Meet GILLBANKS, the guitarist, singer, songwriter turning heads. Some may try to argue that rock is on its last legs, but GILLBANKS is proof that it is just as strong as ever. The UK artist released his debut EP, Lend Me Your Skin, at the end of 2015, but more recently he released a new single, 'Childhood', via the Communion Records Singles Club.

I caught up with GILLBANKS via email to see how music has influenced him over the years. We also discussed the idea of "guitar music" and how it fits in with modern popular music. And, while you engage with this earnest exchange of ideas, take a listen to his latest single 'Childhood' and maybe grab that guitar that's been collecting dust in the corner of your room.

What are some of your earliest memories of music? What was being played around the house when you were growing up?

I used to spend a lot of time at my grandparent's house when I was growing up. My Grandad in particular was really into music, especially early Elvis and '50s rock & roll in general. I also spent a lot of time in the car with my Mum. Nirvana, David Bowie, The Beatles and Rage Against The Machine were among the many great artists that graced my ears from an early age.

When did you start branching out and listening to the music you wanted to? What kind of music initially drew you in?

I purchased my first album when I was about 8 or so. It was Americana by The Offspring (don't laugh). What really got me excited by music at that age was noisy, distorted guitars. I loved it and it's what made me want to learn to play guitar.

However, when I first heard OK Computer it changed the way I thought about music. It drew me in on all levels and was a really inspirational experience for me.

London is well known for its contributions to music. How do you feel this city in particular shaped you into the musician you are today?

To be honest I haven't lived in London for that long at all. I moved here last July and didn't start playing live as a band until that August. I came here to play music and wanted to be in a fast paced environment surrounded by creative people. However, the reality of a fast paced environment surrounded by creative people, is high living costs which equals working long hours to ensure that you support yourself whilst trying to pursue something you really want to do. I'm exhausted but weirdly this way of life influences my work greatly and inspires me to create. I just wish I had more time to create...

Were there any "Hometown Heroes" you looked up to growing up that helped influence your sound?

Throughout my early to late teens I grew up in North Devon and went to a lot of local shows in a town called Barnstaple. There were two bands that really stood out for me within that little local scene. Those bands were called Swim Team and Load Click Shoot. Both bands struck me in a different way. Swim Team had a really good rhythm section and I remember finding their songs really dreamy. Load Click Shoot had wicked guitar sounds. They were really fun live and were one of the first bands I saw utilizing guitar pedals to good effect. Members of Load Click Shoot went on to start Spectres and Howling Owl Records.

When you first started playing and writing music, what style was it? How has it evolved in the sound you have developed today?

The first band I was in was a covers band with a group of mates from school. I mainly played drums at the time but someone else already had that covered, so naturally I decided to give bass a go. Prior to this I didn't know how to play bass but I'm very much glad I learnt. I continued to play music, mainly as a bassist in several different bands, varying in genres, until a couple of years ago when I decided to write as a loner.

Playing in these bands really gave me an understanding of dynamics and how instruments work together. Without this knowledge and experience I doubt I'd be able to write anything half decent.

There have been many think-pieces about "guitar music" declining or its relevance taking a back seat to other styles and genres of music. What would you say to defend the relevance of the guitar-driven compositions you make?

I've never really paid much attention to these articles because I don't really believe what they're saying. I guess "guitar music" has declined in the mainstream world but I don't really pay attention to that either. The beauty of living in this day and age is that there is something for everyone and I strongly believe there will always be a lot of people who love guitar music just as much as hip-hop and house music. It's deep-rooted in British pop culture.

At the moment, the music I write is guitar driven but I have every intention to explore many different aspects of music. I just want to write the best music I can and I don't care what I use as long as I feel it sounds good. With the songs I have recorded and released so far I have worked within my limitations. I own an electric guitar, acoustic guitar and bass so therefore have written within a guitar band format. I do however attempt to create something different within the "guitar music" format by not restricting myself to one genre. The beauty of guitar music is that it can cover so many different styles of music and this is something I've always been heavily interested in and will be something I continue to explore for years to come.

Personally, I think it couldn't be a better time for guitar. Who are some modern guitarists or bands utilizing guitars that you think the world should know about?

At the moment I'm really into Parquet Courts in particular their most recent album, Human Performance. I love how raw they are and their lyrics are brilliant.

Cate Le Bon is wicked. Her guitar playing is wonky, rough around the edges, but weirdly precise at the same time; really cool sound.

I really like Palehound's new album Dry Food. The opening song Molly has these really gritty guitar parts that I think are really inviting.

Lastly, Gold Celeste's album, The Glow is beautifully produced and has this lovely shimmer throughout. The bass playing is also on point and super smooth.

When it comes to writing your own music, do you tend to start with lyrics or composition first? How do you think this affects your distinct style?

I tend to normally start by writing a guitar hook and developing from there. Lyrics always seem to come last but throughout the writing process I always have an idea of where I want it to head vocally. By creating the composition first it allows me to avoid restricting the structure of the song. My aim is nearly always to take the listener on a journey.

Are there any bands or musicians you think people would be shocked you listen to?

I don't think so. I love many different genres of music. For example I love Radiohead, Pixies, Nirvana, Notorious B.I.G, Lou Reed, Flying Lotus, Gorillaz, The Beach Boys, and Cinematic Orchestra all the same. I guess my ethos is generally if I like it then I like it.

Have you ever utilized other mediums of art (poetry, painting, film, etc.) as influence for your own music?

Unfortunately, I haven't. However I'd very much like to create music for a film one day. Not necessarily a classic film score, but I've always found music for film really fascinating. I love how sound can really influence a viewer's experience of a film.

Lastly, name a musician you think would be fun to collaborate with on a project.

I'd love to go back in time and collaborate with John Lennon in the late '60s. In my opinion, John Lennon is probably the best songwriter to have ever existed within popular Music. Obviously it's impossible for me to do this but I'd imagine being in the '60s and hanging out with John Lennon would have been a lot of fun.