Festival season can be hazy; no matter if the weather is bristling in scorching sunshine or overtaken by a deluge, there’s a lot going on. For new bands ready to make their mark, it’s a proving ground of the highest order. Egyptian Blue thrive in those moments. Taking every show as an opportunity to turn heads, they boast the sort of intoxicating post-punk that places them at the top of the food chain when it comes to breaking bands.
In that regard, debut EP ‘Collateral Damage’ feels like evidential proof of what those who’ve caught a glimpse of the band live already know. Soaring walls of sound meeting unstoppable individuality that pulls you into chaotic pits and hands-in-the-air celebration, inspired by the sorts of conversations you overhear on another wild night out.
“It’s a relief to have something out in the world,” admits co-frontman Andy Buss. “We’ve worked quite hard to get to this point where we have something physical to show to the world. We’re adamant that nothing’s finished, though, whether that’s recorded music, rehearsing and playing live – there’s always something more we can do”.
The dynamic between Andy and fellow co-frontman Leith Ambrose leads the charge for what Egyptian Blue are all about. Back and forth hooks and raw-throated energy refuse to let up as if Foals’ soaring adventure meets the potent punk spirit of Girl Band. This isn’t just another ‘spirited group’ but one trading modern influences with an in-your-face speakerphone to boot. It’s a myriad of styles present from the ground up, from the very early days of Andy and Leith’s friendship.
“We met at secondary school and grew up together really,” recalls Andy. “I remember showing Leith early Foals when we were 13/14 and immediately bonding over it all. We were listening to them a lot, and it’s weird – I think it propelled us to where we are now today as a band.”
Morphing into different forms and throwing themselves into every note, they mutually shared and passed on the acts and artists that jumped out to them. Whether it was Andy listening to his mum play Talking Heads and The Clash, or Leith’s dad’s obsession with Jimi Hendrix, there’s a stirring musical jukebox that feeds into Egyptian Blue; a depth imbued with a musical recipe that started from a young age.
“If you do anything long enough, you learn from your mistakes,” admits Andy. That feel of trial and error peppered Egyptian Blue’s early days – looking to work their way into the band they wanted to be through diving into every opportunity. It was all about going for it, a spirit that rings out now across ‘Collateral Damage’.
“Some of those early shows we did,” starts Andy, “we would be playing at these vintage shops that were half the size of my bedroom. We would get a bunch of our friends to come and see us, and we’d get completely smashed and not really know what the songs were. We played our first show after being a band for just three weeks! We booked the show, and I turned to Leith and said, ‘We haven’t got any songs – what the fuck are we going to do?!’ I think we managed to get four or five songs together in the end, but you have to learn from those things.”
It’s a chaotic beginning that has fed into the band they are today – taking such chaos and transforming it into insatiable and relatable soundtracks for the here and now. “There was a stage when we were 18/17 when everything we did was reverb-heavy. We’d drink two litres of whiskey every rehearsal, and those rehearsals would go on for like 15 hours straight! Now we can’t rehearse for more than two hours a day.”
Moving down to Brighton, it’s over the past year where the four-piece – completed by bassist Luke Phelps and drummer Isaac Ide – have truly hit a stride. A spanning run across the UK with The Murder Capital over the past few months has been a welcome coming-together of audience and music that’s given a newfound momentum to everything the band do.
“It’s been nice playing these small sweaty venues when they’re sold out,” admits Andy, recalling how the two bands are now good friends as they both signal a fresh new wave of acts making their own undeniable stand. “People are coming down to see both bands and engaging with what we’re doing – it’s great to see.”
The confidence and path now set, there’s a connected ease that can be heard across ‘Collateral Damage’, the sort of EP that leaves you wanting more and more. “The songs came together pretty quickly,” admits Andy. “We knew they would all work together for the EP. They were recorded in different years but written at the same time, so they’re all part of the same entity.”
“We don’t think there’s any pressure on us,” continues Andy. “We’ve got a whole bunch of songs we’re developing at the moment, and we just want to be able to keep doing this. I’m not sure where we go from here, but we want to keep making sounds and exploring new sounds too – making sure we’re open to that exploring.”
From the chaos to the crowning of something undeniably fresh, Egyptian Blue have a cocktail that’ll be served out in considerable numbers in the months ahead. What could go in it next is anyone’s guess – and it’s that which makes Egyptian Blue so bloody exciting.
Taken from the September issue of Dork. Egyptian Blue play Indie Banquet in Leeds on 17th August.
Words: Jamie Muir