Building on a premise offered once by John Lydon that “anger is an energy,” Leeds five-piece Eagulls rage in all the right places. Born out of the gnarled ashes of two local hardcore bands, Eagulls self-released their craftily-titled Songs Of Prey cassette last year and quickily built a reputation for spiky, corrosive live shows. Their debut vinyl release is imminent, with lead track ‘Council Flat Blues’ a call to arms for the disenfranchised and disillusioned. But any posturing is a not a facade for the public; there is a nagging malcontent which unite Eagulls and drives them to make music on their own terms. We donned our tin hats and went to find out the source of their frustrations; for anyone who tweets while watching gigs, look away now.
How did Eagulls get together? Are any of you originally from Leeds?
Goldy (guitar): None of us are from Leeds. A few of us met while at University in Leeds and some of us knew each other already. Liam, who plays guitar, played guitar for Fast Point and I played guitar for Hordes. Fast Point were more punky and hardcore – a bit like the Dead Kennedys. Hordes were more metal sounding but we used to play a lot of gigs together and that is how I initially met Liam.
Henry (drums): Eagulls were without a singer for about half a year. We had asked George, but he couldn’t as he wasn’t living in the same town as us. Me and Goldy were sat in the kitchen one day and we were quite annoyed that we couldn’t find a singer, so we rang George. We just said “you are in the band”.
Goldy: A week later he came up and the week after that he had the lyrics to ‘Council Flat Blues’.
George (vocals): The thing about our band is that we are all really good friends. It meant that I could write lyrics and I wouldn’t be afraid to show them what I’d written – it just clicked.
I wouldn’t describe your sound as either hardcore punk or metal – it seems more melodic. What was your vision for Eagulls when you started the band?
Goldy: We all like hardcore, but when we started this we all wanted to try something not exactly chilled-out, but not as raging. When you are in a hardcore band you know who your audience is going to be. You know what to expect when you turn up to a gig, what sort of people will be there and what they expect. With Eagulls there are people who like heavy music who like us, but also me mam likes us.
A number of your songs seem to vent an anger, who writes the lyrics and where do you get the inspiration from?
George: I do. A lot of my lyrics are about the anger I feel about the idiots around at the minute. I don’t see myself as someone who goes to all the gigs of hyped bands; I am completely against that. I think if you like a band, you should like them, and not just because everyone else likes them.
Yeah, the band Brother seem to be getting a lot of stick at present – there seems to be a very fine line between presenting yourselves as ‘angry social commentators’ and desperately trying to fill the void left by Oasis.
Henry: A band like that – I’ve not even heard them – but I know from reading a short caption in an article about them, that I’m not gonna like them. Bands like that are contrived and pointless. Even though people might think we are ‘angry’ or whatever, we are not going to moan about politics or world peace, it’s more directed towards the people around us of our age and generation.
George: For me, it’s more around the anger about the person next door. Or the person who stands at a gig on fucking, whatever you call it, Twitter, tweeting about a band instead of watching them. You look out sometimes when you are playing a gig, and there are people there who look like they are playing on a Game Boy or something.
And what can people expect from an Eagulls gig?
George: They are exciting. They can expect it to be loud and they will need some earplugs.
Henry: It’s going back to the punk ethic thing. It’s not about being pretentious. One person described it as ‘a bunch of lads turning up and playing music they like rather than making a big deal out of it’.
Last year you released the cassette Songs Of Prey, would you say your sound has evolved since then?
Henry: No. We are still a new band, even though we’ve been going a year, and we don’t have any plans yet to change our sound. It’s how we write songs at the minute.
George: At first we had ‘Council Flat Blues’ and ‘Terms And Conditions’ on the cassette, and songs like that would definitely be on an album, because that is our original sound.
You are releasing ‘Council Flat Blues’ as a vinyl single on Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t sound a very romantic sort of song?
George: Ha! The lyrics are pretty much about when I was growing up – I didn’t live in a council flat – but I used to hang around with people who did. There was always drugs going around and drug dealers – it’s about the stuff that happens in council flats.
What is next for Eagulls? How close are you to having enough material for an album?
George: I think we will probably put out a few more singles, and the singles could go onto an album or whatever. I would like us to write enough stuff so we have a choice of songs, not just get ten songs and then put out an album, so it is a good piece of music and a full-on album.
‘Council Flat Blues’ will be released 14th February via Not Even.
29 – Nation of Shopkeepers, Leeds (w/ Jeff the Brotherhood)
29 – Gullivers, Manchester (w/ Runaround Kids + Spills)
04 – Santiagos, Leeds (w/ The Arteries + The Plight)
10 – The Victory (Formally The Hobby Horse), London
18 – The Regency, Harrogate*
19 – The Redhouse, Sheffield*
23 – Duck and Drake, Leeds*
24 – The Fishtank, Durham*
*Supporting Serious Sam Barrett