something he hadn’t felt since 2012. He then did his first ‘pay what you want tour’ with Danny Gruff and suddenly it all started making sense for him again and bigger plans started to formulated in his head for the next few years.
February 2017 started with a tour supporting Bry in the UK, followed by some house shows, followed by a UK tour with Lewis Fieldhouse in March. He also released his first EP in 15 months called ‘The Don't Judge This EP By It's Cover EP’ which hinted at a more mature style of music.
At the start of April he announced that he was going to make his second full length album in Nashville in January 2018 and that he needed £20,000 to do so. At the same time he was on his first European tour, doing gigs in Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Netherlands and France with Danny Gruff. This was followed by a UK tour in July supporting Danny Gruff, a house show tour in August, a tour of Germany in September, releasing another EP ‘The Clothes Are Back On EP’ and an 12 date UK headline tour in October which got his total up to £18,000. By December he'd hit his target and by the time he flew to Nashville he was at £23,000. The audience he was worried about losing by taking a break had stayed with him.
He hired a producer, Dean Dichoso, and the album was recorded live to tape at Welcome To 1979 studios. A group of extremely high quality musicians were put together including Kevin Haaland on guitar, Adam Kury on bass, Jared Sandhy on drums, Deena Bistodeau on fiddle and Kevin McKendree on hammond organ. Ten tracks were recorded for the album which was released on 2nd November 2018. The album, entitled Tennessee and 48th shows the huge step that Dave has gone through since he started out in 2010. While in Nashville, he also recorded a song direct to vinyl in the Third Man Records Store record booth which was released on April 6th 2018. They also found time to record two live tracks at Welcome to 1979 that was released on June 29th 2018.
The album was released with a four date tour in the UK in which Kevin Haaland, Adam Kury, Dean Dichoso and Deena Bistodeau all flew over from the US to perform. To complete the band they convinced their friend and rock n roll hall of famer Dave Krusen (Pearl Jam) to come and play drums. This is perhaps the biggest testament to what was achieved in Nashville. These were all top professionals touring with big established acts who went from not knowing Dave to volunteering to fly over to play four small shows in the UK. All they asked for in return was their expenses to be covered.
2019 was spent touring around the UK and Europe to promote 'Tennessee and 48th and to try and build on top of what he had already achieved.
2020 was supposed to be a year of touring as Dave announced his next project to record an album at Abbey Road Studio 2, but world events delayed those touring plans, but the project was still announced in April and by the end of the year £20,000 had been raised from live streams, donations and online merchandise sales.
With the uncertainty of when touring life will resume hanging over us, 2021 will be an odd one. Regular live streams on twitch are currently normal, but plans are being made to get that Abbey Road album recorded at the start of 2022. Although touring is off the cards, the extra time at home to plan and write the material may be a small blessing in disguise.
There is still that one question that Dave struggles to answer ‘what do you sound like?’ Lyrically, he's always tried to be a story teller, and these stories are often very personal with his heart well and truly on his sleeve. Musically, Dave has flirted with a number of different genres, but it's clear that he has now established himself as an Americana act with an English accent.
His live shows are always full of charm. He can correctly adapt his performance style into whatever gig scenario he ends up in, and he specialises in breaking down the barriers between performer and audience, which has resulted in some highly memorable moments.
Why is a small band of loyal followers willing to give so much to this guy? Have a listen, go to a show, engage with him online. Get involved and see for yourself.
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