David Serra was in Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences from June 2007 until August 2010 and played a massive part in keeping the band going for those three years, appearing on We Are Not Other People, Apologies to the Enlightenment, the recording sessions for new album How We Lost the War and numerous singles.
As he moves on for pastures new, Paul lists his five favourite of Serra’s contributions to the band’s back catalogue.
5. I’ll Take Good Care of You (Listen/Download here)
For me this is probably the most under-rated Awkward Silences song, probably ‘cos we released it as a free download and never put it on an album (a version may turn up on How We Lost the War…). This is in no small part down to way Serra’s guitar seems to groan and howl longingly in a way that perfectly complements the vocal.
4. The Day the Music Stopped (Listen on Myspace)
In which DS manages to completely go against ‘type’ and play a really clean Shadows-y guitar part. It sounds amazing.
3. Stop Making a Scene (stream from Spotify)
To be honest with this one it’s not so much the guitars (though they sound great) as the context in which they were played. DS had never ever played the song prior to the recording – I’d told him the rhythm and signalled him through the chord changes and it picked it all up from there. I’m pretty sure there’s absolutely no way anybody’d know that (until they read this obviously) but the DIY music enthusiastic in me does love the fact that we have a song on an album that hadn’t even been rehearsed prior to recording!
2. I Believe in Karma
Probably the song I most associated with DS’s playing – the guitars on the intro are absolutely perfect and Serra maintains the standard throughout. Serra plays the bass on this one too, fact fans.
1. The Beasts in the Upstairs Bedroom (listen here)
This was one of the most complex and enjoyable recordings the Silence have ever done, featuring at least eight separate keyboard and synth tracks on the intro alone, a track recorded entirely of the band making random noises in a record studio and howls and screams achieved by me and Serra play-fighting (in case anyone’s listened to it and wondered it’s me displaying absolutely no pain threshold whatsoever…). But the absolute highlight of the recording (and any of the band’s recording sessions ever for that matter) though was Serra and Kate simultaneously duelling guitar/violin solos. Both played absolutely astonishing parts and the intensity of that recording was one of the most amazing musical things I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing.