Hailing from Leeds, England, Eagulls have been making quite the stir as of late. Between the critical/fan reaction to their debut album and their antics penning open letters to the bands at SXSW about “Disney character-looking "frontmen” there’s been a lot to talk about. Before their debut performance in Washington, DC, the guys sat down with us to chat about the new album, the tour so far, future plans for the Eagull’s dynasty, and, of course, meeting Bill Murray.
CG: You guys have been active as a band since 2010 and are now releasing your first album. What changed for the band from playing shows in Leeds to finally releasing a debut album?
Goldy Goldsworthy: We had played our own material for about two years and one day realized, “Shit, we should really have an album out by now”. We decided to get down to it and write and record the album. We never thought we’d get to the point of touring the album internationally.
CG: So what changed for you guys to finally sit down and record the album?
George Mitchell: We always wanted to record the album. It was just the matter of finding time to do it. We were all working and we had a set of material that we would play live and tour constantly back home. We didn’t really have any releases because we’d go to work and then play gigs. We did actually just get to the point where we said out-loud “Lets get to writing songs for the album”. Every night, after work, we’d go to write these songs. The music did change over time from what we were originally playing.
CG: So your sound changed quite a bit from what you originally were like playing gigs?
GM: It was a lot more brighter sounding (the original sound). Cheerful isn’t the right word for it.
GG: Besides our first single, we didn’t have anything released. We couldn’t keep doing the same stuff. We couldn’t keep doing these happy songs.
CG: So with the darker shift in tone for the band, do you feel the lyrics changed as well?
GM: I feel like my lyrics have always had a dark tone to them.
Liam Matthews: If you listen closely to the lyrics, they are actually quite dark. Even with the brighter material, the lyrics were dark but still complimented the brightness.
GM: I’m not pessimistic in my lyrics but the tone got darker after the span of a couple years of operation.
CG: So are you all still at your jobs or have you quit them now with an album out and being able to tour internationally?
GM: We’ve quit them, yeah. We all had shit jobs that we wouldn’t miss.
LM: We have friends in another band that could potentially quit their jobs as well. It would just be hard to keep the job and be able to commit to this album and touring behind it.
CG: Speaking of the new album and the self-sustaining vibe that Eagulls emits, what made you, as a band, want to jump to a label for support?
GM: We don’t got any money (laughs). We don’t have parents that can support us like some artists do.
LM: If you can find a label that feels as passionately about music as you do. It’s a massive help to the band.
GM: The label (Partisan Records) is like family now to us. They look after us and we are allowed to do as we wish. We are given opportunities do things like touring and they understand if we don’t or can’t do one thing or another. I don’t have a problem with bands signing to labels. We don’t get the “this is your image now. You have to operate like this” from the label. We do everything ourselves and they are there to help us achieve that so it’s a good thing.
GG: Each band’s experience with a label is going to be different.
CG: So the label was able to help you in recording the album?
GG: We actually paid for the album ourselves before we even got signed to Partisan. We didn’t even think that we’d get a label to pick us up. We paid for everything. Just as we finished the album, we went to SXSW for the first time and met Tim from Partisan and got the ball rolling.
LM: I doubt the album would have even left England if we didn’t have a label pick it up.
GG: There would have been ten people total in America that would have heard it.
CG: When writing, do you guys write in the same room or come together with bits of a song and write from there?
GG: A bit of everything really. It just might start that one person has a melody and we’ll go from there. Its more so that we’ll just go from bits and pieces and flesh them else from there.
CG: Last year’s SXSW was your first time, as a band, in the US. What was that like in comparison to this years?
GG: We played a decent amount of shows last year but really bumped it up more this year. I think we played 11 or 12 shows in the span of three days?
CG: You also played your debut television appearance on David Letterman. Did you guys get to meet Bill Murray?
GM: Tom (Kelly) got to meet him and took a picture with him.
[Tom proceeds to show Bill Murray’s name written in pen on his left bicep].
Tom Kelly: He kept kissing me and my pen tattoo.
CG: In addition to controversial instances, the police right apparently raided you guys?
GM: We were away at work while the music video was being filmed with pig’s brains rotting away in our basement when the gas men came around. We had a dispute with the gas men in that they didn’t think we had paid our bill so they came to turn it off. They went into our basement to turn the gas off and must have seen the pig brains being filmed and must have informed the police. We didn’t see anything and the only reason we found out was because our neighbor informed us. No one could have known that we were filming that so we figured that that had to be the reason why the cops were called on us.
LM: The gasman must have thought it was a baby’s brain since it was about the size of that in the first place. On the video you can see feet shuffling around so technically, the gasman is in our music video.
CG: Lastly, what future plans do you guys have after the US tour finishes up?
GM: After the tour finishes up, then comes the festival season. We’ll be at big day out as well as European festivals. We most likely will be back in the fall for another US tour. We want to write another album but just have to find the right time to sit down and do it.
Eagulls is on tour now in the US. The debut album is out on Partisan Records.