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Interview with Sean Ulbs (The Eiffels)

Thirty years on and the world remains obsessed with 1980s pop culture. From movies and TV shows such as It Follows and Stranger Things to the retro sound of White Lies and postmodern satire of Steel Panther, the ‘decade that taste forgot’ remains a continued source of inspiration for filmmakers and musicians. Emerging from the Los Angeles music scene, which in the ’80s was a mecca for thrash and glam metal, are the Eiffels, whose upbeat synth-rock style captures a sound somewhere between Killing Joke and Aztec Camera.

Riding on the heels of their debut single I Did It Now, the infectious hooks of the Eiffels brought them to the immediate attention of the music press and less than two years after their formation they have already been featured on the soundtrack to a hit TV show and recently released their second EP, You Got Me.

Frontman Sean Ulbs talks about ’80s comparisons, performing in L.A. and his plans for the future.

Your music boasts an energy and anthemic quality that gives your songs an ‘80s New Wave and synthpop quality. How would you describe the music of the Eiffelsf?

We’ve been called synth-rock. We like that description. We’re really the sum of all the music we’ve heard, but we’ve been likened to everyone from The Killers to New Order. In those cases it’s an honour to be mentioned with them.

While the decade is often ridiculed for its fashion, people remain obsessed with ‘80s pop. What is it about that era that continues to fascinate and entertain?

Speaking for us, we love the energy of the music. I think the technology of the time created a new sound and with that new sound came a lot of enthusiasm to take it to its limits. Like the 70’s and rock ’n’ roll, the 80’s was the golden age of New Wave.

With all that’s going on in the world we need music more than ever to serve as escapism. Do you have a selection of specific albums that you always play to represent different moods?

Definitely. We listen to everything and different situations and crowds need different music. I’m a big fan of the Rolling Stones, or Queens of the Stone Age when I need some good rock music.

You can make a lot of noise for a three-piece. Is it easier to remain a tight musical unit with this kind of line-up as opposed to bands that feature five or six members?

I think it’s definitely easier, which is why we’ve remained a three-piece until now. Although we have discussed adding members to the band and it is still a possibility.

What was your first experience at feeling like all the hard work was starting to pay off? Was there a certain moment when you felt like you were going to make it?

We’ve been fortunate enough to get some great breaks. Our first gig was opening for White Arrows at The Casbah in San Diego. Since then, we’ve had some amazing support from various music outlets, radio stations, magazines and television shows.

Is there one song in particular that you are proud of the most, the one that when you first performed it you felt like you had defined your sound?

I think the first two songs written for our debut EP saw our sound coming together. I think the titles of the songs even speak to that realisation: I Did It Now and I’m Ready.

The Eiffels

The Eiffels

Reviewing the track More, the Music Ninja stated ‘I like to believe they came from the Breakfast Club soundtrack.’ Are there any specific soundtracks you wish the Eiffels could have been featured on?

Those movies, along with a lot of John Hughes’ work, were classics, so we would have loved to be a part of them. I’m a huge fan of the Drive soundtrack, so I would love to be involved with something like that in the future.

Los Angeles has such a rich musical heritage. Do you feel lucky to have formed in such a creative metropolis?

Yes, I think we do consider ourselves lucky. The history and current landscape can be very inspirational. It can be more difficult to stand out, but I think that challenge brings out the best in artists.

How did your music come to be used on The Only Way is Essex and how did this help in bringing the band exposure?

The Only Way is Essex chose our music and reached out to let us know it was used. Our friends at ReverbNation helped connect us. It was a thrill and great hearing from friends in the UK about it.

Is there a masterplan?

We have a lot we want to do. We have new music we’re really excited about. We hope to get back on the road and continue to build on the momentum we have going. We’re just getting started.

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