Inhaler are ready for rock ‘n’ roll to be be big again – interview

by Gary Ibbotson
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“Yeah, we’re looking forward to an incredibly gnarly Monday morning,” says Robert Keating, the bassist of Irish four-piece rock ‘n’ roll band, Inhaler.

“We just flew in, we just got in today. This weekend is our only break before Christmas so we’re doing the whole festival experience,” added Eli Hewson, frontman and vocalist of the group.

Inhaler were speaking at Electric Picnic prior to their Saturday afternoon gig at the Rankin’s Wood stage, a step up from their previous year’s performance at a much smaller tent.

“It’s our second year playing and third year here as punters. We’re staying until Monday,” said Hewson.

“Yeah, we’re going for it,” Keating confirms.

Settling on their current lineup in 2016 while still in school, the band’s other two members consist of Josh Jenkinson on lead guitar and Ryan McMahon on drums.

Gigging and recording guitar-driven punk-pop rock ‘n’ roll for a couple of years now, the band mates say the pursuit of a music career was partially driven by the desire to avoid the conventional adult lifestyle.

“I think we wanted to be in a band so we didn’t have to go to college but evidently it seems like we’re doing five times the amount of work,” says Hewson to a laugh from his fellow band members.

“We’re not complaining though, we enjoy it so much,” says Keating.

Having only completed their Leaving Certificate in 2018, the band are still incredibly new to the constant pressures that the music business exerts.

However, for their relatively young age, they emanate composure and an assertiveness beyond their years – be that rooted in PR training or natural aplomb, however, is hard to tell.

Telling me that they were looking forward to seeing acts such The Strokes, The 1975, Echo and The Bunnymen over the weekend, the conversation quickly turns to Otherkin and their decision to disband after seven years.

“Yeah, it’s a sad day,” says drummer McMahon. “You could say they were the ones to kick this whole (recent Irish rock music revival) thing off.”

Speaking of the resurgence of Irish rock ‘n’ roll bands, Hewson, the son of U2’s Bono, says it’s a stimulating time.

“It’s just really, really exciting to be a part of it. Everyone’s learning from each other, everyone’s friends, everyone’s really up for helping.

“All the bands have a very different approach – you have When Young, The Academic, us (Inhaler), Murder Capital, Fontaines DC – Wild Youth as well.

“We want rock ‘n’ roll to be big because that’s the music we connect to the most.”

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