Interview with Eat Skull
Eat Skull are a band from Portland, recording since 2008. After long rumination on their first full-length for the Woodsist label, we decided to get an explanation from the inside. Answers included are from band member Rob Enbom, and come with a small parental advisory warning–so if you can’t handle a harmless stitch of reality, feel free to read one of the 40,000 Examiner articles on the Oscars. If you can, please check out the new album, keep an ear tuned to the upcoming tour, and enjoy this supplemental wisdom.
Thanks to Rob and the band for graciously hanging out.
To get some formalities out of the way, how did the name Eat Skull come about, and is III the title of the new album because you ran out of ideas, or what?
Rod thought of “Eat Skull”, he’s actually a master at coming up with good band names. We thought it was a funny name that’s also creepy and psychedelic. It was the result of an inside joke about his dog Chachi. You can see Chachi on the cover of Wild and Inside. The record’s called III because we thought it was funny and made sense in some sort of assholish and overblown way since it took so long for the record to come out. It reminded us of Rick Wakeman’s golden cape. At one point the record had a working title that I can’t even remember anymore. There are also 3 moons in the painting on the cover of the record and 3 moons in the song names, and so the title worked with the artwork.
A first look tells us there’s a lot less actual tracks on this album than your previous full-lengths. Further examination reveals that though there’s less songs, they all have a relatively anthemic feel, lending to a “bigger” feel overall. Do you think this is due to an increase in focus? Would you say the songwriting has improved?
Minute for minute, I think that this record is the longest of the three, although they are all pretty close. I like to think we are getting better at our craft. I’m not really sure what else to say about that without sounding like a far too self-interested piece of shit.
What was on your minds’ when writing these songs? What might be attributed to the aforementioned the anthemic nature–and mainly, what the hell are the lyrics about? “Dead Horses” in particular has me scratching my head…
All sorts of things! They just come out the way they come out. Obviously every song is about something different, but I can tell you that “Dead Horses” is about looking back on living with these spoiled junkie asshole children in rural Ohio. Maybe we should have made a lyric sheet so people caught “In the house from the chainsaw massacre, cutting up the fentanyl…” I think that song makes perfect sense, it’s literal.
Speaking of which, I caught the new video for “How Do I Know When To Say Goodnight” and needless to say, it seems pretty, uhh, drug-inspired. Yeah…? No?
Yeah, that song is about the schizophrenic mornings that one has after wild nights. Again, the video is literal: with the hung-over protagonists being pursued by demons of “The Fear.”
Have any of you seen Frank Zappa’s “200 Motels?” The video reminded me of that.
Yeah… years ago. There were 2 directors, one of whom, Bob Moricz, makes a ton of b-movies. The other director Ben Popp did our video for “Don’t Leave Me On The Speaker” and does really simple animation stuff that I think looks really cool. It has a Public Access kind of vibe which makes way more sense with the theme of the song then a higher production value sort of thing. Hung over schizophrenia is totally affordable. It’s for everyone.
What are some of the most important musical and non-musical influences present on the album?
I’m not really sure how to answer that. Since the record evolved over such a long time, influences came and went constantly. The way we work is intuitive, we don’t calculate our influences consciously. However, subconsciously we are capable of anything.
Do you think that lifestyle, or those “non-musical influences” are a key proponent to your musical process?
Well of course what happens in our lives is going to get translated into whatever we do. I think it’s far too simple to propogate the myth that we have some ‘lifestyle’ that is a code name for getting fucked up or whatever. We are not that boring of people.
What’s your favorite band to have worked/played a show with?
I was excited to play a couple shows with the Renderers. They are beautiful people and absolute slayers. I also always enjoy playing with Kurt Vile, he’s a good friend with great hair.
The only show you’ve got booked right now is at a pretty rad little spot in Portland called Mississippi Studios. Are there plans to do a fuller tour after the album drops?
Yeah, we’re working on that right now… there will be shows outside of Portland.
Interview by Cal Huss.