- Ryan Drever
- 8 April 2009
eagleowl - Blanket
Edinburgh trio eagleowl are chief exponents of slow-burning, affecting, lo-fi folk, and are currently part of a close-knit collective of local musicians centred around DIY label, Fife Kills:. Based on a foundation of mutual support as well as an obvious shared love for music, Fife Kills: has been at the core of a blossoming music scene in the nation's capital, boasting the likes of My Kappa Roots and previous Exposure act and frequent collaborator, Rob St. John. In the wake of the incredibly well-received For The Thoughts You Never Had E.P, and with a full-length recording in their sights, guitarist/vocalist Bart gives us a rundown on everything Eagleowl.
So how exactly did eagleowl come together?
I met Malcolm shortly after moving to Edinburgh. I knew he played violin, and I'd written some songs and wanted to flesh them out a bit and start play live. It all just developed very naturally from there really. After we were playing for about a year, Clarissa joined us on double bass - we met through a mutual friend (Mark Hamilton, of the Canadian band Woodpigeon). More recently we've had Rob (St John) come on board on harmonium.
How does it feel to be part of Fife Kills? it seems that there's a neat little community building up there.
It's great. I'm really pleased that you used the word 'community', as that's exactly how it feels. It's nice to play shows with people you respect, and it's encouraging when you see others in the collective get the recognition they deserve. But it's not just Fife Kills: - I think Scotland in general, and particularly Edinburgh, is producing a lot of quality music has a healthy collection of talented and like-minded individuals. It's nice to be part of something that's focused on creating music, rather than making money or being 'the next big thing'.
You've been described in various different ways, but how would you describe your music?
I'm still not sure. I've been doing this for nearly five years now, and I still have no idea how to describe it. It's always the first thing people ask when you say you're in a band, but its actually the hardest question to answer. And because people have described us in so many different ways in the past - people pick up on different aspects or influences - its hard to know how to explain it. I normally just say 'quiet', and leave it at that. Or hand them a CD. It's easier if they make up their own minds.
What particular influences would you say have shaped you musically?
Musically, there's a lot of different stuff. There's the obvious kind of Low/Dirty Three thing with the instrumentation and use of vocals. Bits and pieces of old and new folk (Fairport Convention, Bert Jansch, Alasdair Roberts, Smog). More recently I've been listening to a lot of lo-fi stuff. I think I'd like the next lot of recordings to have that crackly, lo-fi texture. Actually the people and bands around us influence a lot. You go and see Broken Records or Withered Hand play a good show and it really spurs you on. I really like the way Broken Records use the violin and cello - that interplay between abrasive and melodic. I love the imagery and language in Rob St. John's songs. I love the way Withered Hand uses traditional instruments in a very untraditional way.
Do you have plans for any further releases/touring throughout the rest of the year?
We're concentrating on writing and recording this year. I think in the past we've played a lot of shows. And it's been great fun - I do enjoy playing live, but it gets to the point when you're just rehearsing for the next show, and not writing anything new. Just reordering the same old songs. I don't like doing that, as it gets stale for us and it's probably not that much fun for the audience either. We're hoping to get some recordings done for a full length release later in the year.
What do you enjoy most about creating music with eagleowl, have there been any particular standout moments? Perhaps a particularly good show?
There have been a lot of great shows. We've been very lucky to play with people we really admire, like Hawk and a Hacksaw, Malcolm Middleton, Field Music, Adrian Crowley, Viking Moses etc. Homegame is always fun - we've played their twice now and its been brilliant - definitely my favourite festival - so I'm really pleased we've been asked to play again this year. One of the my favourite shows was a live soundtrack event we did back in 2006. It was a one off event organised by our friend Ruth Beale, for which we composed and performed music for four old avant garde French films. It was quite stressful and a lot of work preparing for the show, but that made it all the more rewarding on the night. It looks like we're going to get the chance to do a similar thing this year during the Edinburgh Film Festival - only this time using Scottish films from the Scottish Screen national archive.
If you could pick one song to play to those as yet unaware of the band, what would you pick?
eagleowl play several times at the annual Fence Homegame on Fri 17, Sat 18 and Sun 19 Apr