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dimanche 23 février 2014

Album de la Semaine : Eagulls - Eagulls



Interview de Eagulls, par Jayson Green de Pitchfork

The Leeds punk band Eagulls posted an open letter on their blog last year. Currently, it is a closed letter. In the spot where it once lived, you will now find yourself instead contemplatinga picture of a hairy ass, dick bent up under it, crudely rendered eyeballs scrawled in marker across the cheeks.  
What did the note say? Essentially the same thing the picture does. It was dashed off, by hand, in a fit of gleeful adolescent derision after the band's first exposure to the South by Southwest touring circuit. Among the things it called out: “all beach bands sucking each others' dicks and rubbing the press' clit”; bands that employed “disgusting Afrobeat sounds”; bands that get attention from “music industry heads” because “you are girls or have girls in your band.” It was a fine example of what rock critic Richard Meltzer once called punk rock’s “second-person hostility, the many stations of I-dislike-you.” It was, in other words, really fucking obnoxious and stupid, and proved an effective introduction.
Effective, but not entirely accurate. “That upside-down ass sums up how much of a joke [the note] was,” Eagulls lead singer George Mitchell says. “People were saying we were trying to act hard or to be punk, which wasn’t the point at all. We wrote it in five minutes, laughing our heads off.” The quintet's sound is a mix of the glowering, gob-hocking punk exterior they soaked up from their local hardcore scene along with more inclusive melodic impulses, which poke through on their upcoming self-titled full-length, due out March 4 via Partisan
Mitchell is friendly and talkative on the phone, calling from the freezing apartment he shares with two bandmates (“I can see this conversation coming out of my mouth,” the 25-year-old tells me). Peppered with wry asides, our chat touched on his punk apprenticeship, which included lurking at all-ages shows, bonding with avuncular figures at skate parks, and parent-sanctioned band practices, and Eagulls' powerful new album. And that note. 
Pitchfork: When did you start playing music?  
George Mitchell: I was 13 when I said to my mum, “I want a guitar.” She was like, “You can’t have one, they’re too expensive,” and I was like, “I’ll get an acoustic one, they’re only 20 or 30 quid." So I saved up and got one, and when I got home, I was dead pissed off because I couldn’t make it sound angry or loud like all the music I was listening to: Sex Pistols, the Clash, Stiff Little Fingers. The only chord I could do was an E, and it was so happy sounding. Then I got an electric guitar for Christmas and it was still the same. I couldn’t work out how to make it as angry or menacing as I wanted back then.
Pitchfork: What was one of the first live punk shows you remember seeing?
GM: When I was like 15 I went to see NOFX. That was the first time I crowd surfed. There were just tall skinheads there boosting people up. I remember that night as well because I met this old bloke that used to skateboard, and he took me under his wing. He used to write music on a four-track and bring it up to the skate park and show me. He was working in a factory making airplane engines. Last time I saw him he said he quit skating because his knee hurt too much, so I don’t know what he does now. Old School Jeff, he was called.
Pitchfork: What was the hardest song for you to write from the new album? 
GM: “Opaque”. That’s the simplest song, really repetitive. It just so happened that when we wrote the music it was really poppy sounding, but I didn’t want to just release a summer-hit-like song, I wanted to do something that’s more "us." 
At the time, some guy at work ended up getting handcuffed and walked out. I was like, “What the fuck’s going on there?” It turned out he’d been getting with girls and sexually abusing them at work. Like most sexual abuse cases, he got away with it. Everyone around knows who he is and we sort of stay away from him. It’s really disgusting how he treats women. But the song was sort of about that. So it’s like a light-sounding song but, when you look into it, it’s not so light.
Pitchfork: How do these things turn into songs? Are you always taking notes? 
GM: I carry a notebook. I’ve always just sat and wrote stupid stuff constantly since I was little. Some of the songs turn out from little bits of poetry I write. Usually we’ll write something in the practice space, and from that, I’ll get the gist of the direction the song is going to go, and then I’ll go back home and lock myself away from everyone and write.
Eagulls, left to right: Henry Ruddell, George Mitchell, Tom Kelly, Mark "Goldy" Goldsworthy, Liam Matthews
Pitchfork: There are lines from the song “Amber Veins” that I wrote out because I really appreciated the language: “Possessions pawned/ Prickles of thorns/ Plucked-open pains/ False and forsworn/ Forgetting all.” 
GM: That song is actually about heroin and heroin users. Some heroin dealers moved in next door to my mum's old house. It was a normal street, and then you’d see people bringing washing machines down the road at 11 p.m. and then stumbling out. It's about watching people decay. I don’t really give two shits about them because they were disgusting people.
Pitchfork: Do you read poetry?
GM: I wouldn’t say I read proper poetry. I appreciate more outsider art than proper educated people writing poetry. It’s just more real. You’ve not been trained to do it. It’s just what you do. That’s how I see what I do. I’ve never been trained to write but I've always done it. I mean, I’m educated, but not very well.

Pitchfork: So the trick is to not get too educated.
GM: I’d say so. A lot of bands try to be bad on purpose. They try to make themselves something that they’re not.
Pitchfork: I have to ask about the blog post you guys put up and took down. 
GM: A lot of people took that so out of context. People thought it was a publicity-stunt, which I find hilarious because we had nothing to publicize at the time. It gave me a big insight into how music journalism works, to be honest. Before the letter was written, there wasn’t that much to say about us. Within minutes of putting that up, every single piece of music we put out after it links to this silly thing. If we hadn’t written that, what would people write about?

Pitchfork: Whether or not it was meant to be a publicity stunt, it certainly served that exact purpose.
GM: Yeah, that’s what bothers me so much. It spawns all these strange things that people think. If you sat in my room and looked at all my sketchbooks you would understand that I write something stupid every day. Pages upon pages of weird things. Just like other things on the blog, I just put it up. I don’t really think sometimes. We found this weird sex letter on the floor once and posted it, and no one has ever mentioned that. That’s actually a lot worse. One of my friends texted me about it and was like, “George, did you write that?”

Pitchfork: In the post you took down, you mentioned something about having girls in your band. What did you mean by that?
GM: At the time we were playing a few gigs with all these horrible bands. We just really didn’t like them and how they were acting like real rockstars. But the part that was really upsetting was where people pinpointed us as being sexist. That was depressing. I didn’t mean it to be that you have to have a girl in your band to be cool nowadays. It was more towards certain publications who’d rather write about a band because it’s got a woman in it. Like, “Oh, look at this woman playing the guitar,” that sort of condescending shit. But yeah, that note lasted five minutes in my life and so much longer in other people’s lives.

Line Up :
Mark 'Goldy' Goldsworthy
Henry Ruddel
Liam Matthews
Tom Kelly
George Mitchell
Label :
Partisan Records
Tracklist :
01 – Nerve Endings
02 – Hollow Visions
03 – Yellow Eyes
04 – Tough Luck
05 – Amber Veins
06 – Possessed
07 – Footsteps
08 – Fester Blister
09 – Opaque
10 – Soulless Youth

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