Interview with Tom Hudson from Pulled Apart By Horses
Pulled Apart By Horses are an enigma in the British music scene. Self-described as “too heavy for the indie kids and too indie for the heavy kids”, they’ve amassed a reputation over the years for some raucous live shows and a gung-ho attitude unmatched by other bands in their league. Ahead of the Leeds band’s upcoming Australian tour in October in support of their 2014 album, Blood, I had a chat with the band’s frontman Tom Hudson about their latest album and his past experiences of touring in Australia.
Patrick: You guys last toured Australia for Soundwave in 2014. Did you notice any differences between crowds over here and crowds in the UK?
Tom: In the UK, crowds tend to be more fickle in terms of who they follow. There’re so many festivals and gigs going on all the time, but there’re loads of different scenes and crowds tend to judge you pretty brutally over there. But whenever we’ve played in Australia, it seems crowds are more up for checking new stuff out even if they haven’t heard it before. A lot of the UK magazines end up dictating a lot of the stuff people listen to, rather then people just checking stuff out on their own. That’s why we’ve been quite lucky, since they can’t really pigeonhole us. We’re too heavy for the indie kids and too indie for the heavy kids.
Patrick: It’s been over a year since your last album, Blood, came out. Overall, do you reckon you’re happy with the direction you guys went on that album?
Tom: I think so, yeah. Blood was quite a studio album. The first album we took roughly a week to blast out, and the second one took roughly about two weeks. With “Blood”, we sort of just wanted to craft it and take our time making an album. We wrote loads of songs, so we had stuff to pick and choose from. I think at the time we just wanted to write as many different things as possible and just see what happened really, but without going too third-album-losing-their-minds-getting-pompous-and-wanting-to-write-a-double-album. We thought “let’s just take a bit more time and try shit out” really.
I think at the time we just wanted to write as many different things as possible and just see what happened … We thought “let’s just take a bit more time and try shit out” really.
Patrick: What do you reckon was the greatest show you ever played, and how would you describe it?
Tom: Without trying to kiss your arse or anything, one of the shows that was by far our favourite was when we played Golden Plains festival in Australia. I just remember that being an awesome show. We had no expectations, we didn’t know whether anyone would watch us ‘cause it was the first festival we played. There’s this tradition there where people hold up one shoe if there’s a band they’re really digging. But no one told us about that, so everyone was really into it but everyone on stage was just like “what the fuck?” I was waiting for a pair of Converse to smack me in the face or something. I dived into the crowd at the end of the set, then I crowd surfed all the way to the very back of the whole festival, then got given loads of beer and stuff. The rest of the band didn’t know what happened, or if I’d turn up at the end of the set.
Patrick: That must have been a blast.
Tom: Yeah, it was fucking ace. Another one that was massive for us was playing the Leeds festival. Growing up, that was the festival that when you were a kid you’d see all your favourite bands play there. For us, being able to play the main stage was just fucking mind-blowing. It was awesome.
Patrick: When you listen to your older songs, do you get embarrassed about them or do you feel impressed at how much you’ve matured as a songwriter? For instance, when you hear High Five, Nose Dive, Swan Dive, do you feel a bit cringy?
Tom: No, it’s still a part who we are as a band really. There’re some elements of the band where it’s all about taking the piss, having fun and being spontaneous. Like High Five and I Punched A Lion were some of the first songs we wrote in a room together. So playing them again is sort of weird; it never really gets boring playing them live. Hearing them is a bit different, because you get bored of hearing the same recording. We can still change them up and fuck about with them live.
Patrick: Would you say they’re still staples of your setlist?
Tom: Yeah I think so. I mean you never want to think that you’re pressured into playing whatever song, but at the same time we’re very thankful of our audience. When I go see a band, I want them to play one of the songs that I got into them with, you know what I mean? I’ve been to see loads of bands where I’ve been really psyched to see them then they play their new album that hasn’t even come out yet in it’s entirety, and I’m like “how am I meant to get into that?” So whether it’s a festival, a club gig or whatever, we mix it up and chuck a little bit of everything into our set, really.
Patrick: So Tom, if you were ever asked to whip up a playlist for your mate’s party at the last minute, what would you put on it?
Tom: Probably At The Drive-In, anything off of Relationship Of Command. I’ve been at a few house parties before where everything’s been kind of chilled out, but as soon as One Armed Scissor comes on the playlist, everything just starts getting fucked up. You just end up with mugs flying about and kitchens getting destroyed.
When we started out we used to just play in people’s kitchens. It was fucking ace.
Patrick: You must throw good house parties.
Tom: We played a few. When we started out we used to just play in people’s kitchens. It was fucking ace.
Patrick: Finally, are there any messages you’d like to give your Australian fans for the upcoming tour?
Tom: Uhh, see you there? We’re just fucking psyched that we’ve got the opportunity to come over again. It’s a far old way really. I think you have to time travel to get there. Whenever we’ve done it, we’ve just ended up watching about 15 films on an airplane and drinking as much free booze as possible. We’re just massively excited is all.
Pulled Apart By Horses play Crowbar on Thursday, the 29th of October.