Are Eskimo Callboy Metal’s Biggest Trolls?
When you break it down, Eskimo Callboy might just be the band that 2020 deserves. If you’ve watched the mega-viral video for the German gang’s summer single, Hypa Hypa – and as it merrily crotch-thrusts its way towards an astonishing six million YouTube views, there’s a good chance you have – then you’re probably one of the many people suddenly paying attention to a group who have actually been a going concern for 10 years already, enjoying modest success across Europe with their metalcore breakdowns and EDM-infused fare. All it took to finally break big was some stick-on moustaches, mullet wigs, spandex and scantily-clad dancing girls, seemingly. They’ve got to be taking the piss, though, right? They have be trolling us all, surely? Well, yes. They absolutely are. And they’re the ones having the last laugh about it, too.
“We’ve always trolled the metal community in some way!” admits Kevin Ratajczak, the band’s good sport keysman and co-vocalist, who joins us via Zoom from his home in Castrop-Rauxel. “But we’ve always done it in a professional manner. We are not only making fun of ourselves to troll the metal community, but we wanted to show that in this scene it’s not always about long hair and being angry. We can have fun, and we can be soft little guys who dance around in tights, too.”
Admittedly, the track is as catchy as the clap in a cathouse and almost as seedy, naturally introducing a whole host of fresh converts to the cause for the goofy six-piece, who are completed by guitarists Daniel Haniß and Pascal Schillo, drummer David Friedrich, bassist Daniel Klossek and new vocalist Nico Sallach (formerly of To The Rats And Wolves). According to Kevin, rather than Eskimo Callboy being the band that 2020 deserves, they are the band that 2020 needs.
“These are very weird times for all of us,” he reasons, explaining the thinking behind the song and its colourfully tongue-in-cheek video. “We’re all in a lockdown, we can’t go out, we don’t have any festivals or tours or shows that we can go to, and I think a lot of people are sitting at home and feeling a little bit depressed because they can’t work, or they’re afraid of what the future will bring. We’ve tried to put all of this restrained energy into our new music, and I think this is what makes Hypa Hypa a little bit special. People are longing for good vibes and happiness. We always try to bring that.”
That’s the past two months and the question of whether they’re for real or not taken care of, then, but what about the decade that preceded and all that it took to get to this point? As someone who has been there from the start, Kevin is understandably keen to stress that there’s a lot more to the band than just one song.
“We’ve had some ups and downs,” he confesses, laughing about the long-delayed reality of their apparent overnight success. “We’ve made five albums, so there’s a lot of music for people to catch up on. There is another, different side of Eskimo Callboy as well. We also have a more serious side to us. Being authentic is the key to everything, whether we’re poking fun at ourselves or not.”
It all begs the question, though, that now they have the eyes of the world on them and mastered the art of the viral hit, can they repeat the trick and hold onto that attention?
“Well, you always aim for that, of course,” Kevin admits with a note caution, before promising that what the band have up their sleeves goes even further in the silly stakes. “You want to go harder with every song and be more successful, but you can never control that. Our next single is going to be even more ridiculous than Hypa Hypa, if you can believe it. Have we created a monster with that? Maybe. But in our 10-year history we’ve learned to free our minds of that kind of pressure, because that only limits you. You can’t work freely and be creative when you allow yourself to feel that pressure.”
It all tees things up nicely for the release of the band’s imminent EP, MMXX (the Roman numerals for 2020), which seems like a bold and edgy choice of title considering this will definitely go down as one of the worst years in recent human history.
“That’s a pretty interesting way of looking at the title and I’ve never thought about it like that, but I like it!” Kevin chuckles, insisting that it’s actually a nod to their new era and a means of marking a significant point in time in the band – just like they did on their debut EP 2010, a decade ago.
“What’s happened with Hypa Hypa is a gift, so we’re going to take it and to work hard to make sure that people don’t regret finding out about us,” he wraps up, allowing himself to start tentatively looking towards the future, uncertain though it is.
“Music is supposed to connect people and that’s what we’re doing. Sometimes it just takes one song to take off. We don’t see ourselves as just musicians, we’re entertainers as well. We bring together so many different styles and it never gets boring. But I would let people make up their own mind about the band and we’ll see what this brings for us. I think you need an open mind to listen to Eskimo Callboy.”
In a year that has been thoroughly miserable and filled with untold horrors, who couldn’t use an antidote and a little light-hearted distraction? After slogging it out for a decade waiting for their shot at success, who can deny Kevin and his pals their moment in the sun either. If all that’s happening for them now is but a launchpad and there’s more to come, Eskimo Callboy might even be laughing all the way to the bank…
Eskimo Callboy’s new EP MMXX will be released on September 11
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