Another week, and once again you find a Weegie raving about an Edinburgh band, this time it’s Edinburgh lo-fi outfit Eagleowl. For me personally I think it’s amazing what a difference music blogs have made in bringing Scottish music together.
If you had asked me a few years back about bands from Edinburgh I would probably have scoffed at you, and mumbled something about Idlewild being the only decent band to have come from the East. Now I can’t stop going on about them, we had Meursault a few weeks back and I already have two more ‘Embra bands in the Scots Way-Hay pipe line.
I first came across this week’s victims at the Fence Homegame a couple of years back. At the time, I remember my friends weren’t really into it, but something really struck a chord with me. I am pretty sure I got dragged away to go and do something more important, like eat a bag of chips or the like, but I made sure that I did some searching when I got home. Back then I was only really starting to become aware of the emergence of the buzz in Edinburgh based around the Song By Toad website.
I bought myself a copy of the bands ‘For The Thoughts You Never Had’ EP and that was it, I was sold by their delicately crafted and very intimate songs. Since that point they have continued to release cracking little EPs and singles and I have managed to catch them live on a number of occasions now. And I can confirm that their live experience is superior to that bag of chips…..
Would you care to introduce yourself?
I’m Bart. I play guitar. Also in the band are Clarissa, who plays double bass; Malcolm, who plays ukulele and violin, but not at the same time, and Rob, who plays harmonium and things. We all sing. Rob also performs as Rob St John.
How would you describe the music you make?
It’s been a while now, and I still don’t have an easy answer for this. I normally just say ‘quiet’. It’s kind of downbeat, stripped back, slow paced, nearly folk music. Maybe Broken Records played at the wrong speed.
How did you start out making music?
I’m not really sure. I wrote songs and played at an open mic night a lot at university. Then when I moved to Edinburgh I met Malcolm knew he played violin and we had similar tastes, so it just grew from there.
What process goes into the way you write songs?
It’s normally I would write the bare bones of the structure, then bring that to the band and we would flesh it out together. Malcolm’s written some songs as well, which were developed in much the same way. We’ve been doing it a while, but I think we’re still refining the process, sussing out what works and what doesn’t. It’s nice to play in a band which doesn’t have the usual set roles, as you can play around with instrumentation and dynamics. I like the fact that there’s not a single singer or front man. I always find bands more interesting when there’s more than one voice at work.
Who are your big musical influences?
Low had a huge impact on me. Dirty Three. Neil Young. Alasdair Roberts. I’m never really sure what constitutes an influence, as there are people I love that aren’t really apparent in the music, and then there’s people I think have influenced us in some way that I wouldn’t necessarily say I was a huge fan of.
Having established quite a large number of followers who come to your Scottish gig, are you looking to try and gain a bit more exposure out with your perceived comfort zone?
We’re trying to focus more on playing outside of Edinburgh this year. We’ve played there a lot and, though I still think there’s an untapped audience there, we’re trying to branch out a little more. We’re playing the Meursault album launch in London this week, and we’ve plans to go back to Newcastle and maybe take in a few other English cities. We’re also playing Aberdeen in September for the first time in a couple of years, and also the End of the Road festival, which I’m really looking forward to.
I think it’s harder for us than most just because of the set-up. If most bands are faced with an unruly or noisy crowd, they can just drown it out with noise. But we don’t really have that option. It’s hard to battle a noisy crowd with a ukulele. So we’re generally quite careful with what shows we play and don’t play. But we’ve been very lucky in the past. I think it’s all about getting in touch with the right promoters, and making sure they have an understanding of what we’re about.
Lastly, what can we expect to see/hear from you in 2010?
We’re gong to be mostly working on new material, so I think this year will be more about writing and recording than releasing anything.
Eagleowl – Sleep the Winter (Toad Session)
Eagleowl’s new EP, ‘Into The Fold’ is available now on their Bandcamp, it’s a beautiful little record, well worth inversting yer pennies in. They also have a few gigs lined up this month, starting thisMonday the 14th at the Village in Leith which is a double headliner with Blueflint, as part of the Leith Festival. Then they’re back through in the west on Saturday the 19th at the Captain’s Rest, supporting Alisdair Roberts. Then they finish off the month with a gig on Saturday the 31st of July, at the Wee Red Bar in Edinburgh with Conquering Animal Sound as part of a night being put on our by our good friends We Sink Ships.
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Photo Credit: Cadd