Music | Interview with Pulled Apart By Horses
Ahead of mammoth Reading and Leeds gigs, and the release of third album “Blood”, we had a chat with Lee Vincent, drummer in Leeds post-hardcore favourites Pulled Apart By Horses.
Hey man, how’s it been going?
Yeah good, just literally packing now to go back to Leeds to go on tour.
You’ve played big gigs at festivals and as support acts. Are they your favourite gigs? Or are the small sweaty gigs more up your street?
You get completely different things out of both experiences really which is kind of the beauty of it. I think probably on the whole, not to put a downer on festivals, playing your own little gigs. It’s easier to whip up more of an atmosphere.
Well everyone knows your songs don’t they!
Yeah you’re kind of preaching to a converted audience anyway but we always have a great time at big festival gigs. It’s more of an event, you know what I mean? A bit more magnitude to it. I enjoy both massively because playing on a big stage is amazing, it’s all good basically!
Your new album is out really soon isn’t it? How have you found it compared to your previous releases?
It’s quite a lot different. We took a lot longer writing this one and I think it shows. You get to a certain point in your career and you get to your third album and words like “mature” start popping up in stuff and I think it applies in a positive way to us. It feels like we’ve become better players now, better songwriters, we’re a bit more skilled at our craft and I think the album is a good representation of that. It’s still got the rawness and the chaos and the energy, but I think it’s the best set of songs we’ve done. Not that I don’t love all our old stuff, each set is great for a different reason but as far as actual song-writing goes I think this is our best set of songs yet.
Will this new album be the main focus in the warm up gigs you’re doing?
Urm it’s a hard one. You want to play new songs to people and people want to hear new songs but there’s a line, you can’t bombard people too much stuff they haven’t heard before. We’ll definitely be playing a sprinkling of new stuff but there’ll be enough old stuff in there to keep older fans happy. We always use gigs as a good opportunity to try stuff out live. Sometimes there’s an instant reaction to a song and you know that’s going to end up in your set for a long time. So hopefully we’ll get a few of those in these gigs.
You’ve said this new album is the best stuff you’ve written. Have you tested them all live yet? And do you have a favourite?
We haven’t played them all live yet. I dunno [pauses]… I think Hot Squash which was our first single off this album is a really fun one to play live. Or Bag of Snakes which is another one on the album but that’s a little fast blaster that’s really fun. Half the album we haven’t played live yet so it remains to be seen.
You guys have gained a reputation as a pretty mental live band. Has anything weird happened whilst on stage?
[Laughs] Not with me, I just kind of sit at the bag watching it ensue in front of me. I think it’s one of those things, with us or any band who gets on stage with a certain amount of energy potentially things are going to happen. None of it is ever planned. Nobody wants anyone to get hurt but occasionally things happen. There’s never anything too bad, I think James has ended up in A&E a couple of times. People have a bit more spatial awareness on stage now.
You’ve had accidents on stage as well haven’t you?
Yeah there’s been a few times. James has copped his head and had to have it glued in A&E, Tom’s slashed his leg open, it’s just one of the dangers really. But if it happens it happens. It’s definitely not something we aim for because it ends up ruining somebody’s night.
Have you had to cancel gigs in the past with injuries? That must suck.
Not due to injury I think. Tom got a really bad throat infection once which was the only gig we’ve ever cancelled. We cancelled a whole tour but that was a whole different kettle of reasons. James got cellulitis and nearly lost his leg. It’s funny now but at the time it was scary, especially for him. But that was in the early days and we got our friend Sam to fill in on guitar because we were going on tour with Rolo Tomassi. And that just made James even more sad really but the show must go on.
You recently did a Lorde cover for Radio 1? Why that song? Didn’t seem like your cup of tea if you don’t mind me saying…
Yeah [Laughs] it’s a thing with Radio 1 where you do the Live Lounge and a cover of a newish Top 40 song is kind of demanded of you. We take these opportunities to do a cover of a song we would probably never choose to do and you just try and make it your own. Change things around, but it’s still recognisable. Try and do a cool interpretation of the song. Usually they go down pretty well. But it’s a fucking battle learning them. We argue about it for a few days, it takes longer than writing our own songs.
Christ, you only get a few days to learn them?
Yeah I mean the nature of the band is that there is always things going on so you never really have too much time to practice, so we grab the odd day here and there. We’re never too organised as a band. There’s always something that’s urgent and needed right now so we have to kind of pull it out of the bag [Laughs].
With your manic schedule then, how’ve you managed to find time to do the band’s very own Pale Ale with blood oranges and Yorkshire Tea?
I used to be in a band with a guy called Paul Marshall who is a good friend of ours, he records as Lone Wolf now. He did an ale for one of his album releases a couple of years ago with this company Revolution. Over time he ended up working with them and now he works with them full time. We’d kind of talked about it loosely before and it was just something that fit. It wasn’t really a massive logistic pain in the arse, it was just something we could get together quite easily. It was a really cool collaboration.
Will you get this Pale Ale on your tour-bus with you?
I hope so, it’s going to be in a few pubs and venues but it’s going to be a limited run of bottles. We’ll see, Ale isn’t really the best thing to have on a bus because it will probably end up smelling quite bad in there [laughs].
You’re releasing it at the end of the month with your first acoustic show. How does a band noted for their energy on stage find acoustic sets?
Yeah we did a little two song session in Holland when we did a festival out there. It’s the same thing like with covers, you get offered a lot of acoustic sessions and for a long time we were convinced it wouldn’t work and we were really hesitant about it. Then Tom had an idea to kind of put a new slant on the songs and country-fy them a bit I guess. And that worked for us, we did them in a way we thought was cool and interesting for us and other people so hopefully there’ll be a few more of them, it’s a cool new thing to do.
What do you do on the tour-bus while you’re travelling down the motorways?
Well we still travel in a van, we’re ghetto [laughs]. We have our travel lodge rooms every nights so to guarantee a clean bed and a shower.
So you’ve no luxuries to entertain yourselves with on the road?
Well we’ve been a band for so long now, we have our odd crazy night and have iPod parties in the van where everyone’s a bit pissed but a lot of the time it’s a place for a bit of quiet time really. We’ll do a bit of reading or have the headphones on, there’s nothing crazy. We’re getting old you see.
It’s all that third album maturity!
That’s it yeah! It’s a mature third album and we’re mature people! [Laughs]
You’re doing Reading and Leeds again this year. How many times is that? Is it still as exciting as the first time you played it?
I think it’s our sixth time in seven years which is just fucking insane. Yeah it’s been really cool, we started off on the Introducing stage, then two years on Festival Republic and then the NME stage and then the Main Stage. Then we had a year off and then they asked us back for the Main stage again! I think if we’d been on the same stage for all the years we might have felt like “oh we’ve done this before” but the progression every time as we’re always moving up the bill feels really positive and healthy. They clearly have faith in us and that’s really nice to know.
The new album “Blood” is released on September 1st with single Hot Squash out now.