Soaring high: An interview with Eagulls

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Ahead of their eagerly anticipated first bow in Exeter this autumn, James Beeson chats to Henry Ruddell of Leeds based post-punk band Eagulls.

Originally formed in 2010, Eagulls sure have taken their sweet time to release a debut album. A combination of working full time, finding a record label and playing gigs meant that the band’s self-titled album was only unleashed in March of this year. With the album now out, and a huge summer of touring and festivals under their belts, I caught up with drummer Henry Ruddell prior to the band’s first outing in Exeter this October…

For the benefit of our less informed readers, could you just tell us a little about the band? (Style, influences, history etc.)

That’s an incredibly broad question… We’ve been a band for around four years. We come from all across the country but Leeds is sort of our home now. We’re what I suppose you’d call a post punk band, although that’s now how we identify ourselves; it’s more something we get branded with. I can’t really say anymore other than to come see us play, or look us up on the internet and find out for yourself.

Outside of the band what are your main interests?

The band was really started out of our love for music. We go to a lot of gigs, but we don’t really have any major hobbies aside from perhaps illustration and our love of music.

What are your expectations for the gig at Exeter’s Cavern?

There’s loads of dates on the tour in places that we’ve never visited before, and we’re really excited. It’s always good to go places you’ve never been and to perform to people who’ve never seen you before. We’ve got a few friends in the area who’ve all said they’re going to come along, and have said good things about the venue, so it should be a good one.

You guys appeared on the Letterman Show in January and also on Jools Holland in April. Are shows like those important in raising the profile of young exciting and upcoming bands?

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, something like that was never a goal for us; it never even crossed our minds that we’d be able to play on National television. But if you get asked to do something like that, you just don’t say no. There’s no bigger platform to get your band out there really. We used to laugh when people said to us, ‘maybe you’ll get to do that one day,’ but when you get the email; it’s kind of a no-brainer really.

…. Perhaps even important in the absence of decent exposure from mainstream radio?

The great thing about those TV shows is that they’re not bias towards any genre. We played on the same show as Engelbert Humperdinck! You’d never get that anywhere else really. It’s really great that shows like that aren’t crippled by certain producers drip feeding viewers whoever’s in the top ten; they’ll let any band go on there and just do their own thing.

You also recently performed a cover of the Stone Roses ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ on for AV Undercover. Tell us a little about that and why you chose that song in particular.

We were on our tour in America at the time when they got in touch. It’s a really good concept, The Undercover Club. They give you a list of songs and you chose from the list. Straight away when we saw The Stone Roses we knew we wanted to do it. They’re a very important British band; we grew up listening to them, although I wouldn’t say they’ve had a drastic influence on the stuff we’ve written. A lot of people thought we’d just speed it up and blurt it out, but we wanted to keep it as close as possible to the original.

On that’s particular number Mark (Goldsworthy) is seen playing guitar using a portable fan… What’s that all about?

He’s always doing stuff like that. He’s really into that side of his guitar music and he was messing around and couldn’t quite make the sound he wanted. There’s a lot of noise behind our music, its not just about playing chords, and when we’re in the studio we really like to utilise things like that and try to make landscapes out of the sound we’re producing. Particularly on the new album, I think everyone is going to be seeing a lot of that little blue fan!

Back in 2013 you gained notoriety as a band for an open letter you published to the music industry in which you called out “all beach bands sucking each others’ dicks and rubbing the press’ clit.” What exactly did you mean by that, and is it something, which in hindsight you regret?

(He laughs) I don’t regret it! A lot of people think we sat down together as a band thinking, “We’re so mad, we need to write this big ‘Fuck you’ to the music industry.” It wasn’t like that at all. It wasn’t planned and it wasn’t a publicity stunt; it was just something that George (Mitchell, vocals) had to do. It was meant more as a parody of the music industry in itself. This was at a time when we were receiving a lot of emails from people telling us we had to go certain places and do certain things if we wanted to be successful, which we thought was really stupid. He was basically completely taking the piss.

Do you think it helped get you noticed more as a band (in a roundabout way)?

I don’t think anyone in the band can really deny that it helped. Everyone wanted to interview us after that! Whether it was for the right reasons I guess we’ll never know. We know for certain we don’t want it to surpass anything that we’re doing together as a band… I dunno, maybe we should do another one!

With a huge UK tour lined up, dates in New Zealand, Australia and America next year, and a new album to write and record, one thing’s for certain; Eagulls will be hard pressed to find the time to write any more angry open letters to the music industry anytime soon.

Eagulls play Exeter Cavern on October 16, For full listings and tickets, goto: http://www.wegottickets.com/exetercavern/

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