INTERVIEW: Glasgow-based trio Everyday Pharaohs discuss infectious new single ‘Skelmo’

Everyday Pharaohs

The Glasgow-based Everyday Pharaohs have been making waves in the music scene for some years now, becoming a regular name gracing the city’s venues. After recently releasing the uplifting and highly infectious ‘Skelmo’, I thought it was about time we caught up with the guys and had a chat to get some insight on what life is like as an upcoming band in a city as musically unique as Glasgow.

When I got hold of them, the guys were finishing up on another collection of gigs before taking a break to work on some new material. We talked about the bands’ origins, the weird and wonderful world that makes up the Glasgow music scene, their whirlwind tour south of the border in England and put to bed for all those who were wondering – what ‘Skelmo’ actually means…

Everyday Pharaohs

Let us start off easy. Tell me about yourselves. How did you meet?

Sean: We know each other from school. Matt and Ewen have known each other since primary school- 20 years – and I met them in high school. We wrote a movie together, which was fuelled mostly by energy drinks and sugar. The movie was called ‘The Bro Code’ – It was like a Super Bad rip-off – it was really bad. I failed all my exams because I was more into making those terrible movies, and then we started the band.

Ewen: I was in a band with my own pals, but they were a bit older than me and then went to Uni and moved away. Sean was starting to learn guitar, so I gave him a lend of a guitar, and Matt was already playing drums. Then we started jamming. I went away to study, and these guys started up their own band, but then the bassist moved away to China, so when he left, I joined.

I’m curious about the name. Where did that name come from?

Sean: There was a comedian named Pete Holmes who has a bit on his show where he says people today live better than Pharaohs did in ancient Egypt. So we live like everyday Pharaohs, and I just stole that.

Matt: I honestly don’t like the name. I go back and forth on it. It always gets spelt incorrectly on posts.

Ewen: Even I have to google it

Sean: The worst one was we spelt our own band name wrong on our own tour posters when we went on tour last year in England.

So, what’s the end goal? When will you guys think, yeah, we made it?

Ewen: Selling out shows, making money

Matt: If we could have like a song in a M&S commercial

Ewen: The goal is to write a really good Christmas song

Matt: Basically, we want to make enough money so we never have to see each other ever again.

Sean: The goal is to be able to do tours whenever we can and keep getting better and doing more.

Matt: …We have never had the what are we conversation…

If you had to describe yourselves to our readers, how would you describe the Everyday Pharaohs?

Ewen: Have you ever heard of, like, Black Metal? You’ve heard hard metal, black metal, have you heard scrap metal?

Matt: If I would describe us as a band, I think I would like to say Pixies. Although I think they are really good, so I think that’s a bold comparison.

Sean: I would say, in a broad sense, it is sad songs that sound happy – with an annoying voice

Ewen: We play with so many good bands like Frog Costume and One Big Fuse. I think you start playing alongside these people and listening to the music all the time, and you do need to find yourself in a space in between it all. You need to have something to distinguish yourself. I think our music does that. It’s not too serious our music, I would say. It’s fun sounding.

Yeah, the music really suits the energy you guys show on stage.

 Ewen: Yeah, we often get complimented on our stage presence and banter more than the songs!

So, let’s talk a bit about the Glasgow music scene itself…

Matt: I think the Glasgow music scene is a weird one. You play these gigs with so many bands, and all of them sound so radically different. I think everybody in Glasgow is in a band!

Sean: I like that, though. I think it can be boring if you go to a show and everyone sounds the same.

Ewen: I think in Scotland, Glasgow has the best music scene. I think if you want to do music in Scotland, Glasgow is where you need to be. Especially music like ours, the punkier style of music. A lot of bands come here for the crowds because this style of music is so popular here.

Yeah, there are so many unique bands that seem to flock towards Glasgow. With events like the Tenement Festival coming up in October, that really seems to encourage them to keep coming and keep Glasgow as unique as it is. Do you think that this flood of music helps bands only start up, or can it be difficult to get heard if you’re a new face? Is there too much competition?

Ewen: No, I think it’s a good thing! A lot of people go to see a band they know already, but then if we are billed to play as well, then they can end up liking us and coming to our shows afterwards.

Matt: Glasgow has so many venues compared to other cities in Scotland. When we played in Aberdeen, there were like two venues. Glasgow has like 500 or something. So I think it’s harder to promote, but it’s easier to get gigs. The bands in Glasgow, at least the ones we know, all seem to be really supportive of one another, which is nice. It’s not cutthroat. It’s a very supportive community.

Ewen: I do think that Glasgow has one of the best music scenes in terms of support.

I’ve been to Glasgow a few times, and the venues there are great for live music – where would be your favourite spot?

Ewen: The Hug and Pint, the single greatest venue in Glasgow. Great staff, food is good, great venue, you always get a turnout, the stage is great, and the sound is amazing! Bloc+ is also a really good venue.

Matt: Yeah, Hug and Pint, it’s so small, you’re literally in amongst the kegs. One time, when we were playing there, Ewen had to stop to help one of the staff to change the keg at the bar.

So, being a band that plays live so often and is doing things the old-fashioned way of getting in front of as many faces as you can, what can you tell us about the crowds in the Glasgow music scene? In particular, ever since the pandemic, have you seen a change in the crowds at all?

Sean: It was pretty rough when we first came out of it. I was fully prepared for the shows to be packed, but it really wasn’t at the start. We found ourselves playing a lot of intimate gigs. Now it’s better than ever, though. But there was a minute where I was like, Oh, this feels different, and I didn’t like it too much.

Ewen: Yeah, people just weren’t as confident to go out at that time, so us and a lot of other bands went back to studio time and perfected things a little, and it led to now where the shows are better than ever, and the crowds are amazing, very supportive. It’s much better now than it’s ever been.

I’m curious: what is your favourite thing about playing live? What keeps you guys doing it? Rather than just sticking videos up online?

Ewen: It’s just fun to be with your pals on stage!

Sean: My favourite part is that this is probably the only exercise that I do…we thrash around as much as we can.

Ewen: we always leave the stage the wettest

Sean: occasionally, there will be someone in the crowd who knows the words to our songs, and that is probably my favourite part.

Matt: For me, as a drummer, playing on your own is quite boring! So playing together is the whole point. That’s the whole point of music that you’re playing together, you know?

I saw you guys did a tour last year in England; how did that go? How was the response down there?

Sean: It was great! We were pleasantly surprised that everywhere we went, we had a crowd, and everyone was pretty enthusiastic. The only bad show we had was in London, which was my fault really because I hadn’t realised how big the venue was that I booked. So we got there and walked in, and it’s massive, and I thought, Oh no…I hope people show up. And then one person showed up, and he was my friend who had moved to London. So that was bad, but we can’t blame London on that one; that was my fault. Yeah, it went great! We can’t wait to go back!

Let’s talk about ‘Skelmo’ a little, your latest song that’s just been released. Let’s start with – what is Skelmo…?

Sean: Skelmo is Scottish Elmo…so that’s what that means…

Ewen: It’s a really terrible inside joke, but we just thought it sounded cool

What’s the song about? How’s the response been?

Sean: I wrote it during the pandemic. It started off about being bored and having time to think about the past. It’s kind of about a funeral I went to. It’s about thinking about how people would have felt about you, even though they aren’t around anymore…if that makes sense. It developed into this big, almost pop song that we really liked. We were able to record it last year. The reception on it has been really good! People really seem to like it!

Ewen was nice enough to share with me an early version of your next tune, ‘Hoss’ – when will you be releasing that?

Sean: Maybe April 2024? Next year sometime!

Is there anything you guys would like to add here before we sign off?

Ewen: Yeah, we want to come play in Belfast! We would love it if someone wanted to reach out to us so we can come play.

Matt: It would be great if we could find a band similar to us in Belfast where we could come support them there, and then they come to support us here in Glasgow. That would be great!

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Xsnoize Author
Niall Donnelly 12 Articles
Writer born and bred in Belfast. Self-diagnosed music obsessive and lover of the arts. Written for a few publications starting from my time in University, having always had an interest in music journalism, religiously reading magazines such as Q, Kerrang! and NME. Difficult to pick what my favourite genre would be as I have quite an eclectic taste. However given that guitar-driven music has always stood out to me and that most of this style finds its roots coming from the blues, it would probably be the stand out on my list. Some of my favourite albums of all time include Jeff Buckley’s ‘Grace’, Robert Johnson’s ‘Cross Road Blues’ and Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer’.

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