1) Formed in 1994, The Gift was initially a side project of the Dead Souls, Nuno Gonçalves and Miguel Ribeiro’s band at the time The evolution from one project to another was natural, as they felt the Dead Souls sound was limited by their instrumentation (guitar, drums and bass)and they wanted to experiment with new sounds and explore new musical paths.
In September 1994, Sónia Tavares, Nuno and John Gonçalves, Miguel Ribeiro and Ricardo Braga enrolled in the Bar Ben Music Competition in Alcobaça and took second place in the competition, to everyone's great surprise, given the band’s short time in existence.
The band performed its first show at the Alcobaça Monastery in July 1995. This was followed by the Belém Cultural Centre (Lisbon) in September 1996 and the Labirintho Bar (Porto) in November 1996.
The Gift masterminded their first record, with the intention of using it as a demo for the media and labels. From this effort, “Digital Atmosphere” was born, a six track enhanced CD featuring interviews and videos, recorded at home but not available in stores. In 1997 the band went on the road, playing at over 30 theatres (many of which sold out) and released video at the end of the tour at Belém Cultural Centre and the Alcobaça Cine-Teatro shows.
Soon after the Digital Atmosphere Tour finished, Ricardo Braga left the band and The Gift was now a four member group once again. In 1998, they established themselves as an independent band forming g their own label, La Folie with the visionary goal of releasing a next record as independents.
Sónia Tavares, The Gift - photo by João Loureiro
In November 1998, the band’s first true record “Vinyl” is released. "Vinyl" combined the potentials of new technologies (samples and synthesizer) with classical instruments (violins, cellos, trumpets, saxophones etc.). “Vinyl” , which was fully funded by The Gift themselves, was named Album of the Year by the Diário de Notícias newspaper a first for a Portuguese independent band and began courting the attention of the labels that previously ignored The Gift’s work. In spite of this, the band chose to stay independent, opting to to use distribution contracts.
From November 1998 through 1999, The band performs over 80 shows, including the biggest Summer Festivals, sells out the most important venues in Lisbon and Porto, wins several awards with the first hit single “Ok! Do You Want Something Simple?” and sells over 35,000 records.
At the end of that year The Gift performs for the first time abroad, in Paris (at La Cigalle) and a few months later participates in the prestigious music fair MIDEM 2000 (in Cannes), taking the first step towards the band’s career outside Portugal.
In early 2000, the band closes the “Vinyl” era, simultaneously releasing the photo book “A Single Diary” (by Ana Pereira) and the video “Single Hand Camera Documentary” (by Gonçalo Covacich), two artistic visions and documentary pieces on the Vinyl Tour. Once again, all the, costs incurred were covered by the band establishing The Gift once and for all as a solid DIY band.
The steps taken abroad continued to gain momentum in June 2000 with the band’s first mini-tour outside Portugal, including dates in Germany (Expo 2000 – Hanover), Macau and again, France (Paris).
At the end of the year The Gift take a break from touring and start writing songs for the next album, some of which are introduced later in 2001 at the Eurosonic Festival in the Netherlands, representing Portugal .
Howie B produces “Film”, The Gift’s second album released again through theirown label, La Folie Records. The band shows its “Film” throughout the country, playing at the Paredes de Coura Festival, the optimushype@meco Festival (sharing the stage with Howie B and Matthew Herbert), at the Interactive TV’s launch in Portugal, live for Sic Radical channel, and radio Antena 3.
“Film” goes Gold at 25,000 units and The Gift win several more awards for its videos (“Waterskin” and “Question of Love” – the album’s first two singles). At the end of 2001, the band was once more invited by Cap Magellan to promote “Film” in Paris.
In March 2002, The Gift flies to the United States to enter the South by Southwest Music & Media Conference in Austin, Texas; in June returned to Paris to perform at the Hôtel de Ville Square; in August Popkomm and Musikfest Am-Ring festivals in Germany; Spain followed in September with shows in Barcelona; in October the band was back in the USA for a short tour in a few north-American cities New York); and in November its first concert in Madrid, Spain, took place.
Of the few performances in Portugal, the Manchester Mad Remixers (which featured The Gift together with Rodrigo Leão and Pedro Oliveira) concerts are a highlight (first at the nightclub Lux, and later at the Frágil and the Clinic bars). This was a project specially created for the "24 Hour Party People" film's premiere.
The band performs in numerous places, Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Bilbao, Vigo, New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston, San Diego, London, Caracas, Dunkirk, amongst many other cities.
The Gift was invited to open for The Flaming Lips and Cousteau, and at the end of the year, in December 2003, get an invitation to perform for the recently launched Portuguese MTV, recording one of the first MTV Live shows in the history of MTV Portugal.
In 2004, The Gift celebrated its first 10 years in music and returned to album releases. By the end of the recording sessions, The Gift was faced with a double album, where two distinctive but complementary environments surfaced (one more intimate and introspective, the other more euphoric) and in which duality was the key word. The new relese, the first in three years, is entitled “AM-FM”.
“AM-FM” was released in November 2004 with great expectation from the group's fans, who rapidly sold out the presentation concerts in Alcobaça, Lisbon and Porto (a few days after the band's shows in London, New York and Los Angeles. A week after the retail release, “AM-FM” goes Silver and not long after Gold, selling more than 25, 000 copies.
In 2005 they won the MTV Europe Award for Best Portuguese Act.
The album Fácil de Entender, their first live album was released in 2006. Sells over 25,000 units.
The Gift acted with great success on the Expo 2008 Zaragoza, the day of Portugal at the exhibition.
In 2008 and 2009, The Gift's Sonia Tavares and Nuno Goncalves along with fellow musicians, Paulo Praça [Plaza]and Fernando Ribeiro record and tour with their side project Hoje’s: Amalia Hoje. Amalia Hoje garners triple platinum status selling over 85,000 units and is the Portuguese runaway Album of the Year.
2010 The Gift returns to record Their 5th Album explode and invite Ken Nelson [Coldplay, Gomez, Kings of Convenience, Badly Drawn Boy to produce the Album. The Gift spends three months in Madrid recording
2011 is the year of Explode. Explode is released in Portugal on 1 April and immediately goes to number one in the charts where it holds top ten for over 10 weeks.
Explode is scheduled to be released in North America on 27 September 2011
2) THE GIFT are a Symphonic Prog band from, London, formed after Mike Morton (vocals, 6/12 string acoustic guitar, piano and string arrangements) and Leroy James (lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals, samples, effects and programming, piano and string arrangements) came up with the idea of creating a band and making a concept album at the same time.
The concept was devised by Mike Morton and was initially meant to be just one piece.
They brought in other musicians to help with the recording, viz. Jim Thomas (bass), Rod Haverhill (keyboards) and David Storey (drums) and THE GIFT was born.
The band made some initial demos and pressed on with the idea. They sent the demos out to various places and general opinion was positive. So positive in fact, that the Cyclops label (responsible for bands such as Mostly Autumn, Pineapple Thief, Saens and Tr3nity) gave them a deal.
THE GIFT had the desire and conviction to record the album itself. The idea initially was to record one multi-themed piece (a suite called Awake and Dreaming), about “savagery and war and the final triumph of piece” (as their MySpace biography notes), but Cyclops felt it need to be longer and asked them to record a slightly extended finish. This ended up as another suite (of 30 minutes in length), called Fountains of Ash about “domestic violence, again seeking solace in the human spirit” (from their MySpace bio).
Their sound is quite varied, but takes on a definite symphonic rock air to it. They have hard rocking sections, pastoral songs, and “complex time signatures, wild key changes and ambitious concepts.”
Their progressive rock influences include Pink Floyd, Genesis (Gabriel era), Yes, David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Porcupine Tree, King Crimson, Tangerine Dream, Rush and Dream Theater. They also take influence from non-prog bands such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, The Who, Beatles, Massive Attack, U2, Sex Pistols and Prince.
Their debut album (a double CD) Awake and Dreaming, was released on October 9, 2006, by Cyclops.
3) The Gift is a funeral grunge band from Washington, DC featuring members of Turboslut, Exosus and Tradition Dies Here. Their debut LP "Mostly in Sickness" is out now on Amor y Lucha Records, www.amorylucha.org. Free tracks can be downloaded and streamed at their website, www.thegift.bandcamp.com. Read more...
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