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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Giant Eagles - Second Landing

The Dutch band GIANT EAGLES has recently released its sophomore album, the aptly titled "Second Landing". 

On this latest delivery, the band has come up with a batch of tunes that are pretty much impossible to resist. It’s quite hard to pull out a couple of songs to be favorites since the entire album is so amazing. From "Evil Robot Nation" to "Zombie Apocalypse", these songs will have you singing along all day long. If you dig the Riverdales or the Lillingtons this is going to be right up your alley.

We are only at the end of June but it is safe to say that this flawless record will definitely be in the TOP 3 of the best records of 2020. So it was time for this blog to have a conversation with veteran of the Dutch rock'n'roll scene, guitar player Marien Nicotine

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about you and your musical background to introduce yourself? Can you also introduce the other members of The Giant Eagles who participated in the recordings? what instrument are they playing? 

I am Marien Jonkers, AKA Marien Nicotine. I’m one of the founding members of Dutch punk rock band The Apers, who had (and still has to this day, but without me) a great stretch in the 90's, and ‘00’s, with lots of touring, records and fun until I wanted out in 2007.

Three years after I quit The Apers I started a band called The Windowsill, and a project/studio-thing called Giant Eagles (which was kind of already there since 2003). Both bands don’t play that much live, because that is what drove me out of The Apers after so many years on the road. Giant Eagles never even played a show.

The Windowsill is more or less a continuation of the songwriting I did for The Apers, more personal lyrics. Giant Eagles on the other hand is more a fun project where we take certain subjects like murder, war, wolfs, or whatever is fun to write about, and make it into a song. We started out as the Real Ramoneroonies (myspace!) and changed the name when we recorded the debut album in 2014.

Another reason Giant Eagles came to be was the fact that Simon Speechless, who is the singer and producer, wanted to learn audio engineering and producing, so he needed something to practice on…and that became Giant Eagles.

The first song we (me and Simon) ever did was ‘I Don’t Love Nobody’ which is on the Second Landing LP now. That song is 17 years old! Just because we aren’t really a band doesn’t mean we don’t have band members.

When we record we have Ivo Backbreaker (Apers, Lone Wolf, Windowsill) on drums and Ox Accelerator (Accelerators, Lone Wolf) on bass guitar. I write almost all the songs.

2) About this sophomore full length album "Second Landing",  what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? 

We recorded lots of demo’s over the years. Like I said, some songs are very old, and some were written last year. I have a big tape collection (used to be tapes, now it’s on my phone, and just this year I’m using Garageband) of half written songs, or ideas. Sometimes i just go back to those half products and finish them.

Then we usually record the drums in a rehearsal room with a full mic set, and take those drum tracks to our home studio at my place. Here we digitally add guitars and sing. Sometimes we re-amp, but most of the time it’s just easier to use the virtual amps. People might think that is sacrilegious, but we don’t care, it works really good for us.

3) Do you use the nowadays digital recording technology or do you only work with analog machines in analog studios?

We take full advantage of nowadays digital recording technology. It’s faster, cheaper, it makes us sound better, and in our little style bubble nobody really minds, or notices.

4) How would you describe the music you're playing? 

With all my bands it’s punk rock. Doesn’t matter Giant Eagles is synth heavy, it’s still punk rock.
For Giant Eagles obvious influences are Ramones, Riverdales, Misfits, but on the cover of the first record there was a Duran Duran button on the leather jacket the eagle was wearing, and on the ‘Second Landing’ cover there is little nod to David Bowie, who was one of my favorites.

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write a new song?

I find it easy to write songs about heartbreak, and miserable people, usually girls. I also write a lot of songs about motorbikes. But anything goes. I find it hard to write smart witty political songs, because of the nuances you can’t really put into a language that isn’t your own. So I’m not changing the world unfortunately.

6) Do you have a new video on youtube  featuring a track from the new LP?? 

No, we didn’t really anticipate this buzz around our new album, so we are kind of caught of guard. We did a single for Spotify and such, but that was it. The label told me yesterday that a re-press is already on the way. So, maybe we should do a video, could be a lot of fun! Order some eagle outfits and run through a forest. (Note: I just can't wait to see that! ha ha ha Eric)

7) What can concert goers expect at a The Giant Eagles gig? Are you guys playin' any famous cover songs during the gig? 

This probably comes a disappointment, but Giant Eagles do not play shows, due to the nature of the band, and the busy lives of the band members. We would have done one show this year, our debut show at a festival in Italy called Raduno, to celebrate the release of ‘Second Landing’. Unfortunately it got canceled because of the corona-virus. But we will be there next summer.

8) Are there any bands in Holland today you consider yourself close to musically speaking?

With Giant Eagles not really anyone, I honestly don’t think anybody in Holland knows what we do or who we are apart from a small group of people. This is also because we don’t play shows of course. Most fans are in the USA, Norway and Germany (at least, according to Spotify). With The Windowsill we are good friends with The Real Danger and Lone Wolf. Both bands are from Rotterdam.

9) To what kind of music did you listen to as a teenager? What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have an influence on your own work today.

Early 90ties, so Nirvana, Screeching Weasel, Weezer, NOFX, REM and a lot of other stuff. Great period for music I think, but everyone says that about their teenage years right? Main influences right now for songwriting are Tom Petty (catchy, but simple) Thin Lizzy (great rhyming, great verses) and Ramones of course… But we also often ask ourselves: ‘What would Rivers do?’

10) What are the plans for the rest of 2020 as far as The Giant Eagles are concerned?

We will be hopefully rehearsing a little for Raduno 2021, and maybe do some demo’s for a new album. This one took 6 years to finish, so we should get a move on. With The Windowsill we will probably release our 4th album end of this year.

11) Anything you wanna add?

Just thank you for the interview, and thanks for liking the record so much!


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