Oh hello, September!
Other than the usual bonus points of Autumn being on the horizon (for me, it’s golden leaves falling, gorgeous low sunlight, knitwear, boots, new coat time, crackling open fires… did I mention knitwear?), there’s always the promise of some great new music. ‘Gigging season’ starts again, album releases are aplenty and generally it’s a giddy whirl of new discoveries.
|Pulled Apart By Horses
On that note (fnar), Pulled Apart By Horses are back, with their third album – Blood – a tour, a beer, festival appearances… you name it. I caught the guys (minus a poorly bassist, Rob – get well soon!) at an instore acoustic gig yesterday in Leeds. Never thought I’d hear them anything less than ear-bleedingly-loud, but it worked in a weird but wonderful fashion. The gig was to celebrate the release of their new record, Blood, which was out yesterday (go buy it now!).
Recently, Tom Hudson from the band took some time out of his schedule to chat to me about the goings on in the camp.
|PABH instore acoustic set in Leeds – photo from PABH Instagram
FC: Hi Tom! How’s things with you today? What are you up to this afternoon?
TH: I’m good! I’ve been rushing around like a bit of a mentalist the past few days, as I’m doing a super lo-fi VHS music video for my pals, Menace Beach. I’ve been trying to transfer the footage into digital so I can edit it. I’m not a big tech head so it’s been a bit of a challenge, haha!
On acoustic shows...
FC: In the middle of all this touring, radio sessions, brewing etc… you’re also doing an in-store acoustic performance.
How did the idea of doing an acoustic set come about?
TH: We’ve been asked to do them in the past, and it never would have worked. But with the songs on the new album – and a bit more experience – it’s something we wanna play about with.
We were asked to do an acoustic session for a Dutch festival called ‘Welcome to the Village’ and thought, ‘why not?’.
TH: So we’ve reconstructed some old and new songs to sound like an acoustic bogan / redneck version of our band!
On ‘Blood’ Beer…
FC: You’ve been getting your hands dirty in other ways lately too – brewing your album release beer (also called Blood – awesome name for a pint!). Did you approach Revolutions Brewing Co, or did they come to you guys with the idea?
TH: Being good pals with Paul Marshall (Lone Wolf), who works full time at the brewery… we were just hanging out one night and he suggested the idea to me. I think it’s a great thing to do and adds an extra element to the release, rather than it just being a record, CD and digital download!
|Tom & James getting stuck into making their beer with Revolutions. Photos courtesy of Revolutions Brewing Co.
FC: Definitely! Craft ale’s the new rock and roll, isn’t it?
TH: Totally! Haha! I’m just worried about what’s going to happen when we’re meant to be taking crates of the beer around with us from place to place.
FC: So it’ll be accompanying you on the rider then? A trail of Blood around the UK and Europe?!
TH: It might end up all gone before anyone gets to try it!
FC: Did you all get a say on the ingredients – hops variety, etc?
TH: Yeah, we decided on a few ingredients, but to be honest we left it in the hands of Revolutions, as they’re the pros!
TH: Me and James put some elbow grease into making it though! It’s tiring work!
FC: I can imagine making beer is tough, but worth it! We had a think about what Pulled Apart By Horses favourite drinks might be:
Lee – a pint of stout
James – Woo Woo
Rob – a shots kinda guy
Tom – whiskey chasers
How far off the mark are we?!
TH: Pretty damn close actually. Although Lee’s more into his ciders at the moment.
TH: What’s a Woo Woo?
FC: Ha, trust me – you wouldn’t like them!
TH: Well, ‘Woo Woo’ sounds like James Brown all over anyway!
FC: That’s what we thought!
FC: Yorkshire’s a fine place for all this ale. Loads of micro-breweries popping up all over! Do you guys have any favourite ales? Other than all the Revolutions ones, of course!
TH: Me and Rob are really into our Ales. I like simple ones like Three Swords, Saltaire Blonde, Black Sheep and Copper Dragon.
On Leeds bands…
FC: Leeds and surrounds seems to be a hot bed of talent at the moment – both in brewing and bands!
We caught Meance Beach, Vessels and Post War Glamour Girls at Beacons Festival. Are there any other local bands that’ve caught your eye lately? Who should we look out for?
TH: Menace Beach are one of my favourite bands at the moment! PWGG are up there as well – their latest album ‘Pink Fur’ blew me away when I first heard it and was one of the reasons why we wanted to record ‘Blood’ at GreenMount studios!
Cowtown are another fave, they’ve been around for ages, but their new sound is incredible! Like a mash between Thee Oh Sees and Devo!
On the new album – Blood…
FC: What was it like, recording ‘Blood’ in Leeds?
TH: Recording ‘Blood’ on our home turf was great!
The last two albums were recorded away, in a smaller amount of time. All cooped up together in one isolated place. But recording in Leeds meant that as soon as we finished recording for the day, we either went home for a reflective break OR went to the local for a reflective drink!
We also had some time to pop out and watch some bands together – like a band field trip or something. The last day we finished up and went to see The Cribs. It was a good way to tie the album up!
FC: Now you’re about to give Blood to us all, we’ve been thinking…there was a significant leap in musicianship from your debut to the follow-up ‘Tough Love’. It sounds like you’ve made huge strides again with this third record – but in a more diverse, experimental way. Do you think your sound has broadened and changed significantly now?
TH: It’s a weird one. I think it has broadened and we’ve had a lot of time to experiment with sounds and songwriting; but because we have had a lot of time to do it, this feels more like a next step for us instead of a big leap. I guess that’s because we’ve been through a lot to make it. We’ve also discarded many songs along the way.
TH: Our main goal was to push ourselves and try something new. We could have made Tough Love part II but didn’t want to retread old ground.
FC: It has been a fair time coming – but that must feel like a luxury for such a hard working band – to be able to take time over it?
TH: It was a luxury to have the time to do it, but also a bit of a burden.
TH: There was a lot of confused cabin fever / writers block moments along with way! It was pretty intense, but I wouldn’t change anything!
FC: So moving away from Tough Love – does this mean you’ve gone all serious on us with this new record?
TH: Haha, I think even if we tried our hardest, we would never be 100% serious. Our tongues are too far in our cheek to be able to do that!
FC: We’d miss that sense of humour anyway. Where would we be without your song titles?!
TH: I know! If anything, I think some of the new song titles are weirder than on Tough Love.
FC: Like you said, you wanted to move away from old ground on this record. There’s definitely a more diverse sound coming from each of you guys on here (including your vocal performances).
There’s still the trademark Pulled Apart By Horses crunching riffs and face-shredding screams of course, but elsewhere, there’s menacing, darker moments – as well as quite a groove on some of the tracks. How did this come about?
You take a lot of influence from art and film, it seems. Did this help to shape the feel of the album?
TH: Yeah, art and films always help me when writing lyrics. We’re all big films fans as well, so a lot of the time we will draw inspiration by something that has struck us in a film. I’m into a lot of Italian horror from directors like Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci, so it’s a given that there’s some references to their work that pop up throughout the album!
TH: Another thing for us was to experiment with sounds more, as we had more time in the studio. We used vintage amps, record stuff to tape and spent hours building up fuzzy guitar feedback and other atmospheric sounds.
TH: Dynamically, we wanted things to have more of a groove. I think we were all listening to a lot of Pixies when writing, as you can here that loud-quiet-loud dynamic. It takes a lot of confidence to strip things back sometimes! Especially when our initial reaction to something is to make as much noise as possible!!
FC: I can definitely hear (and see in some vids) a lot of that creepy horror influence in some tracks.
We love the fuzzed-out sound, and of course, the kinda 90’s sounding chorus pedal!
TH: Haha, you can’t beat a Big Muff fuzz along with a Small Clone chorus pedal. You couldn’t get any more 90’s than that!
FC: On the new album, the likes of the no-nonsense ‘Skull Noir’ and the brooding sounds in ‘Weird Weather’ and ‘Grim Deal’ pack a hell of a punch. Elsewhere on the record, there’s more radio-friendly moments in Hot Squash and Lizard Baby.
Blood packs a heck of a lot in. Do you think the eclectic nature of the Blood will open the gates for new fans?
TH: Possibly / hopefully. We will just have to wait and see. The best thing would be to still be able to please our old school fans, but open the door to some new faces too!
TH: I know people aren’t going to be into all of it, but with it being a bit more eclectic – people can hopefully go on a bit more a journey when listening to it.
FC: I’m sure you’ll please a lot of people with the new record. There’s moments where I’m instantly transported back to hearing the Pixies, Jesus Lizard and Mudhoney for the first time, but in a Pulled Apart By Horses Way – and there’s definitely baselines that you can’t help but dance to!
TH: Haha, awesome! Well you definitely ticked the right bands off the list for me then. And Rob’s head will definitely be growing another inch after that bass line comment!
FC: You definitely haven’t lost that powerful trademark PABHs noise…but it’s channeled in other ways with ‘Blood’. Has it changed how you want to work with older material when you’re playing live?
TH: The new songs are great to chuck in all around the set. The brooding, slower tunes work really well to slow the pace down and give people time to recover after the more intense parts.
FC: Finally…it’s like asking you to pick a favourite child, I know, but what’s your favourite track off the new record, and why?
TH: Oh jeez, that’s a hard one! I like so many for different reasons!
FC: My (current) fave is Skull Noir. But I’m sure it’ll change!
TH: For me I think Grim Deal was the first song we wrote together when I listened back to it and thought ‘Fuck! What the hell is this” as it was completely different to anything we had done before, and happened fairly early on in the writing process.
I also have a fondness for ‘Skull Noir’ as it was the first song I wrote after Tough Love. It’s the first child syndrome I think!
TH: But I think the other guys will have totally different songs that are their faves!
FC: Before you go, are there any words of wisdom you’d like to share with our readers?
TH: Erm… any words of wisdom…
TH: Don’t be afraid to be a weirdo. Throw yourself into everything. Make mistakes. Life’s too short to do nothing. Eat pizza. Don’t eat yellow snow.
Buy our fucking album… please.
FC: Haha, good advice. Thanks so much for talking to me today, Tom. We’ll catch you soon for a pint of Blood!
Pulled Apart By Horses’ third record Blood is out NOW – on their new label Best of the Best (through Sony/RED). Check out the singles Hot Squash and Lizard Baby over at their website, where you can also find details of their November UK tour – make sure you catch them live.
This interview can also be found on Plus One Magazine – where you’ll also find great music reviews, interviews, photography and now…beer-related gubbins!