People like to pigeonhole bands, but slapping tags on Leeds rockers Pulled Apart By Horses has never been straightforward, and the band are still resisting labels as they prepare for the release of new album The Haze.
“We’ve always been that band that are ‘too heavy for the indie kids, and too indie for the heavy kids’ in industry terms,” says says vocalist/guitarist Tom Hudson, “but it’s quite cool that people don’t really know where to put us, because it means no-one can easily slap a genre name upon us. Now we have the freedom to just be who we are.”
The Haze is the band’s fourth album, and the follow-up to 2014’s Blood. Written in a remote Welsh cottage (insert remark about Led Zeppelin III here), it’s an album that benefitted from Pulled Apart By Horses taking a break from the business side of being in a band.
“I can totally see how things could potentially get numb and sour for artists, singers and bands,” says guitarist James Brown. “It really does affect everything including writing and creating music. The Haze is pretty much us sharing our love and excitement of PABH again.”
How would you explain the band to a complete stranger?
I think I’d probably have to sit them down for a coffee somewhere so I could get quite emotional and in-depth about it over some flapjack and a skinny latte. But if I didn’t have that option, then I’d probably carefully explain to them that PABH is an audible outlet for the minds of four dangerously erratic and creative souls who share a very fond love of loud music.
Why write the new album in a remote Welsh cottage?
Well… we got tipped off about this little farmhouse in the Welsh countryside that had been set up to accommodate bands that were looking for a space to stay over and record/rehearse. Our last album was written and recorded in Leeds where we all live and socialise, so it seemed like the right thing to do. You could call it escapism, I guess.
I don’t think we really realised how remote and cut off it was until we arrived though. No internet, no phone signal, no emails, no television, no outsiders, no anything basically! All we had were our guitars, drums, amps and large bags of alcohol and food. It was a fantastic experience and it immediately built the foundations of what would eventually become The Haze. I’d love to go back there again one day, but maybe take less alcohol and more food.
The Hotel Motivation video is a lot of fun. Tell us about the filming.
The video for the track was thought up and put together by the wonderfully talented Lewis Cater. He also sourced the location for the video which genuinely does seem like an ‘olde worlde’ 1960’s style hotel from yesteryear. But, its actually on old Vicarage on the outskirts of the Nottinghamshire countryside. It felt like the decor and fixings hadn’t been updated or touched for a good 50 years and it was kind of slightly spooky in a weird way.
I think they filmed us performing the track through about 10 or 12 times and then they began filming the scenes with all the actors/actresses who were playing guests at the hotel (who were all an absolute pleasure to work with). It was one of the more enjoyable and easier shoots we’ve done in the band, previously we’ve ended up outside in the cold for 12 hours, plus waiting around in forests and dilapidated buildings.
How is The Haze different from Blood?
I feel like The Haze has a little bit more of a raw/early vibe to it compared to Blood. We built the album around energy and rediscovering the band when our dearest friend (and incredibly talented drummer) Tommy joined the band just after we stopped touring Blood. We relaxed with writing and had a bit of a break from the business side of things and just made everything super fun again. You need to make sure you don’t lose these kind of feelings and don’t end up constantly putting yourself in atmospheres and environments that take away the excitement.
What can fans expect from your forthcoming dates?
Well the first headline tour of a new album is always the really, really exciting part. We’ve been waiting to do a tour like this now for about 2 years, so I think we’ll be losing it out on stage from the second we get out. Touring is one of our favourite parts of being in PABH and we’d probably never stop if we could. Playing new album material and seeing how folk react is such an awesome experience and you get this amazing shared atmosphere which gets created between us and the crowd. That is the most important ingredient you need at a gig, everyone feeling it, enjoying it and vibing together in one room. It’ll be bloody brilliant to be back out touring and seeing everyone again basically.
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What are your plans for the rest of the year?
It would seem we’re going to be having a pretty busy festival season this year which is amazing to see, and we’ve still got quite a few more to announce. But, as per usual, plans and discussions are happening for more than just that so we’ll have to wait and see what happens after the summer. So, mainly festivals, another single, and then you’ll just have to wait and see!
What other bands from Leeds should we be looking out for?
I got to see a sick alt/indie band called Narcs last week in Huddersfield who were absolutely bloody stunning live. Pretty intense frontman who really gets you on your tip toes when he performs. Another band I’ve just started listening to but not had the chance to see live yet is Team Picture. Check out their song Back To Bay Six which is a total corker, sweet post punk vibes right here.
The Haze is released on March 17, and can be pre-ordered now.
Pulled Apart By Horses tour
Mar 27: O2 Academy 2, Oxford
Mar 28: Scala, London
Mar 29: Thekla, Bristol
Mar 30: Talking Heads, Southampton
Apr 01: 2Q Festival, Derby
Apr 02: Mama Roux’s, Birmingham
Apr 03: Waterfront Studio, Norwich
Apr 05: King Tuts, Glasgow
Apr 06: Sound Control, Manchester
Apr 07: Think Tank. Newcastle
Apr 08: Brudenell Social Club, Leeds