Cardiff based quartet Esuna are hands down one of the most unpredictable acts out there; all for the best reasons. The band are no strangers to the site, over the last few years we’ve witnessed the 4-piece expand and evolve. Their music has grown over time, their direction altered, their work developed and yet they still remain one of most abrasive live acts around. The band consist of Josh Taylor – Vox/Bass, Kieran Rees – Guitar, Alex Fawcett – Guitar and Joseff Neale – Drums and all 4 musicians work so well with one another and this reflects in their live shows and their recorded material.
Last year the quartet released their standout EP ‘Epilogue to Departure’ which led to the four racking up more shows together and reaching more fans. With a few shows under their belt for 2017, the band have been busy working on new compositions.
The wait was worth it!
Esuna are back with their new double single release ‘Danger First’ which we are honoured to be sharing, listen to Danger First and Sharkboy streaming in full below-
Danger First is an explosive and aggressive instrumentation from the get-go, a darker and dynamic track for the quartet yet once more mixing in elements of math rock, flirtatious dance punk and melodic vocals- they’ve created a track you just HAVE to repeat. Sharkboy follows effortlessly with an energetic rhythm and a riff that will mess with you. Perfect stop starts and a pelting beat- the men are back with a bang.
We were so thrilled to hear this incredible single release that we were desperate to find out more surrounding the release. We got to spend some time with Kieran, Jos, Alex and Josh to find out more about Esuna and what we can look forward to from them.
Before we get to the details surrounding the new release and that new track you’ve just teased us with, we want to get to know more on you- Introduce yourselves, your band and how long have you been creating/performing live?
Kieran – We are a band from Cardiff called Esuna (uh-soon-uh). Alex and I share rhythm and lead guitar duties, Josh conducts the low end and Jos hits things with sticks. We’re just a group of guys who enjoy playing loud post-rock and math influenced music. We’ve been playing in our current form for about 3 years now and we started about 4-5 years ago. I think it helps that we’re good friends outside of music too.
What’s the story behind the formation of your outfit and where did the name come from?
Kieran – Jos and I met each other from going to gigs in Cardiff. I had only just started writing music. He played bass along to it at first and we wrote parts of songs in my shitty little box room under the name Adultivity. I found our last singer, Howard, online. The name didn’t sit well with either of them so we decided to pick something we all liked. The name was decided in a coffee shop from our collective love of Final Fantasy. It’s a spell that basically ‘cures all ailments’. I liked it because I felt like us playing together was something we needed. A cure. A desire to play music and a hope that it made other people feel better too. I liked the ties to The Cure as well.
Jos then met Alex and Josh while at university. Josh had already jammed with us before, but joined permanently afterwards. Alex had seen us play a few times and joined us not long after we released our first EP. Alex and Josh don’t have any ties to the name, but I like to think it’s taken on it’s own meaning over time like all band names do.
How would you describe the ESUNA sound?
Kieran – It’s changed quite a bit over the years. We used to be an indie emo band and I’ve enjoyed the progression to where we are now. We’re all influenced by different artists and none of our favourite bands are the same. If I had a blender and had to make some sort of Esuna smoothie, the ingredients would be a cup of volume, a pint of loud and quiet dynamics, chunky riffs, whisk in some time signature changes, a teaspoon of clean tone then add a pinch of catharsis with a few sparse vocals thrown in for good measure. Season with lemon.
Describe your writing/recording process of both Danger First and Sharkboy and how you’ve managed to get to this standout effort?
Jos – Danger First was written quite quickly after we’d finished promoting and playing shows in support of our last EP: Epilogue to Departure. We sort of mutually agreed to go in a more big, instrumentally driven and heavier sounding direction with a few new songs we were writing and this is the initial result of that.
Dynamically speaking, this song was quite similar yet a bit more experimental in comparison to songs off of Epilogue and quite a seismic shift from our more general pop song arrangements on May You Be Well. Deciding to cut down the amount of vocals in the band yet keeping a small amount for some effect with these changes has made moving forward musically a bit more fluid for us. We feel like we’ve kept our pop sensibilities with this track while also completely turning up to 11, playing disgusting riffs, lovely little melodies and even angular ideas.
Sharkboy was one of those songs you come up with at a band practice in an hour, don’t really know if its a song, then realise it is and that its just perfect for what it is. Playing heavier music tends to bring out our humorous side and this song is in particular showing our humility in our song writing. This is probably our heaviest song to date too and we probably going to admit that we’re proud its not taking itself seriously, which is what we feel is some of the qualities that has been seen in the UK Math and Post rock scene over the past few years, something we love about it.
What we are really happy in regards to the recording process of the songs is that they were recorded 50% live. In the past we had done almost everything tracked, spending hours and hours recording tracks, meticulously editing and producing the songs. Where we are proud of what we have done, not having a hand in the large amount of the work load took a large weight of pressure off of the band, which made it a lot more of an easy and satisfying experience for us. Having real professionals doing the work over at Bywyd Studio has done more to capture our sound and demonstrate the sonic and cerebral attack that is quite obviously seen and heard when we play live.
Can you tell us more about new music from the band, can we expect more? How does the new material differ from previous releases?
Alex – At the moment we are writing for what we hope to become our debut album. I would say that ‘Danger First’ is a taster of what’s to come. However, I think it will also sound quite different to the single, too. I think we’ve definitely fleshed out our sound more, and we’re less caught up in trying to adhere to the confines of certain genres and just concentrate on writing good songs. Even though it’s clichéd as hell – I think it’s fair to say over the past couple of years touring ‘Epilogue to Departure’ and writing newer songs, we’ve really found our ‘sound’, as it were.
As for differing from other releases – back when I joined Esuna in 2014, just after the release of ‘May You Be Well’, I’d say the sound was closer to that of indie pop, with some sporadic math and post rock influences. The second EP saw a drift into a more introspective, raw and slightly heavier sound. The newer material we’re writing is largely more instrumental, and I think is more firmly routed in the overall sonic expression and features a lot more dynamic variation. This single sounds very different to what we were doing on ‘Epilogue’, and I have no doubt that it will continue to evolve in the future.
And finally any last words?
Kieran – Keep on MMMBoping in the free world.
Alex – A baby puffin is a called a puffling, the more you know.
Jos – Don’t give me that bucket of shrimp. No, I don’t want to jump off the plane.
Josh – This is like someone handing you a bin that’s on fire and asking you to teach it Spanish.
Kieran – I think that rounds things up quite nicely. We hope you all enjoy the release. Thanks to Leone and Tom at Bywyd Studio for doing a great job recording and mixing it. And thank you Naomi for featuring us!
Their single is out NOW via bandcamp and available as a pay-what-you-want!