Gomez are an English indie rock band from Southport, comprising Ian Ball (vocals, guitar), Paul "Blackie" Blackburn (bass), Tom Gray (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Ben Ottewell (vocals, guitars) and Olly Peacock (drums, synths, computers). The band is distinguished in having three singers and four songwriters, employing traditional and electronic instruments. Their sound is versatile and evades typical music genres falling into blues, indie, alternative, rock, folk, psychedelic and experimental. Their first album, Bring It On, won the Mercury Music Prize in 1998, giving them much media attention in the UK and throughout the world. Later awards came from the NME and Q Magazine along with a Brit Awards nomination. Gomez began their career on Hut records (Virgin) signing in 1997. Just before their third album release In Our Gun Hut records was forced to downsize and on the following record, Split the Difference, Hut records was disbanded by Virgin/EMI Records. The band were so dismayed by the music industry and shocked by huge setbacks they kept experiencing, that they decided to go it alone and asked Virgin Records to let them go in 2004. The following year American label ATO signed the group, releasing their first live album Out West and their most successful record stateside How We Operate and A New Tide. Currently the band members are split between the UK and US with Ian Ball residing in Los Angeles, Olly Peacock in Brooklyn, New York, and Paul Blackburn, Tom Gray and Ben Ottewell in Brighton, England. Ball has released two solo records entitled Who Goes There (2007) and Unfold Yourself (2013). Ball and Peacock worked on the side project Operation Aloha. The experimental project designed by photographer Christopher Wray-McCann brought together 14 of his friends, living in tree houses making songs with whatever they could bring to the island of Maui, Hawaii. Ball, Ottewell, Peacock and Pattison (engineer) created the Final Keep Me Up in 2009. They decided to record an album using only iPhones in the back lounge of the tour bus from Calais to Köln 2 May 2009. The album exists only in streaming form. Ben Ottewell has released two solo records entitled Shapes & Shadows (2011) and Rattlebag (2014).