Interview: Pulled Apart By Horses [August 2014]

By Lais

Tomorrow Pulled Apart By Horses release their new album, ‘Blood’, so we had a chat with guitarist James Brown to find out how the recording process went, how excited they are to be back in the game playing live shows, and how they came to have their own pale ale made (and named after the new album).

How are you feeling about ‘Blood’ coming out?

It’s a combination of nerves and excitement really. It’s a new record, and we spent a lot of time on it, and it’s a little bit different, so it’s kind of nervous excitement.

To someone who hasn’t heard it yet, how would you describe it?

I’d probably describe it as a journey through our abilities [laughs]. We wanted to spend a bit more time with the actual recording process of it so we sat down and experimented with vocals and percussion and instrumentation and stuff. It’s kind of – I don’t know how I’d phrase it musically how it sounds – but it’s kind of like an epic journey through riffing [laughs]. It feels like climbing up a hill and then coming back down. It goes up and down rather than being an 100mph kind of machine gun riffing. It’s got peaks and troughs so compared to previous albums, I think it’s easier to listen to this one in full. I think you can sit down and listen to it and you don’t have to take a break, whereas with the previous ones I think sometimes – I mean, I love the other records, but they are quite full on.

You mentioned the recording process. You recorded with Matt Peel this time around. How was that?

It was great. Matt has recorded all our B-sides from our previous records, so at the time when we were talking about a producer, we had lots of different conversations. We went to work with Geoff Barrow from Portishead and then we came to the conclusion that we wanted to record in Leeds with someone we know, and instead of recording an album in a week and a half we wanted to do it in chunks, so we did it in three week chunks, so we could kind of spread it out to make the whole recording part of it different to previous records. On the other two records we went in and recorded them as quick as we could so we thought if we work with someone we know and trust and get a lot more time booked in the studio then we could kind of sit down and relax with it and try more experimental stuff.

Would you say you have a favourite track off the album?

That’s a good question. At the minute I think it’s ‘Golden Monument’, the last one, because it’s not really like anything we’ve done before and it’s quite a grand album closer and I’m kind of looking forward to playing it live because we’ve never played it live before. That’s one of the songs that feels a bit different. We’ve kind of crafted it rather than blazed out a three minute track without thinking about it. It’s got a bit more construction to it. Yeah, that’s one of my favourites.

People in bands, once they’ve finished recording, either seem to want to listen to the finished product over and over again, or never listen to it again. Are you either of those?

I probably won’t listen to it again, purely because in the time after you finish recording, you have to listen to the tracks over and over again, and then they come back again and you have to listen to them again, and I eventually get really frustrated because I don’t want it to make me dislike the record if you know what I mean. You know if you listen to a record to death? I want to enjoy it when we play it live, so I kind of don’t listen again unless I have to because I’ve forgotten how to play it live [laughs], but yeah, definitely a fingers in my ears kind of guy after it’s done.

How are you feeling about playing it live? Have you been playing any songs off it already?

We’ve been trying to do five or six tracks at some European festival shows we’ve done over the past month and it’s great, it’s amazing, because you get to see people’s reactions to the songs and stuff. Not that we’re bored of the old songs, but it’s a nice buzz to play something different.

It is exciting to play something new, surely.

Yeah, it is. I dunno, it’s weird. It’s like if you buy a new computer or a new camera and you have to sit down and figure out how it works before you use it and it’s like with the new songs, we have to sit down and work it out and it’s like, “Oh my god, we have to play this live, is it gonna go alright or not? Let’s just do it and see what happens”.

I imagine you’ve been away for a bit with writing the album and stuff, so how is it getting back into the game and playing shows?

We had a year and a half off from playing live just to write and record, so it was really difficult for us, because as a band that’s what we really love doing. It was like going cold turkey. We were losing our fucking minds when we stopped touring. It was all we wanted to do. We’re not really the kind of band who locks themselves in a studio for a year to write. I mean, we’ve all got ADHD, we get really impatient, so it was really difficult. So when we did eventually do some gigs this year – we did a warm up tour in April – it was like letting the dogs out. You know if a dog sees a cat? It was like that. We were just like, “Oh my god, we’re playing gigs!” We completely went for it in April so it was good that we had the chance to do some touring before Reading and Leeds because I think we probably would’ve melted or exploded if we’d just walked onstage without doing any shows before that. We would’ve taken off like fireworks.

What have you got planned after the album release?

So we’ve got loads of touring in the pipeline: the UK in November, Europe and hopefully Australia, maybe America as well, but it’s all on the cusp of being confirmed. So we’re gonna announce Europe in September, doing our own tour, and then after that we’ll be off out properly for two or three months just touring the record, and then maybe do a Christmas single, and then I think we’ll do an actual single around February time, and then maybe another UK tour, but we’ll see how it all goes, but it’ll be back to the old touring. I will be so happy! You get withdrawal, it’s such a bizarre thing. When you get back from tour, you’re kind of like, “I don’t know what to do”, so all I do is play Xbox. It’s such a long waiting game when you stop touring, it’s weird.

What’s this about you having your own ‘Blood’ ale?

Oh yeah [laughs]. I keep forgetting about that because it doesn’t feel like it’s gonna happen but it is. We’re getting a pale ale made by a brewery called Revolutions Brewery in Yorkshire, and they’re making loads of kegs of ale and putting it in pubs, and it’s gonna be called ‘Blood’ after the record. Hopefully people will buy it and drink it.

How did that come about?

Well, they approached us and asked us about it through a friend who works for the brewery, and at first we thought, “Well, that sounds a bit weird, I don’t know if it’s a good idea”, but then we looked into it and loads of bands have done it and we thought about it a bit more, and the fact that the album’s called ‘Blood’, and the ale could possibly be a dark red, and we could put blood oranges and Yorkshire tea in it, like a hint of Yorkshire and a hint of blood, so it made sense as we thought about it more, so we did it and it’s gonna be in pubs. Really weird.

That’s the most Northern thing I’ve ever heard.

It really is [laughs]. So Northern. It just screams of Yorkshire. We’re having a beer launch which will be hilarious. It’ll be in Leeds, where we invite fans to try the beer for the first time, which is basically a piss up, which again is a really Northern thing.


Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]