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There’s always a consistent stream of great bands coming out of the U.K. The country has become dependable for respectable rock and roll. The U.S. got freedom and the U.K. got The Beatles and The Sex Pistols.
Well, God save the Queen, because she has now graced us with another great band—Ded Rabbit.
Based in Edinburgh, U.K., the band consists of four brothers: Eugene on vocals and rhythm guitar, Fergus on lead guitar, Donal on bass, and Eoin on drums—the Gaine brothers. Their rocking sound is a mixture of pop, indie rock, with some hints of funk and punk. There are lots of drum solos and oh-la-la’s to get your body moving.
Their new double A-side, that includes singles like “Never Gonna Learn” and “Only Dating,” is filled with deadly tunes—deadly in the sense that they will get stuck in your head forever. They’re just so dang catchy! The lyrics are uplifting and cheery, while the melodies are lighthearted and fun.
BTRtoday was able to get Donal and Fergus on the phone to learn more about touring the U.K., releasing their EPs “Wash Away,” “Wake Up In A Dream,” and “Moving In Slow Motion,” and what’s currently in the works for Ded Rabbit.
BTR: How did you all decide as brothers to become a band?
DR: Well, we were all pretty close when we were growing up, and we were always really into music from an early age. So it was just a natural progression to start playing music.
BTR: Was there ever a time individual music preferences clashed within in the band?
DR: Not really. We’ve all got slightly different tastes, but it’s kind of enough to keep us all wanting the same sort of thing. We’ve always been able to find some common ground in our music tastes.
BTR: Has it always been just the band of brothers, or have any of you done other music projects before?
DR: Yeah, we’ve kind of done a couple of other things separately, but Ded Rabbit has been our main thing consistently for a good while now. We’ve tried to make it with other bands, but nothing has worked.
BTR: How does playing with other musicians compare to playing with your brothers?
DR: Eh, it’s not as good. Playing with the brothers are better, though we do bicker sometimes. When you’re playing with other people it’s just not the same. With your brothers you can be a bit more open with what you’re thinking. You don’t need to beat around the bush, you can be blunt and get straight to the point more, and get on with it.
BTR: What’s Ded Rabbit working on right now?
DR: We’re just about to release a new single in the end of March and we’re organizing a U.K. tour as well. We haven’t toured outside the U.K. yet, but it’s something we’re hoping to do this year. Last year was a big year for us. We played T In The Park festival, a lot of showcases, and different stuff, it was good.
BTR: What’s the band’s creative process when writing music?
DR: We’ve all got our own little individual things we do, because we all write a lot on our own. Then when we get together we’ve got a big pot of our own ideas and we usually will skim the best bits off and slap them together and try to make the best song collectively, as best we can. That’s usually how it happens. It’s all just a big mix of everything. Anything inspires the lyrics, you know, like everyday life, relationships and stuff. Usually the songs are quite light-hearted, nothing too serious.
BTR: Where do you record your songs?
DR: We record in a studio in Glasgow; we’re working with a producer. He used to play in the band Texas, and that’s been pretty good working with him. We’ve worked with a producer before, this guy Russ Hamilton from Glasgow; he’s our current producer. Working with him is really good, it’s good to bounce ideas off each other, and he’s a really talented guy. We really get along with him as well, which is always important. We got hooked up with him through a friend of a friend who recommended him and then he came to our show and he really liked us.
BTR: What kind of personality does each member contribute to the band?
DR: I guess I’m the cheeky one. Ferg is the womanizer (laughs). No, he’s the nice one. And Eugene is the crazy one—we can say he’s the crazy one since he’s not here. Owen is responsible. Eugene is just really sociable and tends to make a lot of friends really quickly and easily; people tend to warm up to him.
BTR: You guys have been playing together for a long time, would you say your sound has morphed at all?
DR: Yeah, it has changed over time. We used to be a bit more funkier and we used a bit of saxophone and stuff, but we kind of knocked that out when we, I don’t know, I guess we just developed really, grew a little.
BTR: What musical acts have really inspired the band?
DR: A lot of older bands, like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin—those come through our music a lot. Plus, more modern bands, like The Maccabees and Cage The Elephant, that sort of stuff.
BTR: This tends to be a difficult question, but if you had to pin it, what genre would you say Ded Rabbit is?
DR: Either alternative rock or indie.
BTR: What’s the music scene in the U.K. like for you guys?
DR: It’s really good! There are a lot of good bands coming out of the U.K. at the moment, especially down in Yorkshire and London. Loads of really good bands, a lot is happening. Our live shows are really energetic. Our lead singer goes quite crazy on stage and throws his guitar about and stuff… You’ve got to stand out of his way if you don’t want to get hit. I once got a guitar to the face.
BTR: What’s a memorable live show you guys have had?
DR: Once we were playing live and Eugene had a tambourine and he kind of threw it up in the air and it went up really high and landed on this girl’s head who was standing right at the front of the stage. She got really pissed off at him, I mean really pissed off. He went over to her half way through the song trying to apologize and she just slapped him one.
BTR: What are your fans like?
DR: They’re good fun! They’re always having a party and a dance. At our shows they’re never boring, the fans are always up for anything, which is nice.
BTR: What are your tours around the U.K. like?
DR: We get lost on the way into cities all the time. We usually stay in a travel lodge and after the gig we usually turn it into a bit of a party flat (laughs). It’s usually just us at the party.
Our dad likes to drive us around as well, so he’ll usually drive the tour van.
BTR: Is your dad a major influence for the band?
DR: Yeah, he’s the one who got us into music from an early age. He’s a music teacher himself. He plays a bit of everything, like keyboard, Irish pipes… He’s just one of those people who can just play any instrument straight away. He used to make cameos when we were starting out. He was in our band for a while when we first started, but I think that was just to make sure we were all in tune. He’s a great dad.
BTR: What’s the significance of the band name, Ded Rabbit?
DR: We got inspired by that “Gangs Of New York” film, because we have Irish roots as well. The name was given to us by our mom at our first gig. She gave that name to the local paper and it got spread about everywhere, that was what we were called. We hated it, but we couldn’t stop it. So, yeah, our mom gave us the name and it just stuck and people seemed to remember it, so we just decided to go with it. We spell it D-E-D instead of D-E-A-D, sort of like Led Zeppelin. We just thought it was cool.
BTR: You guys are a really tight family, sort of like the Partridge family.
DR: Yeah, pretty much.
BTR: Is music making all you guys do, or do you have day jobs?
DR: Just making music. We’ve given up on our day jobs. We were crap at them.
BTR: So what should we keep on our radar for Ded Rabbit?
DR: At the end of the year we’d like to have recorded an album and tour as much as we can, get into Europe and hopefully come to the States by next year. We’ve got a little festival called Standon Calling, and that’s got some cool bands playing, then in London at The Fiddler’s Elbow on Mar 31, and then we have a little break and we’re doing a home lunch gig thing for the new tracks we released on Mar 25, so that should be pretty good.