Meet: Henry Ruddell from Eagulls interview

It seemed like Eagulls were an overnight sensation when Six Music’s Steve Lamacq picked them as his favourite new band of 2013 but this tight knit Leeds five piece have been together half a decade.

Their self-titled debut album was one of the best British records of last year, but the band’s drummer Henry Ruddell says they are looking forward  to playing some low key gigs trying out new material including a gig in Hebden Bridge.

“We’ve always wanted to play Trades Club as we’ve been there for a few gigs and we go to Hebden Bridge quite a lot for a pint. But we’re in the middle of writing a new album so we’ve got a quite a lot of new material, and we wanted to book the odd show here and there so we can road test it. This one came along so we didn’t want to turn it down.

“We’re not playing too many shows as we want to concentrate on writing, but we are doing ones that we think are good so this is a chance to play somewhere we haven’t played before.”

Their first album was an in your face slice of indie rock, packed with clever hooks,  backed by incendiary live shows, but Ruddell says they have moved on as they prepare for that tricky second record.

“I think people will be quite surprised, it’s still us, but it is a progression. When we first started writing it was just a load of experimenting and then we had two songs which were the benchmark of the sound we wanted to go for it. It’s different, progressive, melodic and more mature as we’ve found the sound everyone in the band is comfortable with.

“The five of us have been playing together for many years it feels like and, although every band says it about a new record, I think we’ve found the kind of music we’ve always wanted to make.”

“We’ve concentrated more on the arrangements this time rather than straight up powering verse, chorus, verse, chorus, end. We’re still proud of the first album, and it was relevant to where we are at the time, but we just hashed it out. We’ve had more time to experiment, and through that we have a new sound.

“We’d playing those songs of that album for what feels like years although it only  came out last year but we’d had some of those songs the end of 2012 so for our on sanity we wanted to try something different.”

There is doubting the band’s work ethic as in 2014 they spent nine months of the year on the road building a rock solid fan base here and across the pond.

“We’ve just got back from America where we played a few shows with Ride and Cocachella where we did three new songs for the first time. They fit really nicely with the old songs, they both complement each other, and gives our set a lot more of a dynamic. There’s a bit more shift and change.

“These small gigs are a good opportunity to practice them live as you get such a different feel for songs. You can do them over and over again in your practice room all night, but on stage you can hear what is going on. You come offstage thinking that needs changing for the next gig so it opens your eyes to what you can achieve.”

All that hard work in America paid off when they got an unexpected call to be the musical turn on the prime time Late Show with David Letterman watched by millions of people across the States.

“The other guest was Bill Murry, but no matter what situation we are put in – be it Letterman or a small room over here – we’ve always had the same attitude. We just turn and give 100% no matter where we are.

“I don’t think we quite understood the gravity of playing David Letterman. It happened so fast – we were in New York walking past the building, someone said one day you’ll play that, and we just laughed. Two months later we got an email saying do you wnat to play it in January, and we were like ‘yeah’.

“Afterwards we went to the pub and said we’ve just played the David Letterman show, but it was very surreal, and the glitz and glamour is so far removed from West Yorkshire. It was a brilliant experience and something I will remember for the rest of my life.”

But despite all the glamour of playing for a chat show legend there is no place like home and some of the band’s most memorable gigs have been at the Brudenell Social Club.

“I’ve been going to the Brudenell for years and can hands down say it is my favourite place in the whole world. I remember the first time we played there and you just think as a band we’ve done it – we’ve played the Brudenell. Then you set your sights higher wanting to do your own show and then to support someone was an achievement then you want to sell it out.”

The Brudenell was the obvious place to hold the launch party for their album, and a very rowdy night included the surreal sight of crowd surfing blow up dolls thanks to a little help from the venue’s legendary promoter Nathan Clark.

“Every time we play there we have done it last on the tour and as it is your hometown gig so you know it is going to be busy. We let our hair down a little, but it was Nathan’s idea to make it make it a bit more interesting.

“Nathan said I can go to Costco and get a load crap to fill the room, and we said just do it. As we were setting up he came back with all these dolls, and we just thought it would be funny. It was just a big celebration, and certainly a gig to remember.”

Eagulls play Hebden Bridge Trades Club on Friday 5 June with support from Autobahn, Snack Family Goy Boy McIroy.

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