Eaters are releasing their 10th album of socially aware hip hop music and is out at the end of this month via This Is Not Pop. The Astronomers Office is out on 30th May and explores various themes including mental illness and politics. The Scottish four-piece spoke with The Fountain about the new album as well as what inspired the title.
TF: You’ve a new album out, what can we expect from that?
An evolution on our distinctive sound. For folk who haven’t heard us before we make music, which is a straight line from late 80’s and early 90’s NY positive hip hop but through our own lens. Given that we live in Edinburgh and Fife that lens has been as much influenced by The Guardian or the sounds of Radiohead as by the folk like Aesop Rock and El-p who are making the best hip hop these days.
Our brand of hip hop has always been unique, but we recently brought a new rapper, Chris (Obselite), into the band which has changed the dynamic for the better. Our structure has always been to allow every member freedom to do what they want leading to different types of projects. The Astronomers Office is driven from Chris joining and the existing members pushing ourselves further forward vocally and sonically. We also wanted every track on this album to be single material and we feel in this we have succeeded.
TF: What inspired you to title it The Astronomers Office?
The original Astronomers Office was a department in Japan around the 16th century which translated books, either confiscated from sailors or brought back from Europe by agents. The purpose of this was to understand the world outside Japan without compromising their protective isolation. The concept of a group interpreting the future from books instead of telescopes appealed to us and sat well with how the band operates. So we pinched the name and in turn it’s influenced some of the imagery with tracks like Agents in Coffee Shops and Disruptor Signal.
TF: And will you be promoting it with a list of touring dates?
Not really, we’re arranging a number of local gigs but generally we are border line recluse. Part of the glue that binds us is that we’re all married with kids and have jobs so we work within the boundaries of that responsibility. That being said, we are committing more on this album as we decided that this deserved to be heard by more folk so we have paid to do a small vinyl run and have created a video for a couple of tracks – all in house. Everything from the production, recording, mastering, design, filming, editing, promotion is done by the band members. The only exception was the cover art and the scratching which were done by friends. Very much a labour of love.
TF: Where has been your favourite gig to date?
We did a gig in a converted Masonic hall, which was part of a magazine launch night years ago. The place was packed with punks and Howard Marks was milling around. We were stupidly drunk – but for that audience it worked just fine.
TF: What has it been like working with This Is Not Pop on your limited cassette tape run?
Gareth, who runs This Is Not Pop has been a friend through the music for a while. I’d (Laughing Gear – vocalist) done a vocal for his self titled launch release and I’ve always been happy to pass him the rough drafts that Eaters have been doing. We discussed the plans for The Astronomers Office and he offered a partnership, which I jumped at. Since then he’s been giving us a helping hand with the promotion which has been greatly appreciated!
The Astronomers Office is out on 30th May via This Is Not Pop. For pre-orders click here.