While I had never heard about the Dublin-based quintet known as The Eskies until I was approached to cover them, I have since grown a fondness for the group and the music they create. The members that make up the band include Ian Bermingham, Tim George, Steven Kearney, Rob Murphy and Sean O’Reilly. With them being a UK-based band and a group that I was unfamiliar with up until a few weeks ago, I knew I wanted to chat with them to learn more about their background. The band’s drummer, Kearney, took time to answer my questions about how the band was formed, their process for creating new music and their second album, And Don’t Spare the Horses, which drops today.
For those who might not have ever heard of y’all, can you give us a brief history of the band and how it culminated into what is now known as The Eskies? And what exactly is an eskie?
The Eskies, as we are known now, were formed after the failure of our attempt to unionize mini-disc manufacturing workers and fight the CD lobby. How could we have known it was a losing battle? When we formed six years ago, mini-discs were such a huge part of our lives, even if others had already stopped caring about mini-discs. It’s important to explain this, as we worked so hard on it and when we failed we turned to music as a form of therapy, and The Eskies was the resulting project.
An eskie itself is what a group of mini-disc manufacturing workers call themselves, like a gaggle, or swarm, its our tip of the cap. The mini-disc will rise again.
Your sound is so unique. There’s a mix of more traditional genres, like rock and blues, as well as some rarer sounds such as the Yiddish and the Kelzmar. What was the reason for adopting the sound that you did?
It wasn’t so much of an adoption of these rarer sounds in the beginning as it was discovering them and becoming excited about them, pulling them apart musically and finding out what makes them the way they are. And as for the more traditional genres felt in our music, a lot of us have grown up with rock and blues and more traditional roots music playing an important part in our musical upbringing, and by the time we got together we all had different sides of the same coins to show each other – then together we tried to push the comfortable into the uncomfortable.
Can you give us a little insight into your new album that is coming out? What are you most excited about with this album? Any particular track that you favor and are most looking forward to sharing with the fans?
This album is very exciting because in many ways some of the material is a departure from our first album, and in other ways it’s a more concentrated take on things and themes we had explored before. As far as insight goes, maybe I would say we have matured somewhat musically, but this maturity does not necessarily mean more retrained. Personally, I am excited for people to hear the track ‘Building Up Walls,’ as I think this track in particular is new space for us to play in, but all the same its very us. I also believe the song will hold a lot of different meanings for people and hearing what they might be is quite exciting to me.
Talk about the writing process. Who does most of the writing? How much of a song is ‘finished’ once the band plays it together? Have you had to scrap songs that just didn’t work once the band started to rehearse them?
Well we all write together, but often this stage of writing all together comes after somebody brings something as small as a riff or short passage of music all the way up to a more or less finished song. Ian and Sean took the lead on this album as far as the lyrical credit is due, sometimes collaborating. Again, they may bring something half formed and some input from somebody else is a good help in unsticking them from a point where they may have been struggling, so it’s nice to have everybody involved at all stages of a song in progress.
As far as finished goes, maybe songs are never finished entirely. They can change in the studio, or live after they have been recorded and maybe even just change over the years. Some songs are never finished in the sense that they are never finished at all, because some songs are crap.
When you are working on new music, who or what inspires you?
I take a lot of inspiration from films, both musically and in how they feel. Suspense, excitement etc. are all felt in films and are created in different ways, and all of the time with a different style, and trying to conjure these same feelings in music, with a style, is something I always draw inspiration from.
Is there a track, whether one that’s already been released or one that has yet to be released, that you feel best represents you and who you are as a band?
I would say the track that best represents us is ‘Im Not OK’ by My Chemical Romance. I’m not sure if you meant one of our tracks, but I think they said it better.
Some of the videos you have made are really entertaining. Who comes up with the concepts and do you have any plans to release another video for one of the songs on your new album?
We treat our videos very much like the songs themselves, we all have a hand in them, after an initial idea, which may have been minute. We have great plans to release great things for all the world to see, but even the best laid plans of mice and idiots often go awry.
You guys have a tour coming up! Why can fans expect if they come see you play live? Any plans to come over here to America sometime soon?
At our gigs there is an amazing amount of sweating and screaming, and hopefully the new album captures a bit of that, even the sweating. There’s a lot of energy and maybe some intensity. If you think this sounds like something you are into, then please talk with the powers that be stateside and help us accomplish our goal of absolutely coming to America and sweating and screaming all over it.
We’re called Talk Nerdy With Us so what is something that you nerd out over?
Well, seeming as we are all nerdy here I can safely admit that I have a vast knowledge of dog breeds and their histories. It may be off to some, but I find the unnecessary interference of unnecessary monarchies in the development of certain dogs blood lines all too fascinating, don’t you?