Pulled Apart By Horses are on their European tour in support of 9/10 RUSHONROCK rated album The Haze, and we got the chance to sit down with Rob Lee and James Brown from the band.
Horses have been on the circuit for six years now, but decided to get back to square one in the recording of their new music.
Read on to find out how they did that, what their view on bad reviews is and how they entertain themselves through 15 hour ferry trips to the continent.
RUSHONROCK: The Haze has been out for about three weeks now, are you happy with the reception it’s had?
James Brown: Yeah really happy, three weeks! Bloody hell! It’s flown by. We’re really happy, it’s always nerve racking because you don’t know how people are going to react to it, but it’s been received really well.
Rob Lee: All the reviews have been great, there was one bad review actually but I kinda liked that because it spiced things up a bit! It’s a bit boring if they’re all nice!
RUSHONROCK: Do those bad reviews give you something to work on the next time, or is it just water off a duck’s back for you guys now?
JB: I don’t actually read them anymore.
RL: It’s weird because I try not to read anything like reviews and interviews after because it can be frustrating, but at the same time there is that morbid curiosity to see how things are going, but if it was all just ‘ah this is great, things are great’ then it might just sound a bit patronising after a while like ‘they don’t mean it’.
RUSHONROCK: Like they’re just saying it because everyone else is?
RL: Yeah they just feel sorry for us that’s all! (JB is chuckling away in the background) But if you get a bad one it feels like you’ve touched a raw nerve and it feels a bit more real.
RUSHONROCK: You have said that you wanted The Haze to happen more spontaneously, was the album more fun to make than anything else you’ve done?
RL: Yeah, yeah I think so. Well I suppose this the first album it’s always like you have no expectations and you don’t put any pressure on yourself or anything as a band.
RL: In a sense The Haze is similar to the first record, we didn’t think about it too much. We kinda went away and wrote and recorded demos and had fun and you know, booze was involved and blah blah blah! We locked ourselves away from a bit and enjoyed ourselves and the album is a product of that.
RUSHONROCK: And I think that definitely shows through on the album
JB: I don’t really know why but I think Blood was quite dark and I don’t know what that reflected. None of us are depressed people but I think that might have reflected where we were in our headspace at that time.
RL: It’s like a rollarcoaster, at one point you’ll be up there (gestures up towards the ceiling) and another you’ll be down here (gestures to the floor) and I think that can bleed through. That emotion and feeling, I mean you don’t necessarily write it down lyrically but it does affect the writing, which can bleed into that.
JB: But the lyrics, they always come last, they’re a by-product of the music really and I suppose when you write a piece of music it sets the tone and an atmosphere and the lyrics come from that.
RUSHONROCK: What was it like living in a cottage in Wales for 10 days, any fights?
JB: I really want to go back!
RL: Looking back now it doesn’t seem real, does it?
JB: No! When I think about it now, every night we sat down and had dinner and wine and we all took turns to cook!
RL: It was like a lad’s holiday wasn’t it…
JB: Yeah it was almost like a stag do, you know when a group of friends book a little cottage in the middle of some rural countryside and take a couple of bin liners of booze and some food. It was kinda like that but we took all our guitars and drums and amps and stuff.
JB: You probably wouldn’t think it but the environment you’re in does change everything. If we’d just written the whole of the album in our practise space in Leeds it probably wouldn’t be the album it is cos we’re in a different headspace and stuff. I think it would be good to do that again for the next one, go away somewhere and separate yourself from where you would perceive it as work because you go in to a space and you have a routine.
RUSHONROCK: And just let things happen naturally?
JB: Yeah just let it happen naturally.
RL: And there is this song half way through the album called Lamping and it’s very different from what we’ve done before, it’s slower and a bit more melodic and dynamic. When I listen to it, that place it essential to that song.
JB: We’ve never really written something like that, it’s not a million miles away from Pulled Apart By Horses but we wouldn’t have written that if we hadn’t have been there.
RL: The title came from when we were sitting in the living room and we had stopped in between songs and there was this knock at the door and these guys were in a van with rifles and they said ‘is it alright if we go lamping in your field?’.
JB: And we were like what the fuck are you on about!
RL: And they were like ‘oh, it’s where you shine a light at rabbits and then shoot em’. And we were like eeerrmmm…
JB: We thought they were coming to steal all our equipment!
RL: We were like ‘do what you want to rabbits just don’t hurt us!’
JB: Yeah like ‘please please it’s fine just don’t hurt us’.
RL: Which is really bad because I had a pet rabbit at the time, but they looked pretty tough and we were in the middle of nowhere so we just said ‘yeah yeah, go for it’.
RUSHONROCK: Your Leeds gig had been sold out for some time now, how much does that mean to you?
JB: Yeah massively!
RL: It’s the last show of the UK leg and then we got a day off, but then we got a 15 hour ferry over to Europe.
JB: I can’t fucking wait for the ferry!
RL: You love it don’t you!
RUSHONROCK: I hate ferries I get so sea sick!
RL: I’m really quite nervous about it, to be honest. But they’ve got blue WKD and a gambling table so James will love it!
JB: I’m actually really fucking scared of travelling on water but I think I’ll able to get over it by drinking blue WKD and playing roulette!
RUSHONROCK: Hahaha! Going back to the Leeds gig…
RL: But the Brudenell, that venue is really important to us as well that was really a big part of us meeting each other and hanging out and seeing loads of really amazing bands. We’ve got massive amount of respect for Nathan, who runs it, and his family and it’s the heartbeat of that LS6 area. It definitely is a spiritual home for us, I know that sounds proper cheesy but it is though.
JB: It really is though!
RL: None of us are from the area but we’ve been there a long time, we all did art courses at uni or the colleges, so that we all ended up there.
RL: I used to live in Headingley, like literally just five minute walk away from the Brudenell, but I recently moved a bit further out into the sticks part of Leeds. It’s great, but my missus had to drag me there kicking and screaming, I couldn’t bear being that far away. But there is a bus that gets you then about 15 minutes!