Gypsy folk rock band, The Eskies, are set to play The Cluny, Newcastle this month so Lee Allcock caught up with drummer, Robert Murphy, to speak about North East crowds, playing at Glastonbury and maturity.
You’re set to headline The Cluny, Newcastle on Thursday 19th October. So what do you make of North East crowds? And how do they differ from those in the south, in your opinion?
We’ve only been to Newcastle once before but what really stood out is the genuine appreciation people have for music. We were the support band but everyone there gave us their full attention and it was nice to have people come up afterwards and tell us they enjoyed it.
You’ve toured in ten different countries, playing main stage slots at both Glastonbury (Field Of Avalon) and Cambridge Folk Festival, so what would you say has been your favourite gig to-date? And do you have any stories you can share with us…
It’s hard to pick a favourite as I think we like different gigs for different reasons. Glastonbury, Cambridge and Beautiful Days this year were all great because they were probably the biggest crowds we’ve ever played to – people were dancing the whole time and enjoying themselves so that was a great experience. We also played at Southcider Festival earlier this summer and ended up doing a short acoustic gig the day after our main gig. We spent more time talking shite and taking the piss out of each other than actually playing music and it was some of the best fun we’ve ever had on stage.
Your music leaps from genres as vast and varied as folk, klezmar and Yiddish to rock, swing and blues. Sounds like you have a lot of influences…
Our influences kind of come from everywhere. Recently we’ve gotten quite into the Amsterdam Klezmer Band so that’s partially where the klezmer thing comes from. Film soundtracks and even scenes from films can influence songs – sometimes we’ll try and paint a very vivid picture in a song and thinking about it like a scene from a film can help.
What would you say is the main difference between your first album, ‘After the Sherry Went Round’, and your second album, ‘And Don’t Spare the Horses’? Do you feel like you’ve matured as a band, for example?
I suppose the first album was basically a collection of songs we had written for a live show – music that you want people to dance and throw themselves around the place a bit too. There’s definitely some of that on the second album, but we also let other sides to our sound come to the fore a bit. There are elements of swing – think Louis Prima having an existential crisis – contrasted with pure folk, a spaghetti western style lament, haunting four-part harmonies and a false sense of security or two. We’ve definitely drawn on a wider range of influences anyway.
What can gig-goers expect at a The Eskies gig?
Expect more screaming, shouting and sweating than anyone is really comfortable with. Singing and dancing are encouraged.
What would you like to say to your North East fans who’ll be heading to the show?
We’re looking forward to getting back to Newcastle and seeing all your lovely faces. Up The Parish.
The Eskies head to The Cluny, Newcastle on Thursday 19th October for a gig not to be missed. Tickets, priced at £10.00 in advance, are available now from thecluny.com. Support comes from The Whippet Beans.