Interview: Pulled Apart By Horses

Pulled Apart By Horses have long been famed for stirring up a ruckus. Over the course of three albums, the Leeds noiseniks have brought their rampant energy and raw anthems to venues everywhere from Sheffield to Sydney, leaving voices singing and ears ringing in their wake. So when the band describe the writing process for their just-released fourth record by saying that they “probably made enough noise to turn milk into cheese at one point,” it doesn’t come as too much of a surprise.

Relocating to a dairy farm in the Welsh countryside to focus on writing, the outfit certainly managed to make their mark. “One of the nights we got a bit carried away,” frontman Tom Hudson recalls, laughing. “We ended up basically doing our own karaoke night, fuelled on cider until about six in the morning. The farmer got up to go and milk the cows, and he was like ‘I heard you last night! Sounded good!’ We were like ‘we were singing Duran Duran pissed out of our heads.’”

The rest of the band might be convinced that “James [Brown, guitar] has got an inner Simon Le Bon trapped within him,” but sing-a-long choices aside, the 80’s pop sensations are a far cry from the gripping racket the four-piece create. It’s in camaraderie, and with enthusiasm, the group discuss their latest efforts – but having had to forge their future having parted ways with one of the bands founding members, it wasn’t always that way.

“We freaked out when Lee [Vincent] left because we didn’t know what the hell we were going to do,” Tom admits. With their former drummer now running a record label and performing in Greif Tourist out of London, the future undoubtedly felt uncertain. Recruiting Tommy Davidson to take his place, the band found an entirely new energy. “It kind of gave us a new lease of life, and a bit of a different angle,” Tom describes.

Cutting their teeth together at live shows on both sides of the world, Pulled Apart By Horses refined their energy anew. Returning to Leeds to focus on writing an album, the group admit that energy started to falter. “We wrote half of it in our practice space when we had a burst of creativity,” Tom recalls of the group’s latest album. “Then it all sort of dried up. We hit a bit of a dead end. We had to do something.”

Leaving Leeds behind for rural Wales, the group left distractions in their dust for ten days of creativity and karaoke. “We stocked up on loads of food and booze and locked ourselves away in this weird little cottage in the middle of nowhere,” Tom illustrates. Distancing themselves from everything they knew was a gamble that clearly paid off. “We wanted to push ourselves and do as much as possible,” the frontman states. “We ended up writing near-enough about twenty tracks.”

Describing the whole process as being “quite intuitive,” the resulting album is a tour de force of the band’s capabilities. “It was kind of like the pressure was off,” Tom reminisces. “We just wanted to sack off worrying what the outside world would think, or what people want to hear, or any of that stuff, and be more like, ‘Let’s just do exactly what we want.’” So that’s exactly what they did.

The resulting album stems from the confusion the group have experienced over the past year, written “about overcoming the uncertain and this weird mysterious world” in characteristically raw fashion. “It was partially going back to that charm that we had when we did the first album,” Tom explains. “It was like there were no expectations. We were going with our gut a lot more and not trying to overthink stuff. It’s just us being a band in a room, playing for ourselves and playing stuff that we were excited by.”

With ‘The Haze’ now released, Pulled Apart By Horses couldn’t be more enthusiastic to spend time on the road. “We’ve always been a ball of energy,” Tom exclaims. “We’re adrenaline fuelled. We all egg each other on.” Describing their shows as “a cathartic release of adrenaline and nerves,” it’s live on stage that the outfit are able to fully showcase the extent of their capabilities.

“We want to keep it as raw and as enjoyable as always,” Tom alludes. “Even our first show, we didn’t know what the hell was going to happen,” he grins. “I couldn’t really even play guitar. We were just an absolute mess.” Quick to describe their unique brand of chaos as being conveyed “probably in a fun way,” the shows the band perform have remained unrivalled.

“It all kicked off, and we were like, ‘Fuck – this is something that we’ve got between us,’” the frontman depicts of their first show together. “I guess the only difference is now we can actually play our instruments,” he smirks. More technically proficient, with an array of hits and a brand new record they describe as “an assault on all senses” in tow, Pulled Apart By Horses are ready and raring to leave their characteristic stamp on the world.

“We’re just a band of guys that are really into music,” Tom enthuses. “We want to include the audience in everything as much as possible.” For anyone who’s seen the band throw themselves and their instruments around and off stage before now, these shows are performed with a conviction that continues to prove impossible not to get swept up in. “That’s probably part of the reason we all end up in the crowd half the time as well,” the frontman smirks. “We want to be in the crowd just as much as playing a gig.”

Pulled Apart By Horses’ album ‘The Haze’ is out now.

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