In Conversation with INHALER, Your New Indie Rock Obsession

As they release their latest single “We Have To Move On,” VMAN chatted with the four-piece Irish band about their beginnings, inspirations and future plans.

Having recently placed as fifth place in the BBC Sound Of 2020, Irish indie rock quartet Inhaler‘s star seems to be rising at record speed. Hailing from Dublin, the band have played to sold-out crowds in the UK and Europe, and have opened for household names such as indie pop band Blossoms and legend Noel Gallagher.

Shortly after they played at Elsewhere in Brooklyn, supporting Blossoms, Inhaler’s lead singer and guitarist Elijah Hewson and bassist Robert Keating took the time to answer a few of our questions, ranging from their beginnings to where they’re headed. Read on for a conversation with the band, and to discover their newest single, 80s-tinged  track We Have To Move On, as well as their just-announced upcoming North-American tour dates.


You got the band together in high school. Was it ever a question whether you would pursue the band after school, or was it clear this would go on professionally?

E: No, I think for us the band kind of happened really naturally. So we all just kind of started out as just as friends hanging out and we all kind of listened to the same music and that’s kind of how we found each other at school. But we never really had intentions of taking seriously in the early days of school it was more in like the later years, we were like, okay, we need to decide what we want to do with our lives. 


How’d you guys come up with the name ‘Inhaler’?

E: People used to flag us, and call us “The Inhalers” cause I had asthma. And it just kind of stuck. And uh, yeah, it was just one of the things where we’d gone through so many names that we just didn’t agree with. And then we all kind of didn’t agree on Inhaler, so it worked. 

R: Yeah, we needed a name really. 


What are some of your musical influences?

E: It changes a lot. I’d say Joy Division would be a big one, that we tend to focus on, and like The Stone Roses. A lot of Manchester bands, a lot of that Britpop, 90s UK thing. And then pretty recently it’s been stuff like The Strokes… I don’t know I think we just really love like just classic bands, you know?

R: Yeah.

E: Bands that have undeniable songs.



So how would you describe your sound?

E: It’s quite hard to do but, I think, because—

R: We don’t really know our sound.

E: Yeah, it is just pop music really and, you know, we’re not trying to mask it as anything else. There’s lots of guitars as well. I think it’s a really hard question to answer because you don’t want to label yourself.


Elijah—did growing up surrounded by a musical family make you torn about pursuing music? How did you go about carving your own path?

E: I think just by starting a band and meeting the people, it wasn’t about complicated. It was just, you know, I wanna be in a band with three of my mates and I wanna write tunes together and I want it to be all four of us in it together. And it was just forming my own path that way and just them being in a band, really, and finding yourself.


As a band, what’s your songwriting process like? What is every member’s role in the band?

E: I think that’s exactly the thing. There is no process, it’s just completely random every time. We kind of just all come into the room with mad ideas and throw them at each other and then just see what comes out at the end of like an eight-hour session. And sometimes you come out with something that’s really good and sometimes you don’t, and it’s a little frustrating, but I think it’s just a natural part of songwriting really.


Even if you don’t follow a certain process, is there something that usually comes first for you between music and lyrics? 

E: I think in the early days it was definitely music for us.

R: Yeah.

E: I wasn’t really interested in lyrics at all, I think, cause music was more of a therapeutic thing.


You’ve both opened for artists, like Noel Gallagher’s band and BLOSSOMS, but also recently had your own headlining tour. Do you feel pressure to prove yourself to audiences when you’re the opener?

E: Well, not really. I think we feel more pressure during a headline gig really. Because, before, it’s really a chance to win people over. I think if you’re thinking that you have to impress them all, it’s just going to have the opposite effect. You just have to be confident in what you do and hope that people will like it.


What’s been a particularly memorable show for you? Why?

E: Probably the last London gig we did, for me. Our headline gig, that was pretty amazing.

R: Yeah, it’s been pretty mad. All our gigs in the States have been crazy.

E: Yeah, it’s surreal to actually be over here.


And how did you like New York? Elsewhere is a pretty cool venue.

E: It was cool. Brooklyn is such a cool area as well.

R: I got to see a good bit of New York as well.

E: Yeah, ee don’t usually get to go around and see cities cause there’s no time. But it was pretty special and especially cause Josh and Ryan, they’d never been to America before.



The last single you released was “Ice Cream Sundae,” so I was wondering what you guys enjoy on your ice cream sundaes?

R: I like the chocolates.

E: Yeah. A bit of banana. No idea, really.


You’ve released four singles so far, what do have planned next? What are you hoping to achieve?

E: We’ve got a single in the works, which will be very soon. We’re excited about that. We’re hoping to get to an album out next year. That’s the plan. We’re not too sure when, but really, really looking forward to that. I think it’s been a thing looming over our heads since we were thirteen. We always wanted to make an album. 


Check out Inhaler’s newest single “We Have To Move On” here, and be sure to catch them on their spring North American tour on the following dates:

April 25 – Washington, DC – Union Stage
April 27 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
April 28 – Philadelphia, PA – The Foundry
April 29 – Boston, MA – ONCE Ballroom
May 3 – Toronto, ON – Velvet Underground
May 7 – Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour
May 8 – San Francisco, CA – Popscene @ Rickshaw Stop

Tickets will be on sale starting January 24th at 10 AM. Visit Inhaler’s official website for more information.


This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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