Hard bleedin’ graft, that’s what some of these new bands need. Being on the road isn’t supposed to be easy – the struggle is what defines you, what propels you forwards.
Eagulls haven’t stopped moving since they started, a never-ending roll call of gigs, venues, concerts and loading in times. “We’re from a working background, so we put that back into the music,” admits singer George Mitchell. “I think people need to work a bit harder in the music industry.”
Imbued with a do-it-yourself attitude, Eagulls stem from that ever-productive cell of northern punk. Furiously independent, the band took its time before finding the right label. “From the start, where we’ve come from is like the do-it-yourself sort of thing. It’s just the way that we work. We don’t want to do what most bands do, which is just get some sort of record deal and then let the label handle the rest.”
But that isn’t to suggest that Eagulls operate without support – the band’s relationship with Partisan is vital. “Obviously, our record label does a few things which we would have never got by ourselves, but we still do everything that we want to do in our own way. They work with us on that and they’re really good about that. We’re really lucky.”
The band’s eponymous debut album (review) is a thrilling re-vitalisation of faith in British guitar music. A focused, intense bout of creativity, the recording was interrupted by the group’s day jobs. “We recorded in Headingly with a boy called Matt Pierce. You wouldn’t realise it was there, it’s called Cottage Road Studios,” Mitchell explains. “I mean, the album was finished a year ago but then whilst we were doing it we were working full-time jobs. It was pretty strenuous. We funded it all ourselves, it was a strenuous time. I think you can sort of hear that in the record as well, which is good.”
Yet this hard work seems to be paying off. ‘Eagulls’ is reaching a passionate audience, which now stretches beyond British shores and into the United States. Invited to perform on the Late Show With David Letterman, the band found themselves at the heart of the American mainstream. “It was very surreal,” the singer admits. “It was very, very surreal. You’re there in the green room watching the TV and then you suddenly have to go out onstage and it’s like you’re actually in the TV. It honestly feels that way. There’s that many cameras and lights – it’s really weird.”
For now, though, the band’s aims are quite simple. “We want to go to any sort of place and play our type of music and let anyone hear it,” Mitchell asserts. “It’s quite a universal sort of sound, I think, so we’re able to let anyone hear it and play wherever we want.”
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What: Sweat-drenched punk rock with an emotional flair
Three Songs: 'Nerve Endings' (video above), 'Yellow Eyes', 'Possessed'
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Words: Robin Murray