The members of Eskimo Callboy speak very passionately about their love of creating music and just as, if not more, avidly about having a head banging, house-trashing party. Most would describe their sound as a unique blend of metalcore, scenecore and electronica, but these guys could care less what you call it as long as you’re here to get down and kick back a few. The eccentric sextet from Germany has taken on a grueling tour schedule at the beginning of the year, fresh off their full-length album release We Are The Mess, but eagerly await getting back onto a live stage where they thrive. We caught up with lead vocalist, Kevin Ratajczak, to talk about Eskimo Callboy’s whirlwind touring schedule and their plans to bring the party to a city near you.
Substream Magazine: What are you guys up to now?
Kevin Ratajczak: At the moment we’re trying to recover from our holiday eating habits. We’ve gone too far this time! But we all enjoy the days with our families and friends. Also we’re practicing our new songs for our upcoming shows! Everything is supposed to get bigger and brighter!
It only has been 3 weeks without a show, but we already miss the stage. I think, the new tour is gonna be a big release of all our restrained energy!
SM: Give us some background on your band. How did you guys meet?
KR: Oh, that’s quite simple. Most of us know each other from school. We had another band before Eskimo Callboy, but we quit. Later then, we came back together and searched for a new singer.
We posted a want ad over the internet, and actually, Sushi was the first and only one that was interested. We met him, and he instantly fit in our little robber band. That’s how we started. We then recorded some stuff in our studio, thought it was cool, uploaded it, and that’s how we started Eskimo Callboy in 2010.
SM: What bands have been some of your biggest influences growing up?
KR: First of all, we needed something to get us into rock music. And this for me, definitely was the old music from my dad. Deep Purple, Jethro Tull and Led Zeppelin to mention only a few names. But if you are a musician, you don’t only stick to one sort of genre. You may have a favorite, but you always can find the beauty of a lot of genres. We all went through tons of Sepultura, Deftones and Slipknot. As you grow up, you always also grow up musically, everything’s just more distinct. And when you start making your own music, it’s necessary to know where you come from, in a musical way. But then it’s not about copying, but about adding your own style to what you love most. That’s how making music works, and that’s how music develops.
SM: How would you describe your music for someone who’s never heard of you before?
KR: Mmh… actually I have to do that very often when I tell people that I make music for a living. Next question then is always, what kind of music we make. I always tell them we make hard metal music that is danceable and includes both hard breakdowns and sing-along pop choruses. That pretty much sums it up. But even more important is the feeling that you provide. A good mood is omnipresent at our show. Whether you already had it when you came to the show, or you got it during the show.
SM: Eskimo Callboy has a busy year planned. You’re going to get on the road soon on your sold out album release tour. What’s it like to sell out a headlining tour?
KR: That means a lot us! See, all the people coming to the shows, more or less know what to expect. And they like that. Whether they have seen it on Youtube or at the last EC show they’ve been to. And for us, this is an indicator that we do things right. And that again is the best feeling. Because what the people like to see, is what we love most in our lives. A good combination.
SM: What’s your favorite thing about playing live shows?
KR: As I said, to meet people, that like to see what we create with our minds. I used to play soccer. And being on stage is like a one hour goal celebration. And of course everything that happens around the actual stage time. Meeting a lot of different people, making new friends, meeting old ones, seeing nice places all over the world. It’s just very adventurous for all of us.
SM: Later on, you guys will be traveling to Japan to play a few dates on the Geki-Rock Tour. Have you ever traveled to Japan before?
KR: Yes, we went to Japan at the end of 2012. It was our first trip to another [country] by plane. We were so excited, even a bit afraid. We couldn’t understand that we’re gonna fly 11 hours to another country and there are still people that want to see us live. This is still an unbelievable feeling. I mean, with the help of the internet you can guess a little bit how the people in different countries like your music, or if they know you at all…but this was the first time ever for us. And you never forget your first ones. Plus, Japan is a very beautiful country and the people there are incredibly friendly. We’re looking forward to the next shows there.
SM: What’s been your favorite place to travel to?
KR: That’s not easy to say because every place has its special thing. As I said, Japan was amazing, the people like to sing along with your songs more than in other countries, then there are the States of course. It was so amazing to tour the States at the beginning of 2013. We played the Fight To Unite Tour and found ourselves in the middle of a bunch of rap acts. But it worked. To me, as a German, the people in the U.S. seem very open minded. They accepted a metal act although they came to see hip-hop. That wouldn’t happen in Germany. And Russia…oh my god. Russia is just crazy. They literally party like there’s no tomorrow. I think of all nations we played for, they appreciate the live shows of their favorite bands most. And besides the people, every country offered us a wide range of cultural must-sees. And we did, as long we had time for sightseeing.
SM: Then in March, you’ll be kicking off a European Tour with Iwrestledabearonce. I saw on your video blog posts that you guys are big fans of theirs. What’s it like to play with a band you look up to?
KR: Oh, that’s an honor for us. I listened to their music regularly a few years ago. That was before Eskimo Callboy was founded. I always liked their style. Somehow crazy as fuck but still melodic. And they have a new singer as I saw, but still incredibly good. Can’t wait to meet the guys in IWABO. And their current album is also sick. For me, sharing the stage with bigger bands like IWABO is something like a milestone. You can see how far you’ve gotten. Now that you play with bands that you are actually fan of, it makes you look back where everything started, and that’s just something that keeps you grounded.
SM: Which bands have been some of your favorites to tour and play with so far?
KR: There are so many bands, that we liked to play with. For us, it doesn’t matter what music a band makes, behind the stage the only thing that matters are personalities. Some bands behave like soccer fans that try to defend their club against others. “Oh, you’re making post-hardcore with electronic elements? Sorry, I’m true metal. I hate you!” That’s bullshit. A good example of an absolutely nice band is Caliban. They established metalcore in Germany from the very beginning. A band I would call ”true.” But they always treated us judging from our characters, not our music. And so we became friends. Another cool band is Callejon, we toured with them as their support two times. Very friendly guys that became friends of ours. And of course bands like The Browning and Close to Home, which supported us on our last European tour. Absolutely laid back guys that you can perfectly hang with.
SM: What have been some of your favorite festivals you’ve gotten to be part of?
KR: We played Wacken last year. It was just amazing to see so many people jumping and dancing to our music. We love the festival summers, everybody is in a good mood, it’s like a holiday with music. What place could be better for us to play our music at? We also played some more German festivals like With Full Force, Summerbreeze or the Reload Festival, or the Greenfield Festival in Switzerland. But our big dream is be part of the Vans Warped Tour in the US. Awesome festival…as far as we can judge it from here!
SM: Your album We Are The Mess is out today, January 10. How is this album different from your previous releases?
KR: One could say it’s a little bit more mature. We like what we’ve done so far, and we didn’t want to change a lot. But we also have some other sides. One of our biggest ideals of the band, was to never set limits to our creative minds. People always try to pigeon-hole you. They wanna classify your music to feel more comfortable. People just need this. But when you adopt these artificial borders as a band, you limit yourself. I would say, the new album shows some more sides of Eskimo Callboy. Of course, we still like to fuck your brain with our music and party the shit out of everyone, but there are times that even we reflect about all the things that happened. The album has more peaks that point in different directions.
SM: What are you most excited to show your fans with this album?
KR: Our music?! I know, that sounds silly, but we did not have any expectations. We just made a record with all our hearts, and we think it’s cool. And we hope that the people still like us for what we are. We always made music primarily for ourselves, you have to like yourself before others can like you. Only that way, you can transfer emotions to your listeners. We’ll see if that works again!
SM: What track is your favorite?
KR: Oh, I can only talk for myself. And I couldn’t decide between “Final Dance,” “Jagger Swagger” and “Blood Red Lips”…the other guys partly like “We Are The Mess,” “Never Let You Know” and “Voodoo Circus”…so, it’s very balanced.
SM: Will you be releasing any new music videos soon for your new album?
KR: Yes we will! And I’m very excited. Next single. Can’t tell which one it is at that point, but it will have more story than “We Are The Mess” plus the story is hilarious. Hope our ideas can be implemented as we want it.
SM: After you’re done touring, what’s next for Eskimo Callboy?
Writing a new album, being with the family, the never-ending circle of a musician’s life I guess! But we live for the present. We don’t think too far in the future. We wanna absorb every second of this wonderful life we lead.
SM: Anything you want to say to your fans?
KR: We can’t thank you guys enough for supporting our music that much. Without all our loyal people we couldn’t do what we love most. We hope you like our new album We Are The Mess, ’cause we’ve put all our hearts into it. And maybe then, we can have another wonderful year together, with great shows, cool people and a lot of good memories!
We Are The Mess out today on iTunes!
Interview by Stephanie Roe