Interview: Pulled Apart By Horses

“When it comes to music I have a hatred of apathy.” So says Lee Vincent, drummer of a band so far removed from the word apathy that they even make a form of medieval torture sound like a bit of a laugh. Pulled Apart By Horses have just started their very first headlining show across the UK, and The Line Of Best Fit found sticksman Lee on their London stop, at the legendary 100 Club.

It promises, like all Pulled Apart By Horses shows, to be a night of sheer chaos. “I think in rock music we’re sick of seeing bands that just stand there and look a bit bored. If you’re not covered in sweat when you come off stage then you haven’t done your job,” he says. Bored just doesn’t factor into the band’s lexicon when it comes to performing. Since forming in 2008 they’ve consistently and riotously laid waste to venues and festivals up and down the British Isles, and it seems like everybody is just starting to take notice of the Pulled Apart By Horses train wreck.

“Any kid that starts a band, this is your dream, to be playing music for a living. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a great living but it’s still…this is what we do, and as a ‘job’ we get to play with amazing, huge bands,” says Lee, full of honest disbelief that a project started for a bit of fun after the demise of previous bands now seems to have so much momentum behind it. On the reputation of their live performances and a couple of limited 7”’s the band has achieved way more than could ever have been dreamt in two years. Support slots for the likes of Biffy Clyro, Glassjaw and (later this year) Muse prove that this is a band on an ever-upwards spiral.

“If you’d said to us two years ago that we’d be playing to tens of thousands of people with Muse, we’d tell you to fuck off. It’s a daunting thing when you go from playing anything from 30-200 people, to suddenly playing to thousands. But once those initial nerves go then you’re just doing the same job. You’ve just got a bit more space to do it and a few more people to do it to really, so I think that the main thing is to not let it go to your head that you’re playing these fucking big stages.”

The headline tour is in support of the Leeds group’s first full length, a 35 minute sucker-punch recorded in the space of ten days in the seaside town of Bridlington (“It was in the middle of nowhere. To get reception on your phone you had to walk around in the car park, holding your phone up,” reminisces Lee). The band’s biggest concern when it came to putting the tracks on tape came from putting that tornado of live energy into a mere recording.

“We were very aware that our reputation comes solely from our live performance and it’s an age old thing for rock bands that, if they’re revered as a live band, then maybe they won’t cut it on an album,” Lee explains. So how did the band cram that energy into the record? “I’ve always heard people say things like ‘you’ve got to hold back when you’re recording’ and I’m like, fuck that. We just let loose really. We knew the outcome we wanted and we thought the only way we’d get it is if we did it with the same energy we have when we’re playing live.”

As far as the album is concerned, it’s job done. The self-titled is a near-perfect recording of the Pulled Apart By Horses experience, and as Lee says it’s “a nice diary of the songs we’ve written over the past couple of years.” Talking to Lee it’s clear that the band still don’t quite know how they’ve ended up riding the crest of such a positive critical wave, let alone evolved from the previous home-grown, D.I.Y groups that barely escaped Leeds and settling in well amongst respectable company (Foals, Graham Coxon) on Transgressive Records.

“When you start saying that you’ve got a lawyer and things like that it’s just completely alien. But we’ve got an amazing label and everybody who works for us is on the same level, they get our band,” says Lee. “Because we’re not really obviously commercial you can trust the fact that the people who are working with you are in it because they like the band. We’re not going to make hundreds and thousands of pounds, which means that the people who are working with you are obviously in it for reasons other than money.”

Everything about Pulled Apart By Horses’ story is the direct result of an incredibly hard work ethic. This is a band who have performed with such intensity that they’ve ended up in hospital on more than one occasion. It’s an attitude that a lot of the bands coming out of Leeds seems to share. “There’s an affinity with people in Leeds if you’re in a band, and that’s a really healthy and positive place to start. Standards are high. It means that people don’t fuck about. When you do your band, you really do it, and it shows if you’re not 100% committed.”

Their commitment is undeniable, and looks to have totally paid off. But it’s when asked about the risk of burning out from the pressure of their live shows that Lee gives his most surprisingly mature response yet. “I’m a realistic person. I mean, it’s day two of the tour and my hands hurt, my legs ache and other people are complaining as well, so physically it’s really tough. This isn’t the be all and end all for me. If I was 21 years old then maybe it would be, but I’m 30 and I’ve got a kid now.”

Don’t panic though, because within seconds Lee lets out a cheeky smirk. “You can’t do stuff like this forever,” he says. “But maybe we’ll turn into a folk band and sit down and wear cardigans!” Pulled Apart By Horses (the balls to the wall, reckless rocker variety that is) aren’t going to leave us anytime soon.

Photos from the 100 Club show here.

Originally published at The Line of Best Fit.

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