They spit, snarl and rage but Estrons aren’t a punk band. Their name means either misfit, stranger or alien in Welsh but there’s nothing about them that screams outsider. Their music lurches forward with a confrontational rage, but Estrons are all about connection.
At The Great Escape earlier this year, the band packed out their early afternoon show (“Doesn’t everyone have a job? If they’re queueing outside to see you, and it’s 3pm, you’re winning.”) and conjured a community magic that’s tough to find at festivals. It was the same on their headline tour. This isn’t just a band with strong songs; this is a band with a stronger belief.
Sat in a Brighton beer garden, there’s an audible buzz around Estrons. It feels like there’s always a ruckus about to erupt from the group, but that just draws you in further. They’re a band you want to be a part of. Everyone’s welcome.
“It is a celebration,” starts instigator slash vocalist Tali Källström. “I don’t know what I’m celebrating exactly,” she adds. “But in this current age, there’s a lot more ideal stuff about how we should come across, and how we should be perceived. We’re all very self-conscious now. You go on Instagram, and there are a million people who look a million times better than you, doing a million times better than you, who are a million times cooler than you and more talented than you, and there’s so much competition. Estrons’ music, it’s a lot about just being proud of whatever it is that you do.”
Take ‘Drop’, all hyperactive shakes, excited whispers, bursting energy and written in a police cell, with its insistence that “if you are a pile of shit and you aren’t really winning at life, if you’re just doing a job you don’t feel particularly proud of, just enjoy what you’re doing now. Because the future doesn’t exist. For Estrons, it’s about being a bit shameless and enjoying that.” The band aren’t ones for polish and sterile environments. They like grit, dirt and fuck the consequences. Sure, “it makes for a better connection, and we have these nice interviews, and we all look perfect,” but the truth is, “I don’t look perfect. I’m always sweaty or disgusting, and I haven’t brushed my hair, and that’s better.” That’s real. “It’s about happiness. Even though it’s direct and seems dark, it’s about being completely shameless.”
From the twisted firestarter of ‘Make A Man’, dripping in sarcasm and honesty, through the scuzzy clarity of ‘Belfast’ and on to the pounding beckon of ‘I’m Not Your Girl’, Estrons are powerfully unapologetic. “It’s fun to play with perspective,” they grin. A desire for fierceness reigns, in both love and frustration. Latest wall-breaker ‘Strobe Lights’ is “about a turbulent time last year where I was going through a relationship where jealousy overcame everything. And I went through a situation where I questioned everything I was doing. I was going through this massive battle where I was trying to appreciate someone but at the same time, fight my own emotions. ‘Strobe Lights’ was just admitting that you might adore this person, this relationship, this situation and you might have wonderful ideals, but maybe you are just human. And all the feelings that you’re feeling have completely ruined you, and you have to accept those.”
“You made me lose my mind,” sings the chorus and “I lost my mind. There’s not a lot more you can do for me,” reasons Tali. “It’s all about acceptance.”
With every release, the world of Estrons becomes a little clearer. A little brighter. A little more complete. That’s not down to a sweeping pencil idea that needs filling in though. It’s all accidental. All good fortune and great belief. “It’s all down to luck. We didn’t realise ‘Strobe Lights’ would be the next single. It was meant to be another song but it was brand new, and it didn’t come out exactly the way we had it in our minds.” The song has to make sense to each of the four members, who might have very different ideas about how it should feel. A support slot with Slaves came about after the band walked past their set at SXSW and fell in love. There’s nobody pulling any strings. “It feels really nice that this has happened so naturally and so serendipitously at times. ‘Hey, I just saw you by accident because I was taking my dog for a walk and I really like you. I want you to do this’. We’re really lucky.”
The band have been touring and touring (and touring) “to the point where we’ve become addicted to playing shows. Hang on; we’ve got a million songs that we’re sat on that aren’t completed, so Summer time is for completing and creating.” As for what’s next, “you never know with us. I don’t know. Otherwise, I’d tell you. I have no idea what’s going to come next. We have three options, but we might go record something in two weeks, and release that first. That’s where we are. It’s exciting. I’m enjoying it. It’s about what feels right at the time and sounds right at the time.”
Every decision Estrons make is backed by that same belief. “We don’t just do anything and everything. Maybe sometimes it’s better to not do everything. Maybe don’t do that show, maybe go somewhere where you’re needed. We have kept our heads on our shoulders, so maybe we haven’t been on a million tours, but at the same time, it feels like we’ve been on a million tours.” It’s about “trying to keep it down, keep it real, hashtag. Making sure it’s us and not getting caught up in too many things.” There was a point where Tali started questioning, “maybe I should be playing different music, maybe the music I’m playing isn’t connecting to people? I started asking myself some ridiculous questions,” she admits but soon found a peace and a clarity with her band and with herself. “I realised how ridiculously insane that was. Why am I thinking that? I just want to be myself. If I don’t win being myself, then I don’t want to win.”
Taken from the August issue of Upset – order a copy below.
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