Monday, 17 February 2014

"Buckfast and Rob Ford": An Interview with PUP

So, how’s the tour gone so far, what’s it been like in England?

Stefan [lead singer/guitar]: Our London show was pretty good, Glasgow was crazy! In Manchester we had our first ever heckler in the history of this band, but everyone recognised that she was kinda off her rocker. That never happens in North America. The first couple of shows we were really thrown off by it even though it was a totally friendly thing.

Zack [drums]: There was this dude in the audience egging us on, like, you should play that song again, over and over again. Super sweet.

Steve [lead guitar]: It’s been like going anywhere else in Canada for the first time – you don’t expect a huge crowd because you’ve never been here before, and you never know what kind of reach your music has had, but people have been coming up to us every night and actually calling out for songs which is just kinda mindboggling.

Stefan: We know this guy Wade from Gallows and his advice to us was when you go to Glasgow to ask for a bottle of Buckfast on your rider, so we did that and that was one of the more drunken shows that we’ve had in a long time!

Zack: I play drums so my thing is coordination, and that night just getting my legs to work was so hard!

Stefan: There’s also a lot of caffeine in that drink… you feel invincible and that’s exactly what Wade said so he was right.

Steve: I played everything at double speed, it was great.

I thought I’d ask about the punk scene back in Toronto, I know you guys are big advocates of all-ages shows.

Stefan: We all grew up going to all-ages shows from the time that we were 15 or 16. Going to those shows made me think that I could be in a band. If I hadn’t had that opportunity, I never would have tried to play music. There’s a really great bar scene in Toronto now because all the kids we used to see at those shows have started bands. You have to be a great band to get shows because there’s so much competition. Everyone’s just pushing everyone else to be better, it’s a good community.

Steve: One of the cool things I’ve noticed here [in the UK] is that lots of the age restrictions on our shows are a lot lower than they normally are, which is really cool. Last night we played a 14+ show in Nottingham, that is so crucial. I don’t know if there were actually any 14 year olds there, but just to have that option is a really important way to make that community grow in a way we can’t in North America.

The record doesn’t come out here until April, but could you talk a bit about some of the songs?

Zack: It was a very fragmented process because we started this band about three years ago and we were just cramming material together so we could have a set to play a show, so the album as a whole is kind of a mishmash. As far as recording goes, it’s all live off the floor. You wanna feel like the energy from the show is represented in the album.

Stefan: One of the highlight tracks for me would be 'Yukon', that’s my favourite song and it’s a really different one.

Zack: It’s super dirgey and it becomes almost pseudo-metal – not to put anyone off, but it’s just super heavy!

Stefan: There are little guitar things all over the record, but this is probably the only guitar solo and Steve plays it and it’s really fucking awesome and he nails it live every time as well.

Steve: I don’t know if I did in Glasgow!

Stefan: That’s true, you played it wayyy too fast! Anyway, that song is about this super isolated part of Canada that I went camping in. There’s nothing like it in Europe outside of Siberia – no roads, no people, so far north that the sun doesn’t set during the summer solstice. If you drive straight north from Edmonton for about 16 hours, and then you hike for a couple of days and then canoe down a river, that’s where I was. Me and my sister went up there and did a bunch of drugs and didn’t see anybody for a few weeks and just popped out a bunch of crazy songs. I think Yukon was the weirdest one, and when we started playing it as a band everyone was ripping so hard. It turned into something really cool that I think we’re all really proud of.

Nestor [bass]: In 'Guilt Trip', if you listen really hard, you can hear a little bit of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Stefan: That song is about an ex-girlfriend of mine. She’s a little bitch and I just like playing it and I call her a bitch and scream my head off, it’s really cathartic!

What do you guys listen to in the tourbus?

Zack: Nothing. We hate music.

Stefan: We sit back and we stare at the ceiling and we ponder our fucking pathetic lives.

Nestor: When you tour Canada you have to do a lot of driving, so we have a bunch of CDs we’ve listened to a million times so we can’t even listen to music anymore.

Zack: On the off chance that we’re in the American South, we'll to listen to Bible Belt preachers on the radio. It’s hilarious but fucking horrible, just spouting, babbling.

Stefan: I mean, the records that we used to listen to before we started hating music were like The Bronx, Queens of the Stone Age, Diarrhea Planet, they’re all amazing bands.

What other Canadian bands should we be listening to?

Zack: There’s a band called PKEW PKEW PKEW (gunshots) from Toronto. They’ve got the stupidest but also the best band name, they also just write really great pop punk songs. They pride themselves on being super literal with their lyrics, so they’re dudes and they’re hanging out, drinking a beer, watching the football game, and there’s no poetry about it because Mike their lead singer thinks poetry in music is stupid and it should just be about what it is.

Are you guys listening to any UK bands at the moment?

Stefan: I like that band Cheatahs a lot. I’ve gotta find a place to pick their record up because we can’t get it in North America. What I’ve heard of them is awesome. And Slaves, they're the one band that we listen to every day on this tour because we’re playing with them! Slaves are awesome. These guys are raw, and they don’t have any of those crutches like big light shows or a professional sound guy, and they kill it every night.

Final question – what’s it like actually having Rob Ford as your mayor?

Steve: Haha, we haven’t talked about this in like over a week! We thought no one would care in the UK. Do people know about him?

He’s got a sort of cult presence over here.

Stefan: When all the Rob Ford bullshit started happening we were on tour across Canada. At the beginning it was so funny for us, we’d be like "hey we’re Pup from Toronto" and people would be like "crackheads!" But then as it escalated, by the end of the tour it was really sad, because Toronto’s a great city and Rob Ford is making everyone think we come from a city full of shitheads. 

Zack: Yeah, like a kinda redneck dumphouse. He’s a homophobe, he’s racist…

Nestor: …and he’s a crackhead!

Nobody here can understand how he gets away with it.

Stefan: I know, it's insane. He had all his powers stripped from him but he’s still a figure which is ludicrous. He should be in prison! He’s a terrible person and he represents our city to the whole world. I mean, I still think it's funny, but I'm equally annoyed. People don’t know about the multiculturalism of our city, they don’t know about the awesome music scene.

Well, you guys are Toronto ambassadors to the UK!

Stefan: Luckily it’s an election year so hopefully… if he gets re-elected then I will stop believeing in democracy. If Torontonians are stupid enough to re-elect that guy then we deserve what we get and everyone can say whatever the fuck they want about Toronto.

No comments:

Post a Comment