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In the studio with Puppy as they work on their debut album

Puppy in the studio

After winning over metalheads, rockers and indie kids alike with a couple of EPs, upcoming melodic riffers Puppy are currently putting the finishing touches to one of the most anticipated debut albums of 2018. We caught up with vocalist and guitarist Jock Norton to find out if the trio are going to deliver a modern classic, and how World War II became a massive influence… sort of.

So what can we expect from your debut album?

Jock Norton (vocals/guitar): “I think anyone that liked the EPs are going to be happy, it’s better song-wise and it’s more consistent. We tried to have fun with it and bring as many new things into the mix that people might not be expecting from us, so this time there are a couple of tracks that have pushed that. It’s not like a reggae album or anything, but it’s certainly a push in a new direction. And we’re really excited to show it to people.”

So what are the new elements? We certainly noticed a touch of the guitar hero from you in your live set recently.

“Yeah, the guitar is a bit higher up, there’s a bit of that Van Halen and Ozzy thing that I really like. But there’s some tracks that sound… I don’t know, black metal might be a bit of a stretch, but it’s something that we’re into and there are some nods to that stuff in there as well. There’s one track that I hope gets on the album which is about seven minutes long. You know, it’s a big deal for us, this is our debut album, and we just wanted to get everything we want into it.”

Will from Puppy holding a cup of tea and his bass guitar

Will Michael faces the crushing realisation that you can’t play bass and drink a cuppa at the same time

How different has your approach been from writing an album, rather than an EP as you have done so far?

“Well I was part of the CD generation, sitting down and listening to an album all the way through rather than just listening to a couple of tracks, and that’s something I, personally, really wanted to nail. An album where you love every track. And you start thinking in different ways, looking at songs like, ‘This would sound great at the end of an album’ or ‘This isn’t a single, but it would work on this part of an album.’ You can conceptualise what you want. An EP, you essentially just want to be four singles, but this is a journey.”

So how was the studio experience for you guys?

“The guys came up and did their bits and left and I stayed up here for two weeks on my own to finish up my guitar and my vocals, and then we got together again to mix and do the vocal harmonies, which was the fun part when you hear it all take shape. But I was there on my own for most of it, and I became quite obsessed with watching World War II documentaries. I basically turned into Mark from Peep Show. That was my evening chill out: World War II In Colour!”

The band Puppy looking at pictures of dogs on the computer

Smiles all round… that’s a good sign

Do you guys now feel like this record will cement you as part of the rock and metal world?

“We’ve always just felt like we’ve been doing our own thing. We talk to metal bands we love and we aren’t into the music they like, but then we meet some indie bands and they’re really into the same music as us, but we hate their music. So, it’s an odd thing, but to our minds we just can’t understand why people don’t like the same thing as us. But I guess that’s all part of the fun of being a music fan, right? We’re happy to exist somewhere in the middle of it all.”

The new Puppy album is out this summer via Spinefarm.

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.