It’s hard for Travis Nesbitt and Morgan Gies to talk about their new band without talking about their old band.
Until earlier this year, the pair formed two-fifths of the band Social Code, which Nesbitt and bassist Logan Jacobs formed at Paul Kane High School in St. Albert in 1999. But with the announcement of Social Code’s “permanent hiatus,” as the blog entry on their website reads, they are now focused on their new project, SIIINES, with singer Nesbitt and guitarist Gies joined by DJ Gina Giorgio.
“This new project couldn’t exist without Social Code having four records; this band couldn’t be without Social Code getting to a certain level and deciding to evolve it,” Nesbitt said. “We broke it all down. There’s no pressure anymore — there’s no label, there’s no anything except Morgan and I sitting in a room deciding to make an art project.”
While the band members were on the same page when writing their last album, 2009’s Rock ’N’ Roll, they knew, by the end of it, they would determine what the future held.
“We just said, let’s just see how we feel once this album cycle is done, where it’s at, where the future is,” Nesbitt said.
“At some point, we had to make decisions about what is the priority in our lives, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Gies added. “It was up to every person to decide on their own.”
The decision to call Social Code quits, though, was an amicable one, with no hard feelings among the five of them.
“We’re all still tight; I talk to those guys all the time,” Nesbitt said. “Our lives just literally went in another direction.”
For Gies and Nesbitt, that direction was south, as they camped out in Los Angeles for a few months getting SIIINES started up, a band that Gies described as “electro-rock … sort of like Nirvana meets David Guetta or Daft Punk.”
“The bands couldn’t be more dissimilar, with the exception of Travis singing and us writing the songs,” he said. “We’re writing in a completely different genre than we’re used to writing in. We’re writing about different things. We’re using different things for a different demographic. The way we write, the mindset we’re in, the risks we’re willing to take.”
The pair are pretty much splitting their time between St. Albert and L.A., where they’ve played about three live shows to test out their songs — and some accompanying lighting effects — in a live environment.
“We literally spent two months programming lights for the gigs,” Gies said, adding that they’re also experimenting playing songs continuously, like a DJ set.
“We bought these big LED light bars and we built guitar cabinets out of plexiglass and put lights inside them, and our DJ table is all plexiglass. The entire stage is rigged up lighting-wise to the music. … When people see that show, they’re like, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this show, ever.’”
Currently, the band is getting ready to release a six-song EP, and Nesbitt talked about a Canadian tour in the coming months, but he added that the writing process just doesn’t stop with them.
“Morgan’s working on beats all the time. There’s just a steady stream of stuff coming through all the time,” Nesbitt said.
While they’re starting from scratch again, Gies said he knows when SIIINES could be deemed a success, at least in his mind.
“Success, to me, is as long as you can be self-sustaining,” he said. “Right now, we’re in our complete infancy — the embryonic stage — so once we start generating enough that we can tour on it and produce music full-time and not have to worry about anything else, not be watching our bank accounts, I think that’ll be a good measure of success.”
But, even as they embark on a new project, Nesbitt said he’ll always be proud of what Social Code accomplished.
“It taught me how to be an artist and a songwriter. It gave me opportunities to do all that stuff,” he said. “We wrote some amazing songs, we played some amazing shows, we met some amazing bands.”
— GLENN COOK, St. Albert Leader