Having rendezvoused in the only proper pub in Shoreditch, thankfully not Cargo as originally planned, I set about asking Mark Goldsworthy and George Mitchell from Eagulls some questions about their music and some questions with absolutely nothing to do with music.

The first line of enquiry was to ask why they call themselves Eagulls. Mark explains in his laid back Geordie-sounding drawl that "it was kind of a crappy, long-winded in-joke that went too far. It's not a very funny one." With no further insight into the band name, we move on to how the band would describe their own music, in a word. 'Abrasive' and 'melodic' are banded around before George settles the matter, "let's just say punk music." These descriptions are pretty spot on. When you listen to the band, especially latest singles 'Nerve Endings' and 'Tough Luck', it really is in-your-face post-punk music.

Explaining how they arrived at their current sound from their first single 'Council Flat Blues', they muse that "since then we've obviously fucking learnt a lot", "then we were fresh-faced and enthusiastic, and perhaps a bit more naive. Now we're more pessimistic and tainted." Mark puts this down to the years of having a crap job and no longer having the optimism you have when you leave university. As the band's main lyricist, George believes: "From day one, a lot of the songs were quite pessimistic, well at least lyrically they were. The music was brighter and a bit poppier. Since then we've got rid of the poppier hooks and put more thought into it, we've definitely come on since then." The band certainly have a lot of confidence in what they do and their musical development as a group. At no point however do they come across as anything close to cocky.

Regarding the making of their forthcoming debut album, George speaks about the writing process: "The music spawns what the lyrical content will end up being. I write towards the feelings of the sounds of the music. But then I'll write about personal things, or things I see around me or interpret it in other people's ways." Although it's often tricky to decipher exactly what the lyrics are in many of Eagulls' songs, his point about writing towards the feeling of the music stands true. As their music has become more forthright, the vocals have done the same. Any traces of obvious 'pop-hooks' have been replaced with something altogether more challenging.

When asked what's been the best thing about being in a band, Mark admits it's the clichéd answer of "being able to travel and meet all the new people. That's what you put all the hard work in for, after all the stress and banging your head against the wall." "It stops you from just doing day-to-day normal shit." George continues, "getting up, thinking I'm going to fucking work, coming home and having ya tea... We're getting up, going to work, having our tea then we're fucking off to the other side of England." George concludes that the very best thing about being in a band "is keeping your mind creative" and "it gives you a reason to do something, because you're a part of something, you've always got something to do, otherwise you can just start stagnating." Not only are the band doing this because they love music, but because they feel it's a worthwhile and beneficial way to spend their time. It's this attitude that's taken them from their council flat blues, to appearing on the David Letterman Show (and being able to finally quit their jobs) in the space of a few short years.

As their career rapidly picks up steam, their ambitions for the coming year or so show a band with their feet planted firmly on the ground. Their main aim is to simply "keep the momentum going and show everyone what we've done, and have fun at the same time, not be a fucking stale boring band." Obviously, the main event for the band this year is the release of the self-titled debut LP, due on 4th March. The pair find it tricky to pass a proper opinion on the album. Mark muses: "we've been so involved with it for the past eighteen months, we find it hard to judge it now. I'm really pleased with it, but it's at the point where it's like our kid now. Even if it's a little bastard you've gotta deal with it. It is what it is." George likens it to painting and the difficulty of knowing when to stop, when to stop adding to it, trying to stop "nit-picking" and how "loads of bands get given loads of money and this much time to record an album, so they just say ok it's done eventually, but we just kept going back."

Recording sounds like a particularly tricky process in the case of Eagulls, as they paid for the whole process themselves and dedicated huge amounts of time around their existing jobs towards making the record. With only "the guy we recorded it with" as help in the studio, it was always going to be difficult to ensure the album only had the best songs on it. Full of confidence with what made the final cut, George says. "I know it sounds cheesy, but we didn't want to have any filler on there. We've always said we'll only use songs that we think could be singles." That being said, after current single 'Possessed', the band want their next single to be new material. Clearly then, Eagulls have no intention to take a post-album break from the studio, as most bands would.

Once you've listened to the record, it's hard to pin down any particular band that Eagulls sound like, George and Mark put this down to their ever-changing music taste. "There's all sorts" says Mark, "and it probably doesn't all come through on the record. It all depends at the time, you go through phases. You don't so much forget something but you find something new, immerse yourself in that, maybe play it to death then move on. Along the way you probably take little bits from all of it, even from pop music."

Moving on from the record itself, George highlights the influence of the things around him and obviously where a band come from has an unavoidable influence on the music they make. Although they inform me that they're not all from Leeds, it's where they currently live. Mark muses how "Leeds has still got a personality, whereas a lot of cities, like, start blending into one I think. It's very closely knit," George adds, "like we walk in a pub and we know everyone." As arguably the most student-centric city in the country, George explains how "most people from Leeds fucking hate students. I mean, we were students there, but we went to local places. What's the fucking point of being a student in Leeds if you're not going to experience Leeds, go where people from Leeds go."

In terms of being in a band and being on the road, it's always interesting to hear how band's interact with the artists they play and tour with. Mark suggests that the band are sometimes portrayed as 'knobheads'. Based on first impressions at least, it's tricky to see why this would be the case. He adds that "people like to think we aggravate things, but really we can get on with anyone, even if we don't have the same tastes." George reckons that it simply "boils down to the fact we know how to have fun whereas some people are just guarded. When we say certain things, we're just havin' a laugh." Judging from this brief encounter, they're guys who speak their mind and might be prone to taking the piss a bit, but not in a bad way. In a world of artists who are wrapped in cotton wool their whole career and have a huge PR time scripting their lives, it's refreshing to hear a band be so honest.

It's always a good idea to ask bands a few more personal questions in order to get to know them as people. In light of this, an age-old question was posed: what's your favourite pie? "Pork pie" Mark responds in an instant. "It can have jelly or not, a good pie's a good pie. It's not so much about the meat, it's about the pastry. It's good to have a good crispiness, not lardy, nothing worse than a saturated base." George simply answers with "Shepherd's Pie". On the topic of cheese, Mark's favourite is Parmesan and George's is smoked cheddar. The most important question of all though, of course, is whether Jaffa Cakes are in fact cakes, or biscuits. "See this is where we differ," explains Mark before going wildly off-topic to discuss other meanings of the word jaffa in the Northeast, never actually returning to the question at hand.

From here the conversation moved onto male facial hair. Mark's view is that "some people go over the top, but I think like, a sincere, normal beard is fine but then there's pretentious beards that people use to mask themselves. I mean if you've got an honest beard, that's good. But if you've got a contrived, post-hipster beard and feel the need to pose for pictures of it on Instagram every week..." George on the other hand says: "I feel sorry for those girls who have got into this craze of 'I love beards'. I mean, what happens if you get with this lad, then he shaves his beard off to reveal who the real person is?"

Their opinions on social media and Instagram take a similar view. If someone has something interesting to say or show, it's fine, but people who "post pictures of their fucking dinner, I couldn't give a fuck. I mean, it's good for embarrassing your mates... and bullying people." Although these are opinions on relatively trivial matters, it sheds further light on the type of band Eagulls are. They're honest, down-to-earth and not at all pretentious. If anything, that's probably the best description of their music too.


You can read our review of the album by heading here.