Leeds four-piece Pulled Apart By Horses grabbed a stagnant UK music scene’s imagination back in 2010 when their intense debut LP reaffirmed the reputation they’d already cemented through near constant touring. Their live show was renowned and supports with Muse, Foals and Biffy Clyro would follow.
Seven years on, they’re about to unleash The Haze – a sonic return to that early, brash, immediate approach – but even this far in to a career the process of recording a record is by no means routine. “It all gets pretty nervy and exciting when you reach this point.” Guitarist James Brown explains. “I always forget how much there is to be done around announcing a new record. Waves of buzzing highs accompanied by the odd anxious low hoping everything has been done right.”
Their fourth full length comes three years after Blood – a record that saw them move to Sony Records, and marked a shift to a less frenetic, almost stoner rock sound. The Haze shows little sign of following that path, with the band taking a step back and rediscovering what it was they loved about making albums. “One of the things about this record was creating that feeling we had back when we made the first record where there is no external pressure and we’re writing for ourselves” says James. “I really think (or hope) people will hear that in this album. We 100% haven’t matured though. I don’t think we ever will.”
Despite their national success the band remain an integral part of the fertile Yorkshire music scene. It’s clear that the band have a huge amount of respect for their home city. “Leeds has so much going on right now, I remember when I first moved being totally overwhelmed by the amount of gigs and new bands on the scene. We try our best to get out to local gigs and check out new bands, but it can be pretty hard to keep your finger on the pulse when you end up away for a year on tour or locked in a studio. We love Leeds though, it’s still a really exciting and fruitful place to be musically.”
It’s that endless touring that marked the bands formative years – they were never off the road for long. “I think most artists (especially bands) will tend to find that they slog it out around a debut album for the best part of two years without any breaks,” James speculates. “But if you get the tour-bug (as we do) when you get home and take a break, you just want to go straight back out. If we could play everyday we would, but we’d all be completely and utterly broken. If you work hard at whatever you do the rewards will always be better.”
This spring sees the band play Leicester’s Handmade Festival – but for a band who has played the main stage of Reading and Leeds, how will the ‘boutique’ scale of the event compare? “They are two very differing things I think,” James explains. “The boutique and independent ones seem to be directed at and catered for much more specific audiences and now the larger ones are a lot more eclectic and aimed at bringing fans of all types of music in. The indie festival scene is definitely picking up and becoming quite popular, but with this always comes problems eventually and you begin to see the older ones fade out for the new.
Pulled Apart By Horses play Handmade Festival on the weekend of the 29th & 30th April at O2 Academy Leicester.