Latest release: Tough Love
Band site: https://www.facebook.com/pulledapartbyhorses
After spending the majority of 2013 off the road, English rockers Pulled Apart by Horses are currently preparing to unleash both their third full-length and return to Australia as part of Soundwave 2014. Ahead of both events occurring, Loud got the latest from guitarist James Brown.
Q: You’ve just entered the studio to record the next album. How’s that shaping up?
A: It’s actually going really well. Previously we’ve only ever had like a couple of weeks to record an album, ‘cause you get pushed a little bit by the label to get an album done and released and stuff. Whereas this time we’ve made a conscious effort to take our time, so we spent a year writing it. And we’re going to spend maybe a month or two recording it as well, just because we never had any time before to do it, because we’re usually just constantly touring. So we’re not rushing the album this time, we’re taking our time because we want to make the perfect record (laughs).
Q: That’s not a luxury that all bands are afforded, having that much time available.
A: Yeah, it’s kind of a tough one really, because if you decide to take time off…. I mean, if you’re a live band, a rock band especially, that’s kind of your main forte isn’t it? That’s what you do, and if you take that away it means, it’s your main source of income, it’s what you love to do and stuff and you miss it really badly. It’s like withdrawal; it’s really hard to not play live because we are essentially a live rock band, the best thing we do is play live. It’s been really tough not playing, but it’s the right thing to do, because it’s going to make the record better than the last one.
Q: It’s even more difficult nowadays, with trends changing so quickly and listeners often being increasingly fickle, if you’re not constantly on people’s radars, even for a year or so, you can lose considerable momentum.
A: That’s so true. Yeah, that was obviously a concern, but I guess for all of us to take a year out is a really long time for us. We’ve only been going about five years, but for four years we’ve basically been touring constantly. I think it was definitely the right time to stop, even just for a year, ‘cause some bands take fucking two to three years before their next album. So in the end it probably isn’t quite that long, but we did do a couple, we did maybe three shows this year, just so we weren’t completely… To show we hadn’t completely vanished. We did a couple of big shows that were spread out over the year, just to make sure we were touching base with the fans and stuff, so they don’t think we’ve actually vanished and we’re not going to do anything. But yeah, it’s so true; trends change so quickly, and I think when we started we literally didn’t stop for two records. And it was kinda hard, but it was definitely the right time to take eight months out and try and write the best thing we can, ‘cause we’d never had the opportunity before. We’ve never had more than a couple of months to write an album, ‘cause of touring. It’s one of those things; it’s a double-edged sword or whatever.
Q: When is the new album likely to surface then?
A: Well, we’re ten days into it now, and we’ve done about three songs so far. And we’re going to keep working. We’re going to stop for Christmas, then come back in during January. So it could be, before or after the summer basically. It depends how it goes. We don’t want to just record it and then just… We want to record it, and then go back to it, and go, ‘right, is this perfect? Is this what we want?’ It’ll definitely be next year, without a doubt.
Q: During that time you’ll also be headed to Australia for Soundwave, which will surely be a welcome escape from the studio.
A: I tell you what it’s going to be, it’s going to be a bloody holiday (laughs). People say, ‘Oh, you’ve got Soundwave Festival in February’. And we’re like, ‘Yeah, we can’t wait to go on holiday’. And they’re like, ‘it’s not a holiday, you’re working’. And we’re like, ‘Well, it’s a bit of a holiday, because it’s in Australia’ (laughs). We got offered that, and we just said yes straight away, because we kind of knew that we’d be in this sort of position now where we’d have finished writing and recording the album. It’s the perfect thing to go play the new songs and that. So we’re going to come over and try out some of the new songs from the record.
We did Australia in 2011, but we only did three shows though. We kind of stopped off on our way to, I think we were doing South by Southwest, which is a showcase thing in Texas. We came over in 2011, and I keep saying that we literally had the best time ever. It was just so good, because we’d never been before and none of us had actually been to Australia as well. We had the best time, but I think we were the most hung-over we’ve ever been (laughs).
Q: Shifting topics, but I’m always intrigued when talking to English bands about the music press over there. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems like an extremely harsh environment, whereby bands are built up rapidly early on, and then torn down by the same publications. How has Pulled Apart by Horses been treated by your own music media?
A: We didn’t get like loads and loads of support early on. We were kind of very underground, sort of DIY when we first started out, and were literally flogging it, playing as many shows as we could in toilets and stuff. So we didn’t get that whole sort of thing where the press will just grab a new band and fling them up into the sky, and everyone will go crazy about them. Then, the next record, they’ve kind of reached their height in the press before they’ve even got a second album out, which is kind of weird. And it’s not a very natural process really. So it kind of happened the other way around for us. We were going for about six, seven, maybe eight months and we were just getting lots of fans live, because our shows were pretty bonkers. Like early on a lot of us were getting hurt and ended up in hospital and all sorts of weird stuff. Nobody really picked up on us, but then it just slowly sort of built up, and then it was a very natural press thing. It was a weird thing; it was like ‘pass the parcel’ almost.
We just stayed at that level, so we didn’t go straight to the front cover of music magazines and stuff like that. It was a very natural sort of steady build; which is perfect really because that’s what you want. It’s kind of obvious when a new band hasn’t even got a record out and they’re just flogged on the front cover of a magazine. Like you say, they’ll build them up, and they’ll put them on the front of the NME or Kerrang!, and then next week there’s someone else on the front cover, and so on, and so on, there’s a new band. And then those bands just disappear.
The press have been really good to us over here. Whenever we’ve done anything this year, they’ve kind of, we’ve only done a few things because we’ve been writing, but they’ll be asking us what we’re doing, when’s the record coming out and stuff, which is awesome, because it means they’re interested. They’re not just doing it because we’re a new, crazy band that wear neon pink jeans and have blue dyed hair or whatever. They’re actually interested. But it’s pretty cut-throat over here, it’s like there’s a new bloody band every minute that everyone loves, and then the next thing you know they’ve disappeared into the void of nothingness.
Q: How disconcerting is it when you see that happen to bands you’re a fan of?
A: Well, it’s, more that being a musician you obviously make friends with other bands and musicians and stuff. And you can see what it does to people; it’s fucking harsh. The Klaxons had it pretty tough; they had it quite tough out here. And it’s not the band’s fault; it’s the press’s fault. They made them out to be this world, stadium-selling band, and they’re not really, they’ve just started out. They’ve just brought their debut record out, but they make them out to be this massive, huge thing. It’s kind of harsh, because if they make you out to be that, you have to stay at that level. You have to make it look like you are, and you’re not, and it can just crumble everything. It’s kind of harsh (laughs).
Q: Any famous last words?
A: Come and watch us, and sorry about the blood (laughs).