...from someone on reddit who claims have gone to school with them. as it's the internet, take it for truth or leave it, but sounds fairly legitimate and an interesting story about the first days of the hexagon sun. Warning, wall of text below:
"I wish I had it still and I know it's pointless and just cruel to post this here but back in the dark ages I had this cassette of some tracks some of my high school friends recorded. They were a 3 piece, heavily influenced by Nitzer Ebb and kids movies. Went by the name of Wheeltower. One of them went on to become christ. and the other two became Boards of Canada. You're pissed I can't share? I'm pissed I threw all my tapes away....."
(response question: Are you referring to Hooper Bay, Acid Memories or one of those old tapes? What did they sound like at the time?)
"No, dude, this was untitled. It was a tape that Chris had that he used as a reference, having moved into the city from the 'burbs of Balerno where Marcus and Mike were still living. Chris let me borrow the tape and I made a copy. We're talking 4track to shitty double cassette deck copies.
It was nothing like BoC or christ.. Well, it was if you knew them... When you hear vocals on the early BoC recordings you can tell it's them, their voices and accents, and this tape had the same voices, but I'd say it was more trying to be somewhere between Nitzer Ebb and current era Depeche Mode, musically.
But Chris was, along with me and his other friends, into a lot of punk/indie rock and even metal, so there was a bit of that attitude too.
I think the only time we really, as a group of friends, appreciated it was when Chris's roommate, Huggy, scored this shit load of diesel resin that had been cut with opium and we were all monged out of our heads... We got bored watching Head, and listening to Loop, and Chris threw the tape on and I, at least, had a little epiphany that some of my friends might actually have some talent."
(response question: If you were to discuss an interesting and unexpected fact about the two brothers, what would you say? Also, how old were you all when this was going on?)
"I don't have much to offer. They were the year below me at school for a few years. Initially, I was friends with Chris's elder brother, Grant, and some of Mike and Marcus's friends that, subsequently, I've found were part of the Hexagon Sun crew: Simon Yule, Andrew Allen... Couple of other guys. Relationships and frienships evolved, maybe devolved too, over the years, as they do.
I knew Chris best out of the three of them. When everyone else wanted to talk about Guns'n'Roses and Poison, Chris and I would talk about Pink Floyd and Philip Glass and movies and fanzines. It wasn't that we didn't like what everyone else liked, just that we were interested in wider fields, so to speak. I mean, I went and saw Metallica and Slayer and shit, and Chris and I spent nights working out Iron Maiden riffs, and trying to work out why reggae drumming was different from rock drumming and all the other shit kids did then, but we were all also interested in art movies and experimental music and, I dunno, just not mainstream stuff. And we wrote lyrics for songs that never happened and shit like that.
Mike and Marcus were cool with me but not as close as Chris was. Marcus and I probably got on better than Mike and I did but there wasn't much in it. Marcus was more enthusiastic, toward me, to discussing art and philosophy and experimentation... I think it was him that said if we played the VHS of Koyaanisqatsi, muted, while listening to Pink Floyd's The Wall, that they synced up. I reckon he was stoned. We tried it. We were stoned... I think it's coincidental.
But Mike would talk about himself, his fears and worries and hopes. He has a big, big heart. All three of them do, but Mike... He's a really caring kinda guy.
I moved into the city when I left school. Chris followed a year later, and we hung out for years. But Mike and Marcus just became old school pals that ran into each other now and then. Last time I ran into Mike, I knew he was BoC and that "Music Has..." was a big deal, but I said nothing... I wanted to know how he was rather than blow smoke up his ass. We emailed a few times after that but then lost contact.
So all I know about them evolving from Wheeltower into BoC is through Chris and, well, I ended up dating Chris's ex girlfriend after a while and that, along with some other, ahem, indiscretions we drifted apart. I have very fond memories of Chris though. When he got fire-breathing wrong and burned off his eyebrows, of bouncing around his flat, drunk and high, to "Cary Grant's Wedding", of bad drug deals and weird trippy experiences, and of a deep rooted love of loud, loud music, dancing our asses off, and getting lost in the countryside.
While we were all at school, the main focus of the other bands was glam metal and (my influences) punk/crossover... So we were appreciative of being interested in the same "field" but maybe planting different "seeds". Now there was, in a school of only a few hundred students, crossover between these cliques and, at least, knowledge of what others where doing. I know that Chris and Marcus would spend a lot of time down in the music rooms, working on the drum kits. Chris helped me out when I "roadied" for a couple of the school's glam bands. Mike and I talked about art classes quite often... He, I and Simon Yule. We all hung out with each other at parties and shit. But I can't give you any great insight about their creative process, I don't think.
Oh... I moved to Balerno when I was 14 or 15. Mike, Marcus and Chris were maybe a year or so younger than me. I left school when I was 17, but was friends with Chris til we were in our 20s.
I doubt any of that is all that interesting. The best bit of insight I can give you is that they are very gentle and caring people, or were back then. Very considerate and conscious.
It was just circumstance. But the later realization that my peers were now in someway famous opened my eyes a bit and made me more comfortable with the idea of approaching performers as people rather than "stars" or "idols". That has lead me to a different perspective and over the years opened a few doors to experiences and situations that I don't think I would've pursued otherwise. Not that I wouldn't have got involved, but just that the relationships I formed were less stilted... It was easier for me to sit down with a "personality" and see a real person, rather than the fictional character they're portrayed as through media. "We all put our pants on one leg at a time". That kind of thing.
That made me more comfortable and confident and in that respect, yes, I was lucky to have had that relationship with those guys because it lead me to other experiences I relish.
But, like I say, it was circumstance and those guys aren't the only celebrities I know from my younger days. If you grow up in a city you're likely to meet a lot of people and as time goes by some of them become known more widely.
In fact, as I was mulling all this over, I realized that along with the Wheeltower tape I threw away, I also got rid of a cassette by a band called Miraclehead, another 3 piece that I used to hang out with. The bass player from Miraclehead was James Yorkston. He had a lot more hair back then.
Edit: Seems my memory is imperfect... James is playing guitar in this video ... The bloke with the short hair and the harmonica player weren't in the band when I knew them."