Despite often being perceived as a genre and scene reserved for those willing to brave alternative music at it’s most challenging and unconventional, the UK DIY math and noise rock movement has burgeoned greatly over the past decade or so. Across the nation as a whole, pockets of fervent creativity have emerged, with a seemingly endless amount of creatives channeling the anxiety and horrors of modern living via relentless sonic bombardment. Hailing from the inner sanctums beneath the picturesque cobble streets of Norwich, the alt-rock quartet Eat Your Own Head are one such band representing the effervescent creativity of the scene in fantastic form.
Previously known simply as Hank, Eat Your Own Head have been enjoying the spoils of underground acclaim for quite some time now. Formed of Ash (Vocals, Guitars), Jordan (Guitars, Vocals), Tom (Bass) and Ben (Drums), the collective showcase the incendiary appeal of the experimental scene with allure and volatility. Offering a characteristic sound that’s faintly reminiscent of the pioneers of the experiential movement, the band’s output gallivants around the juxtaposition of stomach turning downturned grunge heft and calculated technicality that’s compete with progressive math rock tendencies and freeform time signatures.
The two extended plays released their under their previous namesake showcase such traits finely, but the confines of the stage is where the band’s prowess truly manifests. Providing a live experience that’s impeccable and dense, the band’s live show has given them a sense of widespread notoriety, with the band having already shared stages with the likes of The St Pierre Snake Invasion, Orchards, Sugar Horse, Gaffa Tape Sandy, Cassels, The Physics House Band and a myriad of others over the past several years.
With their name established and often spoken with knowing grins nationwide, Eat Your Own Head have now entered a new era of their career following the name change. Brilliantly showcasing what is set to come is their first single under their new iteration titled ‘Poltergeist’. Recorded at Drongo Studios, ‘Poltergeist’ mesmerically probes the anxiety ridden psyche with serrated riffs, corrosive acidity and an unsettling aura gifting the track with unease. Like the material that came before it, the single showcases the group’s skill for finely articulating the often equivocated nature of the troubled and turbulent mind and serves as a thrilling insight into the group’s forthcoming debut long play.
With ‘Poltergeist’ out now via Drongo Records and more material set to come, we got in touch with Eat Your Own Head for a chat on the band, their new title, the new material, the live experience and more.
For those new to Eat Your Own Head, how would you briefly describe yourself?
Jordan: "We love heavy, technical riffs and belting vocals."
There’s a lot of math rock, alt rock and grunge elements to your sound. What are your main inspirations as a collective, both musically and lyrically?
Ash: "Lyrically it's just a general misery, haha. Sounds a bit naff, but it is just life stuff and the struggles I have within it mentally. I've always been a bit of a typical bloke and can't talk in real life, so the music is that outlet for me."
Tom: "I’ve always had a love for heavier music and it’s been great fun exploring math-rock and mixing the two."
You recently changed your name from Hank to Eat Your Own Head. What prompted the name change?
Ash: "We'd been struggling for a little while with the name. It turns out there's actually a load of bands called Hank! So it wasn't easy for people to find us online. That's basically it... We figured if we're going to put everything into and work really hard on creating an album, people need to be able to find it. So far it seems like we made the right decision."
Does the name change suggest a change in sound from your upcoming record?
Ash: "It's not a change in sound as such, there's still going to be old tunes re-recorded for the album. There's definitely some newer tracks though that have a bit of a different vibe going on, that's just a natural thing. Maybe Jord's addition of Dirty Barry is something to do with it."
Jordan: "I bought a baritone guitar earlier this year and it's opened up some doors for heavy shit. It looks pretty nice, but sounds hideously filthy so we refer to it as Dirty Barry."
Speaking of new material, you’ve recently debuted your first track under your new namesake in the form of ‘Poltergeist’. Could you talk to us about behind the track?
Ash: "The track is about anxiety primarily so we wanted to create just a general unease to the whole track."
Jordan: "Yeah, I sort of tried to go for what panic-induced vertigo feels like with some guitar sounds."
You’ve spent some time recording at Drongo Studios, what was the experience like?
Ash: "It’s also the space we rehearse in, so we felt super comfortable in there and were able to play the track live. It was nice and relaxed doing it. Shout out to our friend Mikey Shaw who recorded and produced the track! He really got the most we could out of the room."
You’ve already earned yourself quite the reputation for your live presence. What’s your approach to performing live?
Ash: "Our approach has always been to be as tight as we can as a band and have a fun time doing it."
Tom: "I think we have that reputation because people can see how much fun we have doing it. We want every gig to be better than the last. I just hope it’s not too long before we can play again!"
Ben: "We use a certain warm up ‘technique’ for both studio and onstage. Involves basically pumping your fists in the air, getting a bit animalistic, shouting loudly and mildly hyperventilating. Really helps to bring the energy to the show and studio. We did this before recording ‘Pig’ live in the studios - check out the vid."
What’s your thoughts on the current DIY math and alt rock scene?
Ash: "I love it, we've not really been in and amongst it for that long but it's great. We've been lucky enough to have people like Paddy from The St. Pierre Snake Invasion to invite us along to open for them and the like. He also first got us to Bristol at The Mothers Ruin, so we're ever grateful to him."
Jordan: "One of my favourite shows was playing at JT Soar in Nottingham with Land Wars, Tall Talker and Too Piste. Marty puts on some great gigs and is a big part of the community."
Ben: "The bands are killing it in the DIY scene (in the good sense!). The scene keeps growing and we hope to grow with it"
Tom: "Like Jord said, it’s great being able to just meet other bands trying to do the same thing you are and the people who make it happen. We’ve been lucky enough to play some really cool gigs in smaller DIY venues."
Finally, what do you want listeners to experience when listening to your upcoming material?
Ben: "This is a good question. As a band we were recently talking about creating our own ‘mood boards’ on what we each get out of the song and comparing these. But it feels to me that we work in a way that allows us to craft more complex emotions into our sound. I hope some of the nuisances come across to the listener. But what they experience from our music is ultimately down to them - it’s a personal thing."
Tom: "For me, it’s about the release of emotion that runs so heavily through our music. I also want our album to be the album you can’t wait to tell a friend about."