Pulled Apart By Horses will always stand out as one of the bands at Soundwave a few years ago who kept me at their stage for a full set without knowing much of their material previously. Having heard the name being thrown around as a must-see band a few months previous, I came to the British band’s set ready to be impressed and impressed I definitely was. Raucous, hectic and incredibly entertaining, Pulled Apart By Horses soon rocketed to the top of my favourite live bands list.
As vocalist Tom Hudson says, the opportunity to play Soundwave and become introduced to more Australian music fans as a result, was an experience the band has yet to forget. In Australia for some headline shows of their own, the band has been touring hard in between Aussie visits and as their latest album Blood has shown, they’ve not held back from going hard.
“It’s really hard to gauge how stuff will go,” Hudson says of the band’s first trip out to Australia. “If promoters want to get you overseas, then you’ve got to take a bit of a risk or figure out how to do it. The first time we came over, we did two of our own shows and then Golden Plains, which was ace, and then the last time we were over was for Soundwave. That was cool, but it was quite weird at the same time because it’s so massive. It’s almost like they cram a weekend bill of festival acts into one day, it’s really intense. I don’t know how the crowd does it! There’d be a band next to us and the second we’d finish, they’d start and the crowd would shimmy to the side to watch them. It’s bizarre, but cool.”
Describing Blood‘s formation and how it’s indicative of a musical development out of the Horses camp, Hudson notes how having distinct shifts in pace and arrangement have improved the live shows.
“It’s cool, really.” he says. “Half the album is typical Horses sound, but then the other half is a little more chilled out – we had time to experiment with songwriting and me and Rob [Lee] were messing around vocally. It’s really cool to have the new stuff work really well in the set, it breaks stuff up rather than going 100 miles an hour constantly and then hitting a brick wall. It paces it a bit more. It adds a bit of extra dimension, rather than it just being full on and intense for the whole time. Maybe I’m just saying that because we’ve gotten lazier, maybe it’s because we’re getting older and we have to play for longer than half an hour now!”
Forming out of the ashes of other bands in 2008, Pulled Apart By Horses have been able to flex their creative muscle on a variety of stages around the world, with bands as big as the Foo Fighters and Muse and on festival stages around the world. The Leeds four-piece haven’t changed much within themselves though, finding time to balance work and creative periods with off-stage life well ie. not keeping both completely separate.
“The cool thing is that when we’re not touring,” Hudson says. “We all hang out anyway and we’ve got our own practice room with all our gear. We try and practice and write music together as much as we can, but probably about 80% of the time, we’re sitting on a sofa outside our practice room smoking lots of cigarettes and hanging out and chatting, which is probably just as important as playing the music. I’ve heard of quite a lot bands who onstage have it all happen and off-stage, they’re completely separate and they don’t see each other. They’ll have separate dressing rooms or whatever and I find that weird, especially when you’re all sharing and doing the same things. Bands do it differently though, don’t they? We’re just one big dysfunctional family.”
“It [the dynamic] is like that weird thing you have with your family or siblings; you’re all on the same page without really knowing what page it is, if you get me. That sort of thing where you absolutely love every single member like a brother or whatever but then at the same time, you want to fucking kill each other. It’s the perfect love and hate combination. Like Itchy and Scratchy.”
So for this happily dysfunctional band of brothers, October will have them running amok Down Under once more – ready to get a bit ghoulish with a special Halloween show at the Ding Dong Lounge in Melbourne (one of two dates they have locked in for the city venue). Dress ups are encouraged and antics will be at an all time high, we’re guaranteed. Having arrived for some pretty nice days in the Australian sun too, Hudson is confident the band will be able to weather our conditions much better this time round, in comparison to the Soundwave tour.
“Imagine what a pasty, white pom feels like!” he laughs, remembering the scorching conditions they performed in last. “We had a day off in Melbourne and me, James [Brown] our guitarist and our sound man all hired bikes and went around the coast and because the wind was against us, we were like, ‘Oh this is cool!’ – it was really breezy and nice. Then we realised after stopping a couple of times, having a beer and chilling out, that we were absolutely pink and sun-burned! James had sunstroke and he ended up getting back to the hotel and throwing up so the next day, we’re at Soundwave and we’re meant to play and he’s got a wet towel over his head and there are medics are feeding him water! There’s all these other acts around us, all these big metal dudes looking really cool walking around in their shades, and then there’s this sun-burned English guy with a towel over his head.”
“We couldn’t believe it when the offer came through though,” he continues. “You never know, really. It’s really hard to predict and we take every opportunity that comes. We play every gig as if it’s our last gig, because you never know what the fuck is going to happen. You’ve just got to take advantage of it.”
Pulled Apart By Horses play Brisbane’s Crowbar tonight before heading on to the Ding Dong Lounge in Melbourne tomorrow (October 30th) and Saturday night (October 31st).