‘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 money-making scam’.
So 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.
“It’s 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.”
– Katie explains her love of musicals.
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.”
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.
A liking 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.”
– Simon on his conversion to pop.
With 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.”