Interview: The Eskies

The Eskies

Dublin folk quintet ‘The Eskies’ kick off a busy summer of touring with a gig in The Button Factory, Friday 3rd June. This is also the last chance their Irish fans will get to see them play an Irish venue for this year. Tickets are almost sold out which is not surprising if the accounts from previous gigs are anything to go by. ‘The Eskies’ mix of great tunes, banter and high energy performance ensures it is a gig not to be missed but before they head off, the guys sat down with me for a Q&A.

How long have the band been playing together?
The five of us all together have been playing for nearly. . . Five years? Jayzus!! Doesn’t feel like five years. .Some of us had played together before this band but all together it’s been four years.

Was folk music something you all grew up with or where did the influence come from?
I think we were all exposed to loads of different kinds of music growing up. Can’t think of any obvious folk influence in particular, no traveling minstrel fathers or guitar wielding/troubadour mothers. Like most bands, I’m sure; our own sound came about once we started playing together and bringing our own various influences together and that was quite a wide spectrum. As far as the songwriting is concerned, there’s definitely a big folk influence. We love a good dark story where everything goes horribly wrong.

After the Sherry went round’ was a major breakthrough for the band in 2015, leading to a successful tour of Ireland and UK including three sell out nights in Whelans, how sweet is it to get recognition in your home town?
The support we get in Dublin has always been very, very special. We’ve been fortunate enough to travel quite a lot over this past year or two in particular but there is always something a bit different in Dublin. There’s nothing louder and sweater than a room full of people at an Eskies gig in Dublin, they like to sing, they like to dance and good Jayzus we’re always very happy to bear witness to it.

Some of the videos you have made are really entertaining, who is responsible for the videos?
The big one was the video we did for Jesus Don’t Save Me, we really threw ourselves into that one. We had what we thought was a fully formed concept, met with David Keeling who we had decided we wanted to direct it and he basically said ‘where’s the rest, good luck getting three and a bit minutes out of that’ so it was literally back to the drawing board. After several hours locked in a dusty, smoky room with no windows, we had the fully formed video, ready to shoot. I still have all of the drawings and notes that we took for that one, it was great fun. We wanted to surprise people and also get our sense of humour across. Do something really silly but with the utmost sincerity. Wherever we go, we always have people telling us they first seen us on YouTube dancing around a church, which is nice.

You guys have some nifty dance moves, which one of you have the best moves?
Haha. I’m not sure any of us can truly lay claim to real dance moves. Part of the idea of doing a video with us dancing was how utterly ridiculous it was, were usually not the dancing types. That’s why we play music. Some kind of effort to dance vicariously through a room full of people.

The band plays The Button Factory on June 3rd, that gig is almost sold out but will there be other opportunities to catch you in Ireland before the end of the year?
That’s going to be the last gig in Dublin for a while unfortunately. We’re booked up touring all summer with loads of festivals and then there’s an extensive uk tour to come in October so it could very well be November or December by the time we get to play a gig of our own in Dublin again.

For fans who haven’t been to one of your gigs before , what might they expect?
You can expect a room full of energy. All singing, all dancing, all screaming, all sweating. People who come to our gigs like to get involved, it really is a great energy. We have a lot of fun.

The night of The Button Factory gig you are announcing the winner of I take it the first ‘Trevor Beckway Cup’, what exactly is ‘The Trevor Beckway Cup’?
The first person to ever do a cover of an Eskies song and upload it to YouTube was a guy called Trevor Beckway. We were all buzzing over it. We came up with the idea of having a cup in his honour, it was an excuse for us to do a couple of covers of songs by bands we love and also encourage people to do the same. The only rule is that the song has to be by an Irish band or artist. It’s just about appreciating people’s songs, we’ve a lot of great songs in Ireland and they resonate with different people for different reasons, it’s always interesting to see a persons interpretation of another persons song. We’re going to pick our favourite one and they will be presented with the Trevor Beckway Cup at the Button Factory and join us on stage to play the song while they’re at it too. Should be good craic.

Have you made your decision on a winner yet?
No not yet, it’s going to be a tough call. We’ve had loads of great entrants so far and it doesn’t close until this Thursday so we’ll have to have a look at it then. It’s going to be tight.

With a major tour of Ireland, the UK and Europe done and another set of tour dates coming up, are you looking forward to having some chill time later this year or are there other plans for new material?
Fuck that, we’re having too much fun. The rest of most of 2016 will be loads and loads more gigging. We reckon we’ve already got about half a second album in us already and songs keep coming so by the end of the year or start of next year we’ll probably take a couple of weeks off to get a few more together and then start recording album number two.

Any plans for a Euro 2016 anthem to cheer on the Irish team?
We’ll all be watching on anyway, that’s for sure. One of the worst gigs we ever played was directly after they got beaten 3-1 by Croatia in Poznan in 2012. . Try lift a room full of people after that one. . As far as a song goes, there’s nothing making itself known just yet but sure you never know, anything can happen in football ;)

Ain’t that the truth! Best of luck guys, happy travels.
For your chance to experience The Eskies live for the last time this year in Ireland, get down to The Button Factory, June 3rd (woohoo Bank holiday weekend) Tickets are selling fast so make sure to get one to avoid disappointment.

For more information check out www.theeskies.com, follow the band on Facebook and Twitter.