Taking the DIY route can be hard going at times, but no one tells these guys what, when or how to do things.
Since forming in Leeds in 2007, the autonomous Eureka Machines have carved out something of a niche as ‘the little band that could’, releasing four selffinanced albums of riffy power-pop and punk fizz while building a fearsome live reputation through hard graft and DIY promotion. Their latest record is Victories, a noisy, stripped-back triumph that gets to the core of what the quartet do best.
We caught up with lead singer/guitarist Chris Catalyst, whose CV includes playing with Ginger Wildheart, Robochrist and Terrorvision alongside his ongoing membership of the
Sisters Of Mercy.
Is the strippeddown sound of Victories intended to approximate Eureka Machines’ live shows? Absolutely. We decided to take it back to brass tacks this time around. It was written to sound good in a room, and that’s what we did – rehearsed it through a little PA at nosebleed volume, and it made us all excited. That’s the real test.
How did the experience of making your 2017 solo album Life Is Often Brilliant play into the making of Victories?
In November 2016 I had a fairly major rug pulled from underneath me: I was halfway through making our album and my girlfriend of seven years left me for her ex-boyfriend. It was just a mad time, and massively influenced the outcome of my solo album. I had to change a lot of the words, because I just wouldn’t have been able to sing them, physically. I was also going to lose my house, and managed to just about save that. So 2017 was about trying to work out how to save myself from falling any further into this slough of despond. How did you stop that happening?
I basically put my head down and did what I was brought up to do, which was grafting my bollocks off for a year. The whole episode left me in a rough spot, but onwards and upwards. Doing the solo album gave me a lot more confidence as a songwriter for when I got back in a room with my three best mates to do a Eureka Machines record. Victories is as much about us swimming against the stream as a band as it is my own swimming against the stream for the last eighteen months or so. And I got some great tunes out of it.
“We rehearsed the album at nosebleed volume and it made
us all excited.”
The song Little Victories lays out the band’s DIY aesthetic – pressing forward, doing what you believe in, even if it’s hard going.
Yeah. Nothing great ever happened easily, but we have the creative freedom to do whatever we want, under our own steam, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The initial idea for the album was that I wanted to do almost a rock opera, based on the band travelling up and down the M1 in our big green van, trying to carve out little victories where we could, trying to save the world through pop music.
What’s the latest with The Sisters Of Mercy?
The Sisters will never stop, but what format that takes is up to Andrew [Eldritch, main man], as always. And if I’m around, then I’ll be stood next to him. The one thing I’ve learned about Andrew from working with him for thirteen years is never to second-guess him. He’s always beavering away on something or other. I’m sure it won’t be long before the roar of the big machine is lured back into power. RH
Victories is out now via Wrath Records.