PULLED APART BY HORSES are a band who you can’t help but like. Refusing to sit within a specific genre, the only thing that defines the group is their ability to balance fun and mischief with a very real sense of brutality. On the day before the release of their fourth studio album, recorded in the most Beefheartian of manners – intoxicated in the splendid isolation of the Welsh wilderness – we sat down with guitarist James Brown about their new album, The Haze, getting back on the road and taking inspiration from the work ethic of Ty Segall.
What’s influenced this album and what’s changed since the last?
Well, with the passing of David Bowie and covering Ziggy Stardust we’ve been listening to David Bowie a lot; and with listening to Bowie we’ve been listening to Iggy Pop a lot due to the close connection between the two. But compared to our previous albums we’ve been listening to a lot more of the classics at the beginning of writing. It’s weird – our musical influences change all the time and we’re constantly looking out for something new to get into. Alongside this, Tom [Hudson], our singer, began listening to a lot of Ty Segall so he introduced the rest of us to him in breaks when we were rehearsing in the smoking area. The next thing you know we were all going home and googling him and listening to him a lot. So, he was a huge influence on the record, not just musically but in his whole attitude. He’s not just sat there with his manager and a business partner saying ‘I think you should wait until 2020 before releasing the next record’, he’s thinking ‘Fuck it I’m just going to release it’. It’s given us that mindset that, if you’ve got the music and people are interested, then just put it out there. So that’s kind of what we did with this record. We didn’t overthink it, we just thought ‘let’s make a fuckin’ record’. So we went out to this little cottage in the middle of nowhere in Wales and we just took all our gear there and took a load of booze and this album just came out of it.
Are you looking forward to getting out and playing live again?
Yeh, definitely. I know people always say that and are like ‘Oh we can’t get wait to get there. It’s our best record’. But we just feel better about this one. When I say Pulled Apart By Horses I feel this album has been pulled apart and we’re just going for it and loving it much like the first album. Anything’s going to be more exciting live if you’re more excited about it in the first place. I can’t wait – it’s going to be dangerous.
What are your thoughts on playing Liverpool?
It’s really annoying that when a tour gets routed it always gets left off, and it’s just fuckin’ daft because it’s such a massive city for culture you’d think every tour would play Liverpool but it seems to not get added. But yeah when we got offered FestEVOL we just went ‘fuck yeh!’ We were talking in practice and said the venue has to have the best venue name ever: I mean, the Invisible Wind Factory, ha ha!
You’ve brought Tommy Davidson in as your new drummer. How did this come about and how has it changed the band?
It’s all been very amicable but our new drummer Tommy has been a friend of ours for years and years and years. So when our old drummer Lee [Vincent] decided to leave it wasn’t like, ‘fuck, we need to audition’. It just all kind of happened overnight. Tommy is an amazing drummer and really he just kind of stepped into Lee’s shoes and that was it. It really could have delayed the process of getting a new album out – or even made – because he was an integral part. But it was all pretty perfect to be honest, it was just seamless and easy. One of the most important parts of the band is we all write together, so he knew he had the freedom to do whatever he wanted to do. When Tommy joined he injected adrenaline into the band right away; it feels new and we’re enjoying it more again. The last album got top 40 which was great, but touring it for two years was really weird. It didn’t come to a head but at the end Lee was like ‘I have to stop doing this, I’ve got a kid,’ and it all got pretty intense. Every step of that last album was hard work, so being able to relax and have fun with the new album was great. The Haze was an opportunity to take things a little easier and be a bit more fun again.
You’ve been on the circuit for quite some time now. How has the industry changed in that time?
Well I think the biggest change of our career was being offered a deal and quitting our day jobs and it becoming a full-time thing. But more recently, it’s not even the band it’s the industry; everything just seems to change so quickly. It affects everyone, it’s like a whole different machine every time we release an album. The last album everyone was shouting about iTunes, and this time it’s Spotify. It makes you think about the way everyone wants everything so immediately. I mean, we’ve put four songs out and the album isn’t even out yet. In the past you’d just put one song out and then release the album, but now everyone is so internet-savvy and everyone is on their phones. It’s weird, it changes your outlook on everything. It’s not a bad thing but it feels like you’re whoring yourself out. Now half the album is already out and that’s weird to me. You have to keep people’s attention and that’s the biggest change I’ve seen. It’s not so much a struggle but you have to do a lot more than get a couple of reviews. It’s about ad campaigns on Facebook and everything. The next album might not even see physical releases or singles. I think a lot of it is just record labels and industry people shitting themselves as well, ha!
Would you recommend anyone for us to listen to?
They’ve been about a few years but Post War Glamour Girls are great. They have a very northern, wide open spaces feel to them and remind me a bit of The Fall. They’re just very northern, endearing and different. Oh, and Tigercub are incredible as well. Their first album is an amazing debut so they’re coming out with us on the UK tour.
Pulled Apart By Horses play FestEVOL on 30th April at Invisible Wind Factory. Tickets are available here. The Haze is out now on Caroline International.