Many people have their own private jokes and references that only a select group of their close friends understands, but Jarrod Blanton and Harrison Lyerly, both Tech students, have taken this to an entirely new level. Their band, Killer Eskimos!, is based solely on their love of music and obscure references.
The name itself is a tribute to the British band This Town Needs Guns (TTNG) who, in 2006, released an Extended Play (EP) named Hippy Jam Fest. This EP consisted of five songs including one called “Killer Eskimos.” Blanton and Lyerly enjoyed listening to TTNG and have since joined the British band in the growing genres of math rock and math pop, going so far as to name their band after their inspiration.
This genre focuses more on instruments than lyrics. Harrison Lyerly currently plays the drums and is considering the trumpet while Jarrod Blanton focuses mostly on guitar. The two friends are not set in their ways; each will occasionally try a different instrument or they will simply switch and play each other’s. In future, they are looking to expand their instrument selection. Even with possible instrument variations, Killer Eskimos! will adhere to the rhythmical complexity that is associated with math pop.
Even though they are looking to expand, Killer Eskimos! has come a long way from its start of two people and their individual love of music. Blanton learned to appreciate music from his grandfather, who introduced him to the guitar and taught him to play. As Blanton grew as a musician, he attempted to switch to the violin but soon realized that this was not a good fit for him. After only a few weeks of violin practice, he returned to the guitar and has since realized his true musical calling of math pop.
Once both members of Killer Eskimos! decided on a genre, they could start creating music. Usually, their method for creating songs is quite laid back. Blanton might create a piece for his guitar and show it to Lyerly who would then write the drums part or vice versa. They occasionally bandy ideas back and forth until there is a workable song or inspiration strikes, and they write a whole piece at once; it depends on what the moment dictates.
After the songs are written, the Killer Eskimos! are free to give them whimsical names such as “May I Take Your Hat, Sir?” and “… And Then We All Bought Yachts!” Each song name is a reference, quote or pun. The two friends are particularly fond of referencing SpongeBob SquarePants and obscure internet videos. They have, however, decided to attempt to make their references subtler in their second album.
An odd name and a written song do not make for a great band on their own. Killer Eskimos! rehearses just as any successful band should. Most of the time, in preparation for a show, the guitarist will draw up a list of songs to be played then have Lyerly approve or deny it. The band then plans rehearsals based on this list, often playing each song through repeatedly until both members are comfortable with their piece.
The Killer Eskimos! have recently performed at The Masquerade as well as at WonderRoot. Their rehearsals have paid off, and they believe that each performance has gone well. In the coming weeks, the Killer Eskimos! plan to perform at Tech’s Under the Couch. In April, they will play live over WREK Radio.
In the less-immediate future, the band intends to get signed by a record label. Sargent House, the record label of TTNG, is their intended record label, but Killer Eskimos! is not set on a single idea yet. Currently, the band is simply trying to broaden their following, which will help no matter where their future endeavors take them.
To expand their fan base, Killer Eskimos! has posted many of their songs on YouTube and bandcamp.com. Blanton has expressed interest in making their music available on iTunes, but this does not seem to be a priority.
When asked if he had any advice for aspiring musicians, Blanton simply said, “Make a band with your friends, and see where it takes you.”