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Doctor Who prescribes Red Pills?
The Red Pills
The Red Pills - you can't miss them wearing that much red!

Local rock outfit The Red Pills have been busying upping their media profile.

A recent appearance at a Doctor Who fans convention led to an offer to direct a video for free and hopefully include a former Doctor.

Sylvester McCoy, who played Doctor Who in the 1980s bought a copy of the band's EP at the convention.

They are also due to appear in the online music biz drama, Svengali alongside Creation Records' Alan McGee.

BBC Leeds talked to The Red Pills about their beginnings and how they managed to hobnob with indie royalty and cult actors.

Bass player Freddie Ray and drummer James Goodall had been playing together for a few years when they teamed up with guitarist Nick Shakhlevich in July 2008. A couple of months later, vocalist Tom completed the line-up.

"In the first six months we must have done three gigs tops! It was all about writing material, rehearsing and recording our debut EP, Awakening."

"We took a lot of time over the recording but we also struggled to find decent, cheap rehearsal studios which meant fewer gigs as we wanted to sound right live. Since then, we started to play more and more."

"There are a lot of bands in Leeds and it can be difficult to get noticed so I suppose our colourful approach to our stagewear (lots of red and black) means people will remember us, but it also promotes a sense of togetherness in the band."

The Red Pills live on stage
Tom and the boys tear it up live on stage

"But I guess we stand out anyway, as we see ourselves as a rock band caught between two large camps on the Leeds scene - indie and metal."

"We all have different influences but somehow it all seems to come together without argument. Nick and James like their 1960s & 70s stuff, Freddie likes a bit of everything and I bring a more modern influence," says singer Tom.

"The disparate influences, we think, make for better music and is less restrictive than if we all had the same records. We also try and get a balance between the musical and lyrical side."

Indeed the band are planning to record an album in late 2010, which will be a bit of a concept album, but before that, their second EP Missiles, is scheduled for release in February 2010 - which will coincide with what the band terms a "World Tour of Yorkshire."

Not content with being a hive of recording activity, the band have landed themselves an appearance in Svengali, the cult online drama about the music business that stars ex-Creation Records boss and indie scene legend, Alan McGee and features regular guest spots from scenemakers like Carl Barat.

"Our manager Mickey set that up. He's a dynamo, he just talks himself into all sorts of situations and before you know it, he's blagged us an appearance on the show (broadcast on YouTube), although we're not performing - hopefully we can persuade them to let us play a song or two. Otherwise, I guess we'll have to hog the screen for as much airtime as we can muster."

Not content with hobnobbing with legends, the band have now moved into the realms of the timelords. After playing a gig in November 2009 at a Doctor Who fans convention in Manchester, for which they'd specially recorded a limited edition CD, "Bigger on The Inside", they were approached by a filmmaker who offered to film a video free of charge, for one of the Doctor Who themed tracks.

"In fact, Sylvester McCoy - who played Doctor Who in the 1980s, bought a copy. We offered him a free copy but he insisted on paying for it - what a nice man! We're hoping that Sylvester will be able to appear in the video, alongside his old sidekick, Sophie Aldred."

Despite the showbiz connections, the band insist they're not focussed on fame:

"We'd love to make a living out of the band, but the idea of fame and all that comes with it is a bit scary, so we're happy to be a hard working band who are serious about our music and not worried about PR and being spotted at all the right places."

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