INTERVIEW: E’Spaniel | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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In a scene dominated by indie and guitar acts, perhaps the most significant challenge facing up-and-comers is establishing their own distinctive USP. In the case of E’Spaniel, however, that will to find a place seems have taken a backseat to mere instinct. “I don’t know…do people in bands look for specific niches?” asks vocalist/guitarist Christianne Ormston, seemingly nonplussed at the notion.

Whether by luck or design, Christianne, fellow vocalist/guitarist Leon White and bassist Karen Statham have nevertheless become a characteristic presence on Newcastle’s circuit, infusing classic, golden-era C86 jangles with a kinetic drum machine pulse. “We tried out a few drummers but it didn’t really work out, so we decided to just go ahead as a three-piece,” recalls Leon. “The drum machine is part of our identity now and we’re always trying to explore different sounds. It’s an old idea but there’s not many people doing it, so we thought we’d give it a go.”

Lyrically, the album ties in with this underlying theme of bleakness and the absence of hope

Now, three years and a string of sparkling singles later, the trio are preparing to unveil their debut album, Entra Solo. Recorded by Sam Grant at Blank Studios and produced by Steve Whitfield – best known for his work with The Cure – the record is a breezy, up-tempo and polished summation of their progress to date, whose vibrant drive and jubilant melodicism often mask a slightly gloomier undercurrent. For all that they abide by DIY ethics, it’s also one which underlines an uncustomary approach among their rough and tumble peers: “I think we do go against that sort of lo-fi thing,” says Karen. “We’ve really tried to spend a lot of time with Steve working on the production side of things and getting it so that we’re really happy with the quality. It is a challenge to recreate live, but I always think you should make things sound as good as you can.”

“Lyrically, the album ties in with this underlying theme of bleakness and the absence of hope,” continues Christianne. “We like to reflect everyday life; paying bills, getting by without getting into too much debt and stuff like that. Everyday disappointments.”

“It’s not just miserable,” Leon interjects. “It’s a little bit tongue and cheek, and there’s plenty of irony in there. No Common Sense, for example, is about the types of people who have lots of qualifications, but don’t look left and right when they cross the road.”

With a launch gig at The Cumberland Arms (which will also see sets from Slow Decades and Tchotchke) taking place on Saturday 30th June, our conversation turns to how E’Spaniel may sound going forwards. “It’s been such a learning process getting the drums set up, but now that we’ve done that we’d love to develop it and experiment a little bit more,” says Karen. “Keys are another thing we’d never used before, and we want to develop that aspect too. We’ve talked a lot about making both of them more false and electro – to have it sound more like a machine.”

E’Spaniel launch their debut album, Entra Solo, with a gig at The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle on Saturday 30th June. The record will be released on Monday 2nd July.


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