And Don’t Spare The Horses is the title of the new album, which comes out at the start of December – a title that perfectly sums up the band, says Ian Bermingham, of Dublin-based band The Eskies.
They play The Prince Albert, Brighton on October 11 (8pm).
“There is an instrumental piece at the end of the album called ‘And Don’t Spare The Horses’, but really it is just us, just the way we do it, our approach to music.
“There is certainly a lot of gusto in what we do.
“We have always had the tendency to verge towards the energetic.
“I think it is really because we started first and foremost as a live band, and that has always been about dancing and singing and using lots of energy… and never sparing the horses!”
As for how the band got together: “We have always liked jokingly to say that we were put together by the department of social security who gave us the band name and the music and that was that, but that would be a lie.
“The truth is that we got together in the usual way. Some of us grew up together and then just met through college and later.
“Initially we didn’t think there was much common ground in the music.
“We come from a broad range of different musical influences, and I suppose we have ended up with something that reflects a lot of those different things. But it is probably not the kind of music you might expect a group of young Irish musicians to be playing.
“There is an eastern European influence and the influences of the Balkans and Klezmer, not really what you might expect, and it is difficult to pin-point where that came from, but having done a bit of soul-searching, I think a lot of it reflects the fact that people think so much of Irish music is all about just having a jolly time and drinking and having fun.
“And a lot of it is. But when you move away from that style, you realise that a lot of it is quite dark and dramatic and tragic, and I think those kinds of things have always been an influence in Irish music.
“But with us, the thing we like to juxtapose is the two sides, that you can be listening to our music and thinking ‘That’s great!’ and wanting to dance, and then the second time you hear it, you are listening more and you are thinking ‘Oh! That’s quite dark!’
“We like the gallows humour. We have mastered the art of playing in that tongue-in-cheek style.”
On the album are melodramatic tales of woe, betrayal, conflict, upheaval, rebellion, love, loss, fear and anger all wrapped in irreverence and self-deprecation, occasionally giving way to a flurry of triumphalism or even a whisper of introspection, Ian says.
The album is the follow-up to their 2015 release After The Sherry Went Round and leaps from genres as vast and varied as folk, Klezmar and Yiddish to rock, swing and blues and much in between.
“We have always taken the view that if something is worth doing, it is worth over-doing! And I think we have just become more aware of what we are trying to do musically.
“And that’s what we have been doing with this second album. We have gone further down the rabbit holes we have been down before, but we are also trying to explore new territory.
“The music is dark and energetic – and very tongue in cheek!”
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