Signing Story: Eagulls--How SXSW Got Them A Label Deal

eagulls_sandykim_MCeagulls_dataFormed in 2009, Leeds-based Eagulls had no plans to shop their layered, post-punk music to the labels when they went to the SXSW festival in 2013. “Originally, we didn’t even want to go, but we thought it would be a great opportunity to play some shows and see the U.S. We had never been to America before,” according to frontman George Mitchell.

The band had received a PRS arts grant from the British government, providing them with funds to promote their music via touring and radio airplay. With a handful of singles and an EP already self-released, the band were gaining a following in the U.K. and had recorded a full LP prior to travelling to SXSW. Their performances at the fest attracted the attention of Partisan Records.

“It all seemed real—what they were offering.

They weren’t just some music business idiots.”

“We met Tim (Putnam, co-founder of the Brooklyn-based label) there, and he liked us," says Mitchell. “We kept in touch. Some other labels were interested in us, but they just weren’t the right people. With Partisan, it all seemed real—what they were offering. They weren’t just some music business idiots.” The band signed a one-album deal to release Eagulls, the LP the band had already recorded, on March 3. “It was a deal with no gimmicks. We get to do what we want with the music.” Partisan is providing tour support and publicity for the band to promote Eagulls.

“It was not a conscious choice to go with a U.S. label,” says Mitchell. “We did think it might be a bit awkward that they were in New York (with a satellite office in London), but communication is not a problem. Working with an American label makes it more interesting and it definitely provides more opportunity.” One of those opportunities was an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman in January.

The band has been on an extensive U.K./European tour since mid-February and will return to Austin for SXSW, resume European dates and then plan to tour “far and wide” later this year. As for a follow-up release, Mitchell says, “Right now we’re just focused on touring.” – Brett Bush