Saturday 18 February 2012

Pulled Apart By Horses // Interview & Live Review

Pulled Apart By Horses are back! The new record "Tough Love" came out in January and is causing quite a stir. The Leeds quartet is now half way through their UK headline tour and after that- next stop Europe! 
Est. 1987 headed to Manchester and caught up with lead singer Tom Hudson and bassist Rob Lee to chat all things touring, their music and comedy encounters with Thom Yorke! 

Hey guys! How’s the tour going so far? You played Sheffield last night – guessing that was your closest to a hometown show?
TOM- Yeah, Sheffield and Manchester, they’re kind of the close ones.
ROB- Well, I’m actually from Sheffield originally, so mum and dad came down last night.
T­- So, if it would have been crap yesterday, Rob would have turned his back on his hometown.
R- I was pulling out a few extra rock style moves as well…
Tom on stage in Manchester
T- For your mum? [laughing]. No, it’s been great, every gig that we’ve done so far has been a proper eye opener because we haven’t toured properly on a headline tour since winter 2010.
R- We’ve all got a bit of a communal cold going on though!

Straight after this you’re heading to Europe to tour- are you looking forward to it? And is there a difference in crowd from UK to EU?
T- Yeah, they have a different attitude to gigs out there and music in general. There’s definitely a lot less, I won’t call it snobbery, but they are more laid back about it and it’s just a night out for them.
R- But, then at the same time, if you impress them they are very supportive, they’ll buy merch and stuff and it’s a bit more old school, they’ll get the vinyls. Over here our crowds are quite mixed, but there seems to be a lot more older people in Europe that are into us, like old school rockers.

Your new album, “Tough Love”,  just came out, so are you playing tracks from that as well as older stuff?
R- We’re going to mix things up.
T- It’s not exactly half and half; we will play a bit more new stuff but that’s only because we’ve been playing the first album for a long time.
R- We’re playing some older songs that we hadn’t played for a while.
T- We’ve rediscovered some ones that we haven’t got sick of playing so much. There’s one, “E= MC Hammer” that ended up being a B-side, so we’ve dusted that one out.
R- It was almost like we cheated on it, broke up with it and then got back together with it- we’re in love with it again.

You guys have a bit of a reputation for getting yourselves injured on stage- how’s the injury count this tour?
T­- I’ve got really weird injuries but they’re not all band related. I burnt myself the other night on a pizza- getting it out of the oven, I’ve got a thorn in my foot...
R- His girlfriend was in the van and she needed to pull over for a wee, so he got out in to the bushes with her to protect her…
T- But, I fell down a bank into a thorn bush…
R- He came back like a wounded animal with a thorn in his paw!

So, no trips to A&E yet?
T- No, not yet, hopefully not going to happen! If I could avoid getting injured, then I would.

Pulled Apart By Horses
In terms of your new album, there is a definite progression from your first. When did you start thinking about your second album?
R- Ideas have been kicking around for a long time really, but then we focussed on it for a few months and pulled it all together.
T- We still had lots of festivals on the weekends so it was cool; we didn’t do that thing where a band pisses off for like three years and then comes back and everyone’s forgotten. We were still playing like Reading and Leeds, and went to SXSW in Texas and Australia and did a lot of cool stuff.
R- The first album was a bit more of a communal effort where we were all in a room banging it out and coming up with songs, just jamming; we had no idea that we would even record an album. But this time around, songs were written by individual members, stolen moments when you weren’t on tour but were at home and could think about things a bit more.
T- It’s just a bit more focussed really. Before, we would just write songs and kind of scrunch them all together and that was the album.
Tom & Rob on stage at Manchester Club Academy

Do you guys still live in Leeds and still go to The Packhorse, which is where you played your first gig as a band?
T- Yeah, Packhorse, Brudenell, that’s basically our weekends!
R- Although we haven’t been to The Packhorse in a while.
        T- Probably because James [guitar] and Lee [drums] don't live there any more.

A lot of bands head to London, but Leeds has a great music scene and in terms of venues, lots of good ones – will Leeds always be home?
Both- Yeah, definitely!
T- As a band we spend so much time dipping in and out of London anyway that you see enough of it.
R- I think that’s quite an old fashioned idea now that you have to be in London to make it, because it’s so saturated down there with music and gigs. The business side of things is down there so, our management is, but touring wise Leeds is a great place to be because it’s so central. On this tour we’ve been going back home most nights which is cool. Once we get in to Europe and we have to spend three weeks constantly with each other we will want to kill one another.
T- There’s no going back! It is good though. Whenever we’ve been away for a while and we come home and are on the motorway passing Meadowhall and Sheffield we know we're nearly home.
R- Leeds is one of those places that’s quite magnetic and people end of wanting to stay there.

Lead singer Tom and guitarist James
You’re named after Thom Yorke’s song “Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses”- have you ever met the man himself and thanked him for the name?
R- Well, James is a massive Radiohead fan and we knew we wanted a name with Horse in it, because of The Packhorse pub [where we first rehearsed as a band]. Then James suggested Pulled Apart By Horses and it’s actually a Thom Yorke B-side “Reckoner “Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses”. Anyway, we were at Latitude Festival and myself and James were in the queue in the catering tent and I saw Thom Yorke behind us and said to James, and he was just like “whatever” thinking I was joking. So, he turned around and saw him and went white as a sheet and got really nervous and asking what he should do. James got so hyped up and then eventually Thom Yorke was outside scraping his leftovers into the bin and James was about 5feet away going, “Thom, Thom, Thom can I have a photograph with you?” Thom turned round and looked at him weirdly and just went “no” and walked off. We were all sniggering!
T- Then, at Glastonbury we were sat round the campfire late at night.The whole day after we played, James had just f****d off, schmoozing about and I kept trying to talk to him and he’d just be like “yeah, yeah”. We were sitting around this fire at like 3am and I saw Thom Yorke walk past, off to clean his teeth before going to bed. I was saying “James, James” and he went “yeah, yeah, alright, I’m talking to someone else” kind of thing. So I just sat there with a smile on my face watching Thom Yorke walk into the hazy distance and then I told him after!
R- Comedy encounters with Thom Yorke! The most serious man in music and it’s all ridiculous, our encounters with him…
T- Brushing his teeth and having his dinner.

 And here's what happened when Pulled Apart By Horses took to the stage...

Bassist Rob

By the time Pulled Apart By Horses [PABH] took to the stage down here in Manchester’s Club Academy basement, the crowd were definitely warmed up and ready for the main course. PABH are a band that works hard; relentlessly touring, giving their all to the live performance, sometimes resulting in trips to A&E! The dark, clammy, seething venue almost seems the perfect setting for the evening’s event; the sold out crowd, encased in this “cave”, able to become part of something special. 

Tom on stage in Manchester 

Opening with “I Punched A Lion In The Throat”, the Leeds quartet come out at a furious pace: lead singer, Tom, teasing the zealous crowd by lurching over the barrier and into their hands. Mixing the old alongside the new, “Wolf Hand” bursts through with its catchy opening riffs which break into; “When I was a kid, I was a dick. And nothing changes”. Tom tells of the band’s motto for this tour- “Shake Off The Curse”: the heavy, rhythmic song is followed by the more erratic “V.E.N.O.M”- the band’s catchy and most recent single.

Pulled Apart By Horses
“Are you guys cold or warm? It feels like a f*****g arctic tundra in here”, Tom sarcastically announces as he and the rest of the band are reduced to taking their soaking T-shirts off. Old B-side “E=MC Hammer” spurs the crowd into a whirlwind as the song regales us with tales of riding the mammoth! The security have their work cut out as the crowd throw themselves up and one by one surf over the barrier. PABH are relentless and energetic and, as much as they give, their fans here tonight give back in equal measure. “I’m constantly getting pissed on by the ceiling” announces Tom, as the temperature rises and the ceiling drips on the entire band and crowd. The show is brash, it’s messy, it’s sweaty; everything it should be; we wouldn't expect anything less, and neither do PABH. 

“Frankie and The Heartsrings” who had been supporting the “Kaiser Chiefs” next door even put in an appearance to rock out in the crowd. The vigorous and epic “High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive” allows the crowd to gain a second surge of energy, proving that the four Leeds guys have a loyal following, and one which is only sure to grow.