Guards of May stand out from crowd

The biggest challenge for any young band is finding a way to distinguish themselves from the scores of others that sound just like them - something Guards of May guitarist Damien Salomon is very aware of.

He says one of the hardest things the Brisbane boys have to do during their songwriting and jam sessions is to alter or throw out a song that sounds too much like another alt-rock band, even if they love it.

"We have moments of guys like Dead Letter Circus and Karnivool probably heavily influencing us, but when you're swimming in the same audiences as those guys you're always trying to bring something different to the table," he explains.

"There's some bands that if I listen to them too much, everything I write sounds like them and I think that's the case for all musicians.

"There's definitely some sounds and some tricks you've got to stay away from or else you'll just end up sounding like other bands."

He thinks this will get harder for musicians as time goes on, as more artists flood the different musical genres and struggle to distinguish themselves from the crowd. He believes Guards of May's point of difference is their inclusion of progressive rock sounds in an easy-to-digest, pop-like tune.

"We've got some elements of prog rock in our band but we try to contain that in a pop song format, so having some of those stranger elements with different time signatures but trying to keep it accessible to people.

"There's not a lot of bells and whistles; at the end of the day it's just five guys trying to put on a good show."

Salomon has only been in the band for a year, as has the other guitarist, and does not feature on their self-titled debut EP, which was recorded when Guards of May had only three permanent members and used a session guitarist.

This makes their live shows a very different experience to listening to the studio tracks.

"Playing some of it live has been quite tricky, but it's a good challenge," Salomon says.

"We've got new material as well and that stuff's a lot more cohesive to play as a unit. The live shows are a lot more energetic than the record, and definitely a lot louder as well."

Although Salomon doesn't want Guards of May to be confused with other bands in the alternative and rock arenas, he is keen to pay tribute and learn from them.

After playing alongside heavyweights Grinspoon and Spiderbait this year, Salomon says the boys learnt a lot from watching them amp up a crowd.

"I'm a bit of a Grinspoon fanatic from my younger years, so I was pretty chuffed about that," he says.

"The best thing about playing with those bands is just watching pro musicians get up and do it; even just the way they carry themselves off stage is good to watch.

"Just being around professional bands, the vibe wears off on you a little bit."

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