INTERVIEW: Ireland’s TALOS chats his new record, signing to BMG and his initial US touring
These first few months of 2019 have flown by and in a large part, that’s due to the insane amount of talented artists that have made their way through New England. A standout for sure was Ireland’s TALOS a.k.a Eoin French who blew crowds’ expectations away when opening for Aurora on her latest North American run. French is just beginning to test the waters of North American touring but if the show him and his band put on that night is any indication, he’s sure to smash his first headlining run this month! The tour brings him to one of my personal favorite venues in Boston, Great Scott, April 30th, which has been a home to many an international artist debut show here.
But bringing it back, French gave me an in depth look into his latest record, “Far Out Dust”, that was only about a month old when we sat down for our chat. How he went into this album wanting to make a pop record to the full approach to the album once in the studio, it was all covered. French also spoke about his time with Aurora, his initial experiences in US touring and his experience being signed to BMG so far. Find it below and keep your eye peeled for much more to come in 2019!
You have about five shows left on this tour with Aurora, it ending on the 10th. How have these dates been going? I’m sure a lot of these cities, it’s been your first time.
Yeah, every time, as a band. We sort of did some of the West Coast before and then some of the East Coast before Christmas with Peter, Bjorn and John which was fun but it was smaller venues, was just all bits and pieces but it was cool. But this is properly like filled up a lot. We’ve gone into the midlands and stuff, it’s all just been mad! I suppose you forget how big it is because we’re from such a small place. There’s days you’re doing two lengths of Ireland, that sounds so colloquial. It’s all kind of small town syndrome vibes. It’s been wild, it’s been fun.
Is there maybe something that you’ve seen on this run or maybe something that you had been really excited about seeing on like an off day? Something you did or a city you really liked.
It was the drive from Seattle to San Fran or something like that.
Maybe the PCH?
Yeah like, through these mountain ranges that are always so mind blowing. Really, really amazing. So that was definitely one thing. There’s been a lot of things. We drove through the desert, when we were going from Denver to somewhere. It’s hard to remember this stuff. Denver to Phoenix maybe? That was cool. Like your typical sand storm kind of landscape. There’s like tabletop mountains and stuff. It was properly like the lads in America type of thing. So it was pretty funny but we’ve just had a lot of fun. It’s been taxing, you know you have six bodies driving around for sometimes ten hours at a time. It’s not glamorous, people are like ‘oh you’re going off and doing this!’ Obviously we love it but it’s definitely not easy at times. But I think what has made up for it is that the shows with these guys have been incredible. Actually just these guys in general are one of the most amazing group of humans that we’ve met in a long time. I think we’re all quite sad to see that it’s coming to an end, but still five shows left.
Then Aurora is still obviously so young, you guys are both international acts coming over to do this tour. Kind of similar electronic elements. Maybe how have these dates been going? How have you been approaching these sets?
Well, I suppose we consciously wanted to play more of the new stuff. Which I think was risky in a way but it’s been super rewarding. I mean Aurora’s fans are incredible and I think it’s worked really well. Just sonically, we’ve been slotted in quite nicely. It’s been an amazing series of gigs. Probably some of the most enjoyable ones we’ve done so far I think. And the rooms have been incredible. The one in San Fran (The Regency Ballroom) was wild. We did The Fonda Theatre in LA. So it’s all been great. It’s a lot to remember, these things.
Yeah definitely at times it blends.
It’s a long day. You have ten hours on the road every day then you pull up to a new city.
And then it’s dinner and then you’re there from 7 to 10. Our tour manager and our sound engineer Nick, that you just met there, running the show. I don’t think we would have made it for anything on our own. So yeah it’s been cool, it’s been fun.
Then coming to the music, “Far Out Dust”, it only came out last month. Not even a month yet.
Two weeks or something like that.
Two weeks ago, which is crazy. Yeah I think the official date is February 8th. That was the sophomore album for you. They say the first one takes so long to write. Maybe when did you start working on this sophomore record?
Pretty much the week after I stopped the album touring. I kind of started collecting ideas from that first week. I think that’s just the way I work. I made an EP between so I kind of took two, three months to make the EP. I always describe it as kind of lighting the hopes on fire of the first album. And then finally making something amongst the madness. So that’s what the EP was. It was super conscious, it was totally noisy and angry and something very different. A massive departure. Then from there came “Far Out Dust”. I think as well I had it in my mind from the get go of making the record that I wanted it to be a pop record but I suppose the “Then There Was War” EP acted as something that was the total opposite of that in a way. That kind of helped actually, helped get whatever was in there out. Some sort of madness.
And you’ve been making music for I’m sure quite a while even if it wasn’t something that was released out. You said you wanted to make this new record a pop album. Maybe something new you tried in the studio when you were achieving that, working on that and maybe something that would scream Talos to past fans of the band?
So on the new album? I think there was a lot more orchestration in it. I think what we consciously wanted to do was to really push the dynamics of the new record. Because I think looking back at the first record, if you were to be critical at points, I think there’s a safety in moments. Not a safety, there’s tentativeness. I don’t think I really allowed myself to just go fuck and blow some doors open and just let it all in or let it all out or however you want to describe it.
On this one, we wanted to make the smallest music that we’ve ever made. As well as the biggest music that we’ve ever made and to know it all kind of happened in those twelve tracks. So that was new. And then I think what’s kind of similar to the last record is probably the amount of time I put into the lyrics. The lyrics are like the last thing I finish. I don’t even really finish the lyrics until I’m standing in front of the mike really and they do take the longest. There 80 % done, 90 % done then there’s 10 % of kind of madness at this stage that makes up the last bit. That’s kind of how I work. Because I think they still have to feel impulsive, for a vocal performance. So that’s probably the similarities and then the scale of it is the new, the hard thing.
And do you still play around with that live set? Do you still mess around with the song structure a bit?
For this set, we’ve actually kind of consciously played the same set. Give or take one or two songs. It was important for us to play all of the new stuff successively over a short period of time because we’re going into our own headlining tour after we come off this. So we just needed to feel really comfortable and I think we do now which was the goal but no that was a conscious thing. We wanted to play a lot of the new stuff. It’s definitely worked in our favor because you just find new little bits in it.
And then when you’re on that headlining tour, you can kind of play everything.
Yeah and I think it will be come a little more effortless. We’re going to have to bring in more of the new stuff for the headline tour. So just to know that there are four of the tracks from the album and all of the stuff on the previous album, we’re like we know how to play this. And then with the other stuff, there will be a bit of a learning period where we’re trying to sort of find our way through little bits. It’s getting there, it’s getting there. I think that is one thing that is quite challenging for the guys playing live. Is that I never really consider, and I think it’s something I live by as well, how it’s going to be played live when I’m in the studio. It’s limiting in a way but definitely for this record, I was definitely considering the live space as how this would feel? Not how I play it but thinking that this would be probably be interesting in a live scenario or how this grooves.
Then you talked it about before, you did some dates with Peter, Bjorn and John before this but from speaking to Irish acts who have come here, have spent years coming here like Kodaline and The Coronas. Maybe in this early stage of you touring North America, advice given to you or maybe things you were told before you came into the States, if anything?
It’s funny, I probably should have made contact with these people for advice.
Well maybe then that’s better, experience it for yourself.
I’m surrounded by some pretty reckless humans. So I think they just threw us into the deep end a bit. I didn’t really get much advice. It’s more that you get to see what these people are doing. Like The Coronas, Kodaline, Dermot Kennedy, Hozier, but I suppose you want to emulate what these guys have done in your own way. And that’s the only important thing. Nothing is ever going to be repeated. Obviously I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t want to do what they’re kind of doing. The scale of shows that they’re doing. We’ll eventually get there but it takes time, you just keep doing it.
It’s not instant, none of those guys were instant either. They put in their time, coming here several times.
Exactly, so it’s just one of those things. But this has been super rewarding. This tour, it really, really has.
Then to end it off, you kind of talked about how you’re going right into the headlining tour. After this obviously that’s coming up for you but the album is still so new, not even a month old. You’re with BMG formerly of Sony.
Yeah they’re actually doing this own thing. Trying to structure it a different way, they’re coming at it from a very different angle. It’s been great and what’s nice as well is that, I did everything myself, artwork to blah blah whatever, everything was done top to bottom myself.
That must have been great to have that creative freedom when a lot of bands don’t get that.
Exactly! That was the thing is that we went into, apart from being excited about working with a big label, it that was the only worry that they wouldn’t let me steer the ship. And they were just like oh, do whatever you want. I was just like ‘Alright! It’s going to be a really fucking weird EP’.
Still supportive, they have some powerful people.
Yeah no they’ve been amazing man. Just for that reason alone, that there were no rules. It was just you could do whatever the fuck you want and I was just like ‘Alright!’
So you have that label support, you’re about to do this headlining run. Maybe hopes or focuses for you over these next few months because we’re still so early in the year?
I think the hopes is that this album really takes off in a way that I think it will. And we’re back here doing a headline tour in November to 800 to a thousand cap rooms.
So maybe it will be you next time headlining here. I know you can’t say.
We wouldn’t get here in November but maybe 2020 or something. I think that would be a nice thing over here, we’ll make a deal. Talk to me in 2020 and see.
I’m going to hold you to it!
We’re all working really hard and the boys are putting in so much time. Everybody wants that, everyone would like to see that at that point in a year’s time.