Judging by Eugene McGuiness’ latest single ‘Bold Street’, you’d figure the city of Liverpool is stifled by mean schoolboys, fake American diners and Saturday night vomit. While that’s partially true, what the London-born yet Liverpool-based alt.folkster fails to let slip is the fact that right now, the place is booming with one incredibly exciting new music spectacle. What with The Wombats pop-fizzing away at the forefront, Eugene stands proud as the scene’s soloist, drawing tales of everyday insecurities, all with lush and magical strings for backup. Now recovering after some fearful ghost-sightings in the company of Lightspeed Champion the night before, he’s on the phone to tell Clash all.
Bjork came in and sat right next to me
“Liverpool’s attitude to live music is so good and healthy,” he begins, “and I don’t think The Wombats would exist if they came from any other city. I know quite a few bands around the area and I feel a lot more involved in Liverpool than anywhere.” There is without doubt a strong sense of community amongst the city’s latest talents, and it was at Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts where Eugene first met The Wombats. “It’s weird because we were all in the same class, and when I first started doing my solo stuff I hadn’t really talked to Murph (The Wombats’ lead singer/guitarist) before. But he just caught wind of something and he put on an acoustic night just outside the city centre, and he asked me to play at this night. So I think Murph probably gave me one of my first solo gigs, which makes it even more strange.”
Throw the ‘singer songwriter’ tag out there five years ago and bam; you’ve most probably got some proper downright and lifeless soft rock. These days however, Kate Nash made a Number 1 album and Jamie T is shrugging off Joe Strummer comparisons, though Eugene is still suspicious of that ever-so controversial stamp. “It’s a funny thing to be looped in with. I think everything has to be treated separately, and I think my music should be treated just as separately as others. Most music I listen to is kind of band-based stuff so it’s kind of weird to think that I’m considered a singer songwriter.”
Though after heading out on stages up and down the country every other night, he’s still oblivious to the type of audience he’s pulling in. “I still don’t really know who actually likes my music. If there is a certain demographic or whatever, I am unaware of it. Everyone that comes up to me is always very different, which is good. I was playing a show in Dublin, and beforehand I was in a café, and Bjork came in and sat right next to me. So I spent about twenty minutes stirring my coffee, trying to not say anything and then I just walked slowly out.” Though only Eugene knows how to turn such moments of potential awkwardness into sweet pieces of folk pop perfection.
I feel a lot more involved in Liverpool than anywhere