Interview: Henry Ruddell – Eagulls

 

Before the start of their tour, Laurence Morgan had a short chat with Eagulls drummer Henry Ruddell.

Despite punk and post punk bands being almost ubiquitous these days, Eagulls seem to stand out. Why do you think that is?

I think it’s hard to say that myself. Post punk and punk are really broad terms, I don’t even know how relevant they both are. We’ve been called worse things, but we’re essentially sort of pigeon-holed in that area. It’s such a hard question. We’ve just sort of turned up, we’ve done our own thing from the start, and we don’t rely on anything other than just us really. We just do our own thing, and people seem to like it.

You’ve made the step up to major festivals like Latitude, and support seems to keep growing. How does it feel to have a fanbase?

It’s good, it’s really positive. There’s no point in playing in a band if you don’t want people to hear your music. You hear a lot of people who say they do it for themselves and stuff, which you do, but I’ve never really understood those people who go, “Oh I don’t wanna do that festival,” or “I’m not playing that town”. We’ve always maintained that we don’t mind who we play for, we’ll play to anyone and we’ll do it anywhere. The festival thing was really good, and it was a bit of an eye-opener. A lot of the tents we were playing were packed out, whether it was up north or down south.

You play the Leeds Brudenell Social Club on October 31st, a homecoming gig. Do you prefer the intimacy of a smaller gig or the feeling of being watched by many?

Er, both! There’s a separate adrenaline to it. I mean, it’s good to play the smaller ones because you’re right there amongst it all, you do feed off that energy in the crowd. It’s also how we started as well. When you start as a band you play those tiny little gigs, in a room full of loads of sweaty people, and the feeling there is what spurs you on to do it more. But I really like playing on big stages too. You feel like you can really let your music do the talking on the big stages.

“You feel like you can really let your music do the talking on the big stages.”

Do you feel there’s more of a mutual trust between the five of you than other bands? I say that because you apparently claim equal songwriting credit, and you’ve previously said Liam and Mark (Eagulls’ guitarists) were the only guitarists you could play to.

Yeah, well before we started the band we were all close friends. I’ve known George since I was 3 years old, so we have a whole different bond outside of the band, we’re best friends. I’ve known Mark and Liam for the best part of 8 or 9 years now, and we pretty much spend every day together, with the band or not. So yeah, there’s an awful lot of trust in it. We all like different styles of music, but we all come to a head on certain albums we all really like and listen to them together. When we do go and write, it’s not like one of us comes and says “I’ve written a song”, we always start off with a little piece or a little line, and we all just work together.

Your music video for Nerve Endings attracted the attention of the police. Do you enjoy being involved in controversy?

To be honest, the video was just something we thought of and did. We had the idea and we executed it. We never really thought anything of it, until people started talking about the controversial side, which we found quite funny to be honest. We think the video reflects some of our anxiety issues pretty well, and we think it looks good.

I won’t say too much about the letter you wrote; do you regret writing it, or did it have to be done?

Again, it’s not like we all sat round a laptop and decided to write something like that to get people’s attention, it’s just something we found quite funny at the time. George just sat down and wrote it, and it was just a parody, a joke, making fun of the industry that we’re in. George puts all sorts of stuff on the Internet, like on his blog and stuff like that. To be honest it really doesn’t bother me, I don’t regret putting it up, it was just quite funny to me.

 “We just do our own thing, and people seem to like it.”

You’ve been compared to The Cure, among many other acts. Did you ever want to emulate certain bands?

Actually it was definitely about doing our own thing. It’s really hard to come up with something really truly original, and of course most music has an inspiration, so if you’re starting out as a band people often try to label you as sounding like this band or another. I think if we tried to copy someone it would sound really rubbish.

Do you take pride in the way you approach the music industry, doing it for music and not selling out at all?

Yeah, I mean we’ve got to work with our record label for the first album, and they’ve been really amazing. They’ve given us a lot of help, and we really really liked them. We feel like we’re doing it the right way, though. If you’re just looking for fame and doing anything to impress a record label, then you’re doing it for all the wrong reasons. We’re just here to make music and play to as many people as we can.

Where do you see Eagulls in a few years time? Do you think you’ll be around for a few years yet?

Yeah, I think so. We’re about to start recording the second album, and that will be out the back-end of next year. We had discussed doing the band thing up until about December, because we felt like we’d got what we wanted from it. But now we’ve found more things we wanna do, like play at a festival in America. So yeah, I’d like to think there’ll still be a band called Eagulls in a few years time.

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  • Music Editor, third year music student with no other discernible features. Sometimes wears a hat. Favourites in music include Dry The River, Adult Jazz, Alt-J, James Blake and prepared to listen to anything. Try me.