ESKIMO JOE’S collaboration with the WA symphony orchestra was the catalyst for their first new music in seven years, says lead singer Kav Temperley.
Last year the Fremantle band performed two sold-out shows with WASO to celebrate their 21st birthday.
“These amazing arrangers were turning our songs into beautiful orchestral pieces,” Temperley says.
“It re-inspired our love of our back catalogue and our love for each other.
“After that, I had this little itch to scratch and I was in Melbourne where Joel [Quartermain] lives and said I’ve got an idea for a song – let’s have a jam…”
Eskimo Joe’s comeback single Say Something is a catchy triumph; blending huge production with thumping beats and thought-provoking lyrics.
The sound is contemporary, but there’s a nod to 70s bands like ELO, and the video features desolate city streets, mirroring the covid-19 lockdown in Melbourne.
Temperley says the song was written about a year ago, when Greta Thunberg was whipping the world into a green frenzy.
“The song was initially inspired by climate change activism and how youth were getting everybody to situp and listen,” he says.
“That was the beginning of it, and by the time we got to recording it in February this year, it had evolved into a song more about being a humanitarian, treating each other and the world with respect and love. It feels like now is the time to talk about important things we have been putting off for years.”
Eskimo Joe formed in 1997 and the three founding members are now in their 40s, with babies, partners, wives and a few grey pubes under their middle-aged belts.
Temperley says he’s more likely to write about social issues these days instead of chasing girls and heartbreak.
“In our mid 20s living in Fremantle that’s what we wrote about, but now we are all in a pretty good place and we don’t want to write about where love went wrong. We’re a little bit more inspired by social statement. We’ve all got kids and we’re starting to think about the world these kids are going to grow up in. I always write from a very personal space, but try to put it in a universal story.”
So could the single Say Something be the precursor to a new Eskimo Joe album?
Temperley says they are taking it a song at a time, and with Quartermain based in Melbourne, getting together could be tricky.
“I hope it evolves into a record, but I think the best I can promise is that we’ll get another song done before the year’s out. I’ve got a little studio space in Fremantle, and when I’m not working on other people’s music, I’m in there working on stuff that could become new Eskimo Joe songs.”
Temperley has been on the road with Eskimo Joe from the age of 19, enjoying the sights of the world, but still lives in Freo and says it’s the place to be.
“I explain to people that it is one of the few places where if someone asks you “What do you do?”, and you reply “I play music.” They would never say, “But what do you do for a real job?”
Watch the video for Say Something here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtWeAspTz0g
by STEPHEN POLLOCK