When Eagulls return to Southsea Fest tomorrow, they’re hoping for a better reception than at their first appearance three years ago.
‘We had a very weird experience when we played there before,’ recalls drummer Henry Ruddel. ‘They had this makeshift stage in the corner, but there were people just sat eating their dinner, having their gammon and chips and a pint. Then we came and set up and started playing. We were just annoying everybody, it was really strange.
‘I hope it’s not like that this time,’ he laughs.
This time they’re at The Pyramids, sandwiched between local heroes Kassassin Street and Tyne-and-Wear indie rockers Little Comets. The return of the expanded urban festival also sees Mystery Jets, British Sea Power and more than 180 acts playing in 21 venues across the area tomorrow.
The Leeds post-punk band have just released their second album Ullages.
The anagrammatic title refers to the unfilled space in a container.
We have to write music that we like first, we have to believe in it – we’re the ones who’ve got to perform thisHenry Ruddel
‘I think (frontman) George was thinking of calling the first album something along those lines – like a play on words, but it seemed to fit more with this album and the pessimism and the lyrical content, because obviously George’s views are quite pessimistic on this one – it just made more sense.
‘We’ve been quite enjoying people just thinking it’s an anagram without knowing the meaning of the word, but people can make their own minds up.
The album also features a new sound – less punk and more dark, woozy pop.
‘It was weird, we never sat down when we started writing and said that we were going to do something different, it was just pretty natural.
‘You go through stages in your life, your environment changes and your life changes, and writing for us reflects what’s going on around us.
‘With the first album we felt the need to have that more cathartic, one-gear, fast-paced album. But with this one, it’s a bit more taking a step back from our surroundings and analysing it a bit more.
‘We have to write music that we like first, we have to believe in it – we’re the ones who’ve got to perform this. It has to be music that matters to us.’
‘The first songs we wrote were more melodic, but everyone felt confident with that and playing around with the dynamics and the structure, so just a few songs in we consciously set the path for this album to follow, but we didn’t sit down and specifically choose to do something completely different.’
While they may have changed their sound, the band hasn’t dropped the older material from their live sets.
‘I think it’s working really well. It gives the set so much dynamic now, we can shift it around and it gives us much more control. It’s interesting to watch the crowd’s response.’
Given the change in sound, did they draw on different influences this time?
‘We always get likened to the same bands, The Cure, Joy Division – obviously they do influence us, I don’t think you could name many British bands not influenced by them and The Smiths, but we don’t just sit around and listen to them three bands.
‘We all listen to a much broader collection.
‘Mark (Goldsworthy, guitarist) who writes the songs was listening to the Shadows, Richard Hawley, things like that.
‘All of us in the band - we’re five individuals, we all listen to different things, but when we come together there are albums that we love and all agree on.
‘It’s definitely a lot more than the things that usually get written about.’
So will the next album be another sonic leap as well?
‘I reckon it probably will be... but we won’t know until we get there.’
The Pyramids, Southsea
Saturday, October 1