“We got all of these opportunities to do huge TV shows and we could of just said no, but we just thought let’s do it,” says George Mitchell, Eagulls’ tall, reserved frontman about the Leeds’ band’s performance on David Letterman’s primetime US TV show. “That sort of music shouldn’t be in those places, it was funny to just put it in places it shouldn’t be.”
That’s just how Eagulls approach music, they’re a quietly confident, brother-like band of five Leeds born and bred lads who just take each day as it comes, whether that’s sinking a few ales in their local or performing their rip-roaring post-punk to over 4 million Americans.
Emerging back in early 2013 with an incendiary blend of warbling vocals, ferocious riffs and galloping drums, they released a self-titled debut album to critical acclaim. It was was an honest, brutal record that was perceived as being negative, but that wasn’t quite the case.
“The first album came across as a very pessimistic, angry take on life,” George points out. “But really it was looking more at optimism, how I can better myself from this bad situation that I was in.”
But their supposed pessimism connected globally. It wasn’t just the UK and America, where critics from The Guardian and Pitchfork were singing their praises for their “memorable” debut, Eagulls were getting booked worldwide.
“Everywhere we’ve been we’ve done a good sell out show, which is really decent,” says George. “It’s quite strange to us really, we played in Singapore at a festival but it felt like we’d gone back in time to a generation where people were like mythical rockstars.
“People were wanting to talk to us as if we were like some sort of demigods of something. It was like you can have a photo if you really want mate, I’m just normal and sing a bit”.
Demigod’s or not, Eagulls were by no means a new band when they released their debut. They’d been touring and making music since 2010, gently growing and developing a sound that formed the basis for Ullages, a record encompassing George’s influences and experiences over the last few years.
“The new record was all a very natural progression really but it is a lot more mature and there’s a lot more thought been put into it,” admits George. “We changed our ways and started writing more and more tracks in 3/4 beats as well.
“The whole record really opened our minds that we could write differently, so we started to push ourselves more, making sure we were outside of our comfort zone.”
Their effort didn’t go unnoticed. Throughout the 11 tracks on Ullages, you can hear the sheer amount of work that went into tweaking and refining their utterly exhilarating, deeply textured new sound. And for George, this development had a big effect on his lyrical output.
“A lot of my songs have two separate meanings to them, one person could read it one way and another person the other,” George notes. “There’s also references to big influencers like Grayson Perry, L. S. Lowry and Robert Olley, a North Eastern artist.
“Art was a massive influence on me and will always will be, I came up with a lot of ideas just walking around galleries”
The long-spell writing did however take it’s toll. During the long recording process, George saw his depression spiral out of control.
“I couldn’t do anything really so writing music was completely was out of my mind,” George explains. “But fortunately when I came back round it gave me more clarity of things to talk about.
“Whether it helped write a good record I don’t know, but it definitely fueled a lot of my feelings on this record.
From the undeniable thrill of tracks like My Life In Rewind and Lemontrees to the solemn, reflective mood on Psalms and Aisles, it’s a very different effort to their first, which live translated into a frantic, fearsome and captivating sea of limbs and sweat. But George believes that now their gigs are only going to get better.
“When we first started playing our tracks live we’d play them like 10 times as fast whereas now they’re at the same speed as the album,” proclaims George. “We’re more fine tuned and the textures and sounds are a lot deeper and thicker.
“The tracks really fit as pieces of a puzzle - it’s nice and refreshing that the different dynamics of the set mix, going from fast and heavy to dreamy and slower.”
The band are now spending the next few months touring across Europe and America, with a relentless run of shows through to autumn, but this is something Eagulls and George relish.
“We like playing the small gigs where it’s really intimate but then playing ultra epic and anthemic situations is just as good,” says George enthusiastically. “But I would really like to keep doing gigs at independent venues, helping them out.
“Without The Brudenell our band wouldn’t exist really, and without those smaller independent venues across the UK bands won’t have a platform. Everyone needs to support them whenever they can, because they’re just fucking shutting down constantly.”
Whatever happens over the next few years Eagulls’ approach remains the same. Take each day as it comes and continue to craft scathing, timeless rock n roll, together as one dysfunctional family.
“We’re like brothers really, we have our fall outs and we row at times, but we’re all still best friends really,” jokes George. “We never really look to the future, we just live by the day.
“I’ll normally just get up, text them lot asking ‘what’s happening today?’, which basically means ‘Pub?’.”