Spring graduation season is big business here in the U.S., fueling the flip side of the back-to-school retail push and encouraging fond nostalgia for those carefree college days in all of those that were lucky enough to finish. Roughly a year ago, across the pond in northern England, the members of Eagulls were staffing those retail counters, probably wondering why in the hell they bothered to go to university in the first place.
Channeling those feelings of frustration and cornered rage, the 5 men from Leeds buckled down and recorded their debut self-titled LP. Careening from brooding noise-sulks to triumphant chants against ennui, the post-punk sound of Eagulls draws from a palate of influences wide enough to include seminal groups from both sides of the Atlantic. Now on their first full U.S. tour after conquering Europe in the late winter and spring, Eagulls will be landing tonight at the 7th Street Entry.
Gimme Noise:You guys just wrapped up a KEXP session last night, how'd that go for you? We've got a pretty big indie radio scene here in the Twin Cities as well.
Liam Matthews-Guitar: Oh, it was really cool, they're all really nice and it was really good to make it there. We've heard loads about it and seen really cool sessions that they've done before with Savages and Cheatahs, so it was good to finally experience that ourselves. The room itself is tiny and really hot though!
You're now a little over halfway done with your first full U.S. tour, has the experience been anything like you imagined it before you embarked?
I dunno, some places have been exactly how you'd imagined it and some have just been completely different. Like the West Coast, it's a place I've always really wanted to go to before. I always imagined it to be really pristine and clean, but...it's not, really. But the shows were really good, really good turnout, really good atmosphere. We've been on tour since the end of February, beginning of March, so it's all kind of blended together, really. I think this is the most gigs that we've done in one country in a row before, because America is about 100 times bigger than England.
Your whole debut record, right down to the cover, evokes this specific sense of place, I'm thinking gray, cold, post-industrial. Were you intentionally trying to capture your hometown, or places you've visited?
Well, the image on the front cover is actually in Sheffield, which is only a half hour down the road, really. Our friend Andy, who's taken most of the photographs for our artwork, we had finished the album and kind of told him what we wanted, and he came back with that. I think it really suits it well, that building was built to be a sort of utopia, and it was just a complete failure. It kind of sums up the feeling of the album, and England in general.
I ask because a lot of people would describe our city in similar terms. Seen anything in America so far that's made you think: "Same shit, different country?"
Eh, I dunno, because the whole culture is quite different. There's still the same things here and there, but I maybe just look at it a bit differently because I'm not from America. Maybe I'm putting it into a more positive vibe in my head, when really it's not that different.[page]
I graduated from college over here last year, and this album really seems to comment on the post-post-secondary angst. I particularly liked lines like "The future has died" and "Fossilized thoughts never really turn out" in "Hollow Visions." Some of you recently graduated school too, right?
Yeah, definitely. When we started the band, it was all kind of just finishing university, and I guess when you're in your last year you're quite positive about the future. So when it doesn't really turn out, you kind of get a bit frustrated and I think having to just go straight into the full-time jobs... when you're at university you have a kind of freedom, not being trapped in a job when all you want to do really is play music and play gigs. It was really hard, and I think it really came across in George's writing.
You've had some pretty cool bands as company on this tour, was there any groups that particularly impressed you?
Yeah, we've been doing the whole tour with Cheatahs, and they've been really good, but other bands have been great. We played with Protomartyr, we heard a couple of their songs before we came over and got really excited. We really like how they present themselves onstage and the songs are really good as well, and they're a nice band too.
You guys have been spending a lot of time in front of cameras this year, between Jools and Letterman and SXSW. Has that been weird for you guys? You don't strike me as being a band that likes being on film that much.
You know, it is kind of weird. None of us really watch TV all that much, so we're not really what we're clued into. But at the same time, you reach so many more people by using the Internet and TV, so it's a really good opportunity. We're just playing our songs that we've written in our basement, but on the TV, you know what I mean? It's kind of funny.
Any inklings of what the follow-up album might look like yet? That's tough to work on when you've been touring nonstop to support the first one.
No man, we really want to get writing, so as soon as we get back from this tour we're gonna start writing a second album. We're mostly just playing festivals over the summer, and we haven't got our jobs anymore, so hopefully we'll have plenty of time, and we're gonna see how it turns out.Eagulls. With Cheatahs. 18+, $10/$12, Monday, June 9 at 7th St. Entry. Tickets.
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