Interview Upbringing: Pulled Apart By Horses

Leeds beasts talk us through their early days - from first gigs to weirdest tour experiences - as part of today’s DIY takeover.

Right now, Pulled Apart By Horses are heavy-hitters, touring the world with their massive new ‘Blood’ record. But all brilliant things have to start somewhere. The Leeds group’s early days are a big point of interest - someone needs to have taught them their beastly live presence, or the guttural punch of a sound they boast on record. That’s where Upbringing comes in.

In Upbringing, we ask some of our favourite bands to recall their formative moments. It can be anything from a life-changing gig to a packet of crisps - doesn’t matter. Conversations span from before the formation of a group right up to the point where they are today.

Check out Tom Hudson from PABH’s Upbringing answers below, and read the full interview as part of today’s DIY takeover here.

What was the first gig you ever went to?
My first gig was almost Nirvana but unfortunately it never happened due to Kurt’s suicide. The first ever gig I went to was Presidents Of The USA supported by Kula Shaker at the Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall in 1996. I think I was about 12 at the time. It was a complete eye opener! I’d never experienced at atmosphere like that, so many people gathered in one place collectively moved by a band. I remember pogo-ing about for whole of the PUSA set but that was half down to excitement and half down to being too small to see over peoples heads just standing. Kula Shaker were cool as well, Crispian Mills really gave his guitar some battering and played as if he had summoned the spirit of Hendrix in parts.

Was there a good supply of venues to go to in your hometown?
Even though we’re hailed as a Leeds / Yorkshire band I’m from the Midlands originally. I have always been in bands since I was about 15 - I was in bands before I even knew how to play more than three chords on the guitar! We had our own little scene of friends all playing together but there was never a massive music scene around the West Midlands at the time. We used to have to lug all our guitars & amps on hour long bus trips to gigs in Birmingham centre and Wolverhampton which was pretty funny, we would get some right looks! I ended up leaving the West Midlands when I was about 20 to go to an art course at university in Leeds. Part of the reason why I was sold on ‘hitting the north’ was down to it’s solid alternative music scene. I’m still here now and love it! I see myself as a weird hybrid, part Brummy part Yorkshireman.

Can you remember the first song you ever developed an obsession over?
I think for me it would probably have to be Michael Jackson, ‘Smooth Criminal’. I remember my Mom taking me to see Moonwalker at the cinema when it came out (which I think was the second film I ever saw at the cinema) and it blew my tiny mind. After that I had a total Michael Jackson obsession. I still listen to him now from time to time and it’s still just as amazing listening to it now as it was then. He’s definitely the gift that keeps on giving! I don’t think I have met anyone that dislikes his music, he unites us all! It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white to be honest.

What was the first song you purchased with your own money, and why did you choose it at the time?
I was pretty lucky when I grew up because my parents had (and still have) an excellent taste in music. I heard Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine, Led Zeppelin & Neil Young through them so for a while I didn’t really need to purchase any albums. I would just record them to tape and listen to the on my Walkman! Thinking back though I do remember going to WHSmiths and buying Green Day - Dookie with my own money so I think that would probably be it. I remember loving the artwork on the cover and had heard Basket Case once or twice before hand and just went for it. I don’t think it left my CD player for about a month!

What’s the story behind you getting your first instruments?
Even when I was three or four I had toy guitars and toy microphone’s that I used to set up around the house and make some noise with but I think my first real guitar was an Encore acoustic out of the Argos catalogue which I got a present when I was about 11 or 12. I remember thinking how hard it was to get a decent sound out of it and it really hurt my fingers as they were too small to make any chords on the fret board! Everything changed when I got my first electric guitar & amp. I got them from a weird shop down the road from me called ‘The Little Black Shop’ for about £30. The guitar was one of those 70’s Kays guitars that are really noisey and light. I wish I still had it now but I don’t even know what happened to it. The guitar went out of tune every time you strummed it and the amp eventually exploded but it was amazing, I discovered that you could make some ridiculous noise without even really knowing what to do. I guess I’m still moving along those lines today!

"I was in bands before I even knew how to play more than three chords on the guitar!"

What’s the weirdest tour experience you’ve had?
Oh god, we’ve had so many it’s hard to pick a specific thing. We always somehow manage to fall into weird situations. Here’s a few…. Our first proper tour was a DIY tour all around Spain and 1 show in Portugal. We drove for hours in the boiling Spanish heat so we would make quite a few stops to break up the journey. One stop was right by this field in the middle of no-where. When we pulled up this heard of pigs ran over to us and gathered all around us as I think James was scattering crisps about. In their panic as they stampeded, one pig was accidentally pushed into the air until he was standing on top of all the other pigs, skating around. Then to the tune of Aerosmith’s - Love In An Elevator we kept singing ‘Pig on a pig, pig skater’ for the rest of that tour. It was bizarre and entrancing.

Another weird story was when we lost our drummer Lee in Amsterdam for about 8 hours one evening after playing a gig with Blood Red Shoes. We didn’t know where he was and were getting worried about him until about 6 in the morning when the hostel receptionist brought him back to our room. The receptionist dude looks at me and said “Your friend is fucking crazy” and walked off. Lee had this vacant expression on his face, his body was covered in scrapes and scratches and for some reason had both his arms stretched out and was holding a boiled egg in each hand. It’s still a mystery what happened.

What’s your worst musical habit?
In terms of being a music listener, a bad habit I have is that I tend to overplay a new album. I end up obsessing over something so much that I can sometimes end up playing an album to death and not being able to listen to them again until a year later or something!

As a musician, I think a bad musical habit I have is that I get pretty carried away when playing live and sometimes lose control of what I am playing; if I’m playing anything at all! Also I am easily distracted which I guess effects me when I’m practicing / playing live.

"Believe in your music, no matter what people say."

What kind of inspirations outside of music have an impact on your songwriting?
A massive inspiration for me is film. I’ve been a big film geek all my life but have a particular love for the macabre and the trashier side of cinema! The new album has lyrical hints of Paul Thomas Anderson, Dario Argento & Jodorowsky alongside trashy 70’s / 80’s b movies.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given as a band?
Probably to give it your all as it could all end any second. Believe in your music, no matter what people say. Not to overthink things too much and go with your gut. Don’t eat yellow snow. Breathe.

If you could be any band from the past two decades, who would you be and why?
It would have to be either Nirvana or Fugazi for me. Both inspirational musicians and performers! I’d like to be Pat Smear when he first joined Nirvana, just to over see everything from more of an outsider perspective but still get to play live with them and contribute to the noise! And Fugazi because they we so musically tight / united as musicians that when they played together live it was almost as if they merged together as one being. Or maybe like that bit in Power Rangers when everyone’s animal themed vehicles connected together to make one giant Megazord robot.

Pulled Apart By Horses’ new album ‘Blood’ is out now via Red UK.

Tags: Pulled Apart By Horses, Upbringing, Features

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