- 14 Feb 19
Electronic indie-rock trailblazer Talos has had a huge year. Ahead of his stunning new album Far Out Dust, we sit down to discuss the process behind the new record, his love for his hometown of Cork, and ditching the nine-to-five. “Fuck depending on anybody,” he tells Lucy O’Toole.
Not so long ago, Eoin French’s bread-and-butter was lecturing in architecture at University College Cork. One critically acclaimed debut album and a Choice Music nomination later, the Cork native, who records and performs as Talos, has only music in his sights – and we’re all the better for it.
Pairing dazzling electronic soundscapes with powerful lyrics, Talos has spent the last number of months doing the rounds of Europe and America with Aurora and Editors – even though, as Eoin will admit, “Nobody understands what I’m saying, at all.”
Now the Norrie (that’s a Cork City northsider for all you Jackeens) is ready to bring Dublin’s Pepper Canister Church to its knees with a sold-out show on February 9, as he launches his highly anticipated second album, Far Out Dust.
The setting should make him feel right at home.
“I think we’ve played every single fucking church in Ireland,” Eoin laughs.
Not far off. Aside from the Pepper Canister, Talos has played St. Ann’s in Dublin and St. Luke’s in Cork – recording a fantastic live EP in the latter. There’s a little irony in the setting, given that Eoin would definitely not describe himself as religious. Yet there’s a poignancy to the music that can feel almost spiritual at times – especially with the recurring references to an all-powerful ‘light’ on the new album.
“I’m kind of intrigued by the imagery of it,” he explains. “You know, the idea of these kinds of myths, and these kinds of stories that people lived their lives to, up until really quite recently in Ireland. When you step outside and look at it, it’s a pretty weird and interesting thing. But I suppose the music itself is cathartic for me – I get what I get from it. Maybe that’s as spiritual as it is.”
Although there’s currently no Cork stop scheduled on Talos’s upcoming European tour, Eoin is more than willing to gush about the real capital’s thriving music scene: “I think it’s amazing. The nice thing about Cork is that it’s so small, there’s not a whole pile to do but make stuff. A lot of the people who worked on the record with us, and who worked on the live stuff with us, are all from Cork. There’s a lot going on.”
But as we discuss the ongoing Give Us The Night campaign, he agrees that more needs to be done for cultural spaces and nighttime venues in Cork, alongside other Irish cities.
“The reality is, there’s so much space around the city that’s just idle, you know? Where there’s nothing fucking going on. I mean, in places like where I grew up, there’s a lot of spots that are in need of some sort of energy like that. There are a lot of things happening around there that do help, but it’s the same as anywhere. There are always a few spots that need an extra push.”
Talos’s debut album, Wild Alee, was released to critical acclaim in 2017, after years of careful work on the project. Does Far Out Dust reflect an entirely new mindset?
“So much happened in the last year – personally and within music. A lot of change. I kind of fed off all of that stuff. I think you can hear it in the record. It feels a lot more confident to me than the last one.”
“This one feels way more concise,” he continues. “It feels more like a piece of work that was made directly for that time. I look at the last one now, and it was kind of spread over four years. There was a real tentativeness in that. Now, I’m still proud of it! But I suppose you do see the gaps in it after you finish it.”
Created across a multitude of worldwide locations, Far Out Dust was deeply impacted by space and place – Reykjavik in particular.
“It’s incredible,” Eoin says of Iceland’s capital. “You’re always surrounded by people who are way better than you. So you can just soak all that up.”
Los Angeles was also a big influence, “sonically and colour-wise.” And Cork?
“West Cork is always a place where we tend to finish it. You’re on the coast. There’s nothing fucking around you. And you go mad, for a bit. And then you kind of come back. It really does help. And I think that’s definitely part of the process now – towards the end, myself and Ross [Dowling] disappear down to West Cork for two months, or whatever it is. And that’s how we finish it.”
‘In Time’, a song off Wild Alee, was featured in the second season of popular American TV series Shadowhunters – an experience that Eoin casually describes as “great”. The cinematic nature of Talos’s sound certainly lends itself to the screen. With his background in architecture, Eoin feels his music has always been “very linked to the visual side of stuff.”
“When I’ve made an album I’ve always subconsciously been making a film, or wanting to make a film. I always say that what I make is visual. And I think especially with this record – it’s the most widescreen, or the most vibrant, that the music’s been so far.”
Talos’s percussionist, Sam McNicholl, was vocal during the abortion referendum in support of Repeal. Do these kind of social and political issues have a bearing on the music?
“100%,” Eoin says. “If you make stuff, I think there’s no way you can shy away from it. But I suppose you then ask yourself, what’s the best thing I can do? And that’s probably to embed what you feel about it in what you make. Because that’s the only way that people might engage with what I have to say. I think on the new record there’s definitely been more blatant points about how I feel about big issues.”
Does he ever miss the nine-to-five?
“God no,” he laughs. “Like, it’s gone from a nine-to-five, to a nine-to-three a.m. vibe. But fuck that – no, no, no. I mean, the last year’s been super intense, because it has been 24/7. But then, I wouldn’t be doing anything else. Well, it’s not that I wouldn’t be doing anything else – it’s that I can’t do anything else. This is what I do, you know?”
From his perch on the cusp of greatness, Eoin speaks from experience with his one word of advice for young Irish artists starting out: “Independence.”
“I think be as independent as you can,” he says. “From production, to artwork, to the vision of the overall thing. Fuck depending on anybody.”
Far Out Dust is out on February 8.