Festival preview: Pulled Apart By Horses at Leeds Festival

Pulled Apart by Horses. Picture: Steve Gullick
Pulled Apart by Horses. Picture: Steve Gullick
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Sitting on the roof terrace of one of Leeds’ coolest bars and music venues, the Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen, on a sunny Monday afternoon, two members of Leeds band Pulled Apart by Horses explain how this place has a special significance to them, as one of their album cover photographs was taken on the very staircase we have just walked up.

Sitting on the roof terrace of one of Leeds’ coolest bars and music venues, the Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen, on a sunny Monday afternoon, two members of Leeds band Pulled Apart by Horses explain how this place has a special significance to them, as one of their album cover photographs was taken on the very staircase we have just walked up.

Pulled Apart By Horses have been recognised by the likes of NME and Kerrang as one of Britain’s foremost up-and-coming alternative rock bands ever since their début eponymous album was released in 2010. This year they will be on the main stage at Leeds Festival on the Sunday.

They have toured with Biffy Clyro and were personally invited by Muse to be their opening acts. However, as the band’s bassist and singer sit sipping imported beer and smoking the occasional cigarette, their peaceful manner would not give away the fact that they are members of an acclaimed screamo band.

Robert Jon Lee is every bit the stereotypical bass player- modest and mild-mannered- and lead singer and rhythm guitarist Tom Hudson’s speaking voice is much softer than his aggressive screams, which are synonymous with Pulled Apart by Horses.

Rob explains that the band has played Leeds Festival before. “We played the main stage a couple of years ago and we were first on.” “Now we’re second on,” jokes Tom. “One step up!”

After rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in music and having regular gigs themselves, the pair explain that nerves are normally a thing of the past for the band. However, they do tend to resurface when they play in Leeds. “15 minutes before you go on the nerves kick in.”, Rob reveals. “I don’t normally get that nervous before we play, but that one (Leeds Festival), I could feel it creeping in; but it’s weird, once you get up there it’s so surreal and so massive. The crowd are actually quite far away, as well. You just kind of get into it once you’re up there and just enjoy it.” “I’m pretty nervous about it”, Tom admits, “But then I get nervous at most shows. If I’m really nervous then it means we’re going to have a good one because it turns into adrenalin, instead.”

“Whenever we do the Brudenell or shows in Leeds and it’s people in the audience that you know, and other bands that you respect and are your mates, and they’re there with their arms crossed, staring at you... that’s the worst!”

Tom is hopeful that the audience for Leeds Festival will still be quite refreshed when they take the stage on the Sunday afternoon. “A lot of people are pretty dedicated to checking stuff out, which is nice to know. If it was me I wouldn’t be bothered, I’d still be in my tent, hungover!” “We’ll get ‘em out of bed”, laughs Rob.

Pulled Apart By Horses will release their third album, Blood, on September 1. “We just got the mastered version of it back from Abbey Road. It was pretty emotional hearing it now it’s all finished.”, says Rob. “We’ve done the classic full circle: fallen in love with the songs; written them; fallen out of love; played then, changed them and then gone ‘what the hell is this?’. Then once it’s done, it’s done. But it’s been a long time coming. It’s the longest time we’ve ever spent on an album,” adds Tom.

Rob adds that the band will be playing one or two new songs from the upcoming album at Leeds Festival. “We’ve started playing certain songs live. We’ve not played everything on there live.”

“We’ve played more than half of it, I think”, interjects Tom. “Just this year we’ve been doing three or four, slipping them in the set. We’re still playing a lot of the other stuff; there’s nothing worse than seeing a band that you know and haven’t heard any of the new stuff and they just play that.”

Rob also explains that the group have expanded their sound for this record, which is often the case for a band’s third album. “We managed to add new dimensions to it. Vocally, we tried different things; before, a lot of it was just screaming and swearing at people... there’s still plenty of that on there, but we’ve left it for the right time! We’ve just started to use melodies more, slowing things down here and there.”

A question so many people want to know from screamo singers: how do you manage to not lose your voice after every show?

“I don’t know,” chuckles Tom. “I think I’ve gone too far, and it’s just what it is. We’re kind of s*** because so many bands that we’ve toured with do vocal warm-ups, but we just do it.”

“I think for Tom it’s natural.”, adds Rob. “He’s either talking, or it’s... that.”

Pulled Apart By Horses play at Leeds Festival on August 24. For ticket details visit http://www.leedsfestival.com/

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