Bands come and go. It’s a pretty common occurrence for people, even those who still don’t play music, to have a high school band. It’s rare that bands transcend that time in their young lives and keep on going and even rarer that these bands receive any modicum of success. Enter Inhaler. With Robert Keating on Bass, Ryan McMahon on Drums, Josh Jenkinson on Lead and Elijah Hewson on Vocals and Rhythm, who is the son of Paul Hewson aka Bono. Big shoes for the young singer to try to fill for sure but Inhaler displays a maturity to their songwriting that belies their young age. The band formed in 2012 while the members were all very much underage and they at a certain point realized that, not only, were they more interested in their bands chemistry than actual chemistry class, that they actually had the chops to keep it going further. The Dublin based quartet is now just out of school and have been wowing crowds around Europe. Their recently released singles, “It Won’t Always Be Like This” and “Ice Cream Sundae” have been garnering huge numbers all over streaming services and they have just finished a large scale tour of Europe and are heading into a few more weeks of touring in the UK. When we reach lead vocalist Elijah, the band is just about to play their first set of that second leg of their tour in Cork, Ireland.
“It’s been so mad”, the charming vocalist says when we reach him on the phone, “But really, really good. We’ve only been out of school a year or so and we’ve just dived into it headfirst.” Elijah, bassist Rob and drummer Ryan started playing music together at age 13 while attending school in Ireland and then found their guitar player Josh. They all shared a love of music, one that stemmed from their parents record collections. “There was a lot of Prince and Joy Division, a ton of eighties stuff,” Elijah explains, “We’ve definitely all had other musical interests separately from each other but then these kind of cross overs.” You can definitely hear this eighties influence in their songs. “It Won’t Always Be Like This” with it’s chiming, chorus drenched guitars and anthemic synths is definitely something that wouldn’t feel out of place in that decade also Hewson’s voice is so reminiscent of his father’s that comparisons to U2 are inevitable, but the band doesn’t settle for just crafting an eighties pastiche but one that is also rooted in more of a modern sensibility.
The song writing process is a very collaborative thing for the act. “It’s like four heads fighting each other,” explains Elijah with a laugh, “We kind of just throw stuff at each other and see if we like it. We are always playing over top of each other, it’s a long process of trial and error. “Ice Cream Sundae” was something that we wrote four years ago and it just took it’s time to become what it is today. We don’t want to rush these things. It’s like a big weird painting with each of us using different sized brushes,” he says with a laugh. With the band being as young as they are they are still finding their sound constantly evolving. When asked about plans for their future debut release, Hewson confronts that truth directly. “We are working on the record right now and if I knew what it was going to be, I’d definitely tell you,” he says with a chuckle. “We are still really young and things constantly keep changing for us all the time. It’s important for us as band to be writing our own songs together. Once you release your debut record there is a chance that you may get stuck in a corner, doomed to rehash the same kind of material over and over again. So we want to take our time with it and put out something that we are happy with.”
There is no doubt that the young but very accomplished four piece will find what they are searching for. Inhaler has already been in a position to have been able to perform alongside some of their heroes. “Echo and The Bunnymen is one of my all time biggest influences” says Hewson, “We played this big festival and found ourselves sitting at the same table in catering as them! It was wild, I felt like I couldn’t even chew my food.” Judging by the strength of their singles and the amount of heart they put into to crafting the kind of music that they, as music fans, love, it shouldn’t be long until newer acts are telling stories about being blown away by finding themselves in a catering tent at the same table as Inhaler.
interview by Adam Fink