Pulled Apart By Horses have released three albums since their formation in 2008; in an industry dominated by major-label pop acts, their success and longevity is both surprising and refreshing, especially when you consider the unapologetic and unremittingly noisy nature of their music.
We met Tom and Tommy from the band (vocals and drums respectively) at this year’s 2000trees festival. We passed around a plastic bottle full of a fairly unpleasant gin concoction and spoke primarily about the nature of their live shows, vomit, and the role of the latter within the former.
I remember when I was first was introduced to you guys, the words ‘thrash’ and ‘indie’ sprung to mind.
Tom: Yeah, we’re one of those weird inbetweeny bands that are too heavy for the indie kids and too indie for the heavy kids. So we’re sort of no mans land. No man’s band.
You’ve got a bit of a reputation for going pretty hard at gigs. Has that been a conscious decision, and has it been difficult to keep up?
Tom: No, we didn’t really decide to crack our heads open or anything. We just sort of go with it. It’s adrenaline and energy I guess. Even from the first gig that we played, everything exploded when we started playing. We’ve just tried to carry that on.
Do you ever get tired though? Do you ever go for a gig and there’s this expectation that you’re gonna do something nuts and you just don’t feel like it?
Tom: Yeah, it is weird when people are like, ‘are you gonna do anything crazy?’ We get it sometimes when you turn up to stages and they ask if you’re gonna climb up anything or whether you’re gonna go in the pit and it’s like, well I don’t fucking plan it, so wait and see.
That’s anti-rock and roll in a way isn’t it, to plan whether or not you’re going to climb anything?
Tom: Well yeah that’s it, but people do it! There’s loads of bands now that have pre-planned special moves and stuff. We just start playing the music and jump around like dickheads really.
Tommy: We’ve got a cherry picker ready for tonight don’t we?
Tom: Yeah, just gonna hover above the crowd and get really scared and sing out of time.
I heard stories about you guys vomiting on stage at Glastonbury, is that right? And then asking if anyone had any drugs?
Tom: Yeah I used to throw up a lot. Well, I still do sometimes. I never know when it’s gonna come, but when it does it normally lasts for a while; it’s like a flowing waterfall. At Glastonbury I remember standing on the DJ booth and then throwing up all over it accidentally, and they were asking me to clean it up after. I ran off stage still throwing up and Patrick Wolfe was meant to be playing next, and he walked on stage without any shoes or socks on and was just like ‘eeuuurrrgh’, jumping around. I leave the stage booby-trapped.
You guys have been mentioned on Radio 1, who very much seem to pick their darling band, stick with them for a couple of months and then ditch them. What’s your view of that? Do you think they helped at all?
Tom: I think they did in a sense but you can never really tell. A lot of people that listen to Radio 1 are more into pop or whatever, so I’d like to think that when we came on we either sucked a couple of people in or just really pissed off loads of people in their cars and at work in offices.
You prefer the latter don’t you?
Tom: Yeah, yeah, I prefer to think of someone in a job, sat there listening to Taylor Swift or something and then our horrible noise comes on.
Your first album was fairly massive. Has it been easy or difficult to keep up the momentum?
Tom: A bit of both. I dunno, it’s always a bit of a struggle trying to survive as a band but we’ve been alright. We’ve managed to keep going.
There are a couple of bands here who’ve relaxed their sound as time’s moved on, arguably to be more commercially appealing. Is there a bit of that on the horizon for you guys?
Tom: No. We’ve sort of managed to get away with writing pop songs, but covering it up in a load of horrible noise, so I think we’ll probably just keep on doing that!
Catch Pulled Apart By Horses playing their last few festival dates of the season at Y Not, Boardmasters, and Reading & Leeds!