Eskiimo - Bursting The Manufactured Bubble Of Pop
October 2005 (originally interviewed for Clash
'Pop': often no more than the sound made by the imploding
egos of poor X-Factor wannabes. Their over-hyped, over-marketed,
overblown forays into the world of music seeing them go
from number one to no-one quicker than you can say 'cynical
it is refreshing, not to mention rare, when a pop band arrive
on the scene who actually know each other's names before
they step into the recording studio together.
It's even more heartening when their music is as original
as Manchester based trio, Dear Eskiimo, whose Be Patient
EP is primed to help burst the shiny, manufactured bubbles
of Cowell's cash cows in record time. Perhaps what makes
them stand out is their contrasting musical backgrounds:
Katie White gains her inspiration from iconic female vocalists
like Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin and Debbie Harry ("Someone
with a bit more to say than just standing there and shouting"),
fellow vocalist and main songwriter, Jules De Martino, has
his roots in indie while sampler-wielding deck-hand Simon
Templeman has a heart with a hip hop beat.
like a battle between all three of us to get all the influences
in there, a mishmash of all sorts really," 27-year-old
Simon explains. But rather than disintegrating into a fractured
mess, the disparate elements blend and merge seamlessly
to produce bright, off-kilter pop with a dark underbelly,
a testament to the band's mutual respect for each other's
tastes. "We sort of educate each other," adds
Simon. "I used to frown upon pop music, you get a bit
of snobbery with music don't you sometimes? I've learned
to respect more commercial music now."
Dear Eskiimo wasn't always a pop project though. When Simon
completed the line-up, having been introduced through a
mutual friend, they attempted to create dramatic, Portishead-inspired
soundtracks. But the focus soon shifted as Jules, 30, explains.
"The route we wanted to take right at the beginning
was more of a film score-y thing putting that drama in the
music. We started doing that but, since we all love pop,
we were sort of frustrated after the third song of it being
nice and lush and film score-y as the hooks weren't there."
are hooks in abundance now, whether it be the harmonious
vocal waltz between Katie and Jules, echoing a nicely scuffed
Scissor Sisters on Patience, the rousing, hand-clapping
country stomp Traffic Light or tale of broken love, Jack
& Jill, with its perky acoustic strum and beeping carhorn
contrasting with the defiant lyrics.
for musicals also lurks amongst the band's rich variety
of influences, but worry not, this is nothing to do with
any cheesy, thigh-slapping razzmatazz, and there's not a
dodgy mockney accent in earshot either. "It's not literally
a rip off of musicals," says 22-year-old Katie. "I
just love something about it, I think it's very clever and
there's something feelgood about it."
Jamiroquai producer, Al Stone now on board and an album
due early next year on the My Dad label, Dear Eskiimo certainly
have a lot to feel good about, a Trojan horse of substance
breaching the often vacuous world of pop. "We're decent
people, we've got the same morals about the whole pop thing.
There are a lot of arseholes and a lot of flash people around,"
adds Jules. "It's got to be about the music."
Ian Roullier, 10/2005