Pure Love talk about debut album Anthems: “It sounds like a classic”

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It’s just turned 5pm on a sweaty Monday in Cardiff. A short stroll down the back-alley-esque Womanby Street takes me to one of Cardiff’s most prestigious music venues; Clwb Ifor Bach (AKA ‘Welsh Club’ for the English speakers). Upstairs are former Gallows frontman Frank Carter, and former Hope Conspiracy guitarist Jim Carroll; they are Pure Love. The Edge caught up with the duo before their gig that evening.

Firstly, how’re you doing?

FC: Good, good weather.

JC: It’s hot.

Are you ever apprehensive when it’s this hot that it’ll be too warm on stage?

FC: Hm, nothing will compare to last night, we played in a cellar. Hot venues are a par for the course, an occupational hazard.

JC: They can be the best though. Heat drives people a little crazy sometimes.

Tonight will be your 4th gig of the tour so far, how’s it been going? 

FC: It’s been great, it’s been amazing. I feel like we’re going from strength to strength which is nice. It still feels very much like we’re just starting out. Brand new band, we don’t really have any songs out, so it’s been really nice, like the support that we’ve had from everybody that’s taken a gamble and come out to a show. It’s been great, and a lot of fun.

You’ve both been in other bands before, is this how you met?

FC: We originally met in England when Jimmy’s band was on tour and my old band supported them, and then we reconnected in New York at a show, and we both decided we wanted to start a band, and went back and forth, like, “yo we should really hang out at some point and start this band”. There was a lot of that for a little while and then we finally hooked it up and from there it was just like, every week was more songs, and then it came together really fast. It’s a good partnership.

Does that mean you’ve been writing a lot of songs for a while?

FC: Yeah well, when we went into the studio to record the album we had about 35 songs, and we left there with 11, and 2 of them we’d written in the studio, 2 brand new songs.

JC: …and we’d been writing for like, a year before that, before any of this started happening, before there was any talk of a record deal, we’d just been writing in a little room in Brooklyn, and then the ball started rolling a little bit more.

So the album is out in October…

FC: …we hope…

…and it’s called Anthems. Does this mean that ALL of the songs on the album are anthems? 

JC: Well, there’s a song on the record called ‘Anthem’ and all the songs are really big and you can sing along to all of them, so I guess it’s kind of a play on that.

FC: It was a little tongue in cheek, because, I think all the songs are big, anthemic rock songs, so it just made sense. A lot of people I’ve spoken to, are like, “that’s the best name for an album”. We did toy with calling it songs, but like, nah, it’s not really right, and when we said Anthems, and we were like, “fuck yeah!”. We don’t take ourselves too seriously at all. We’re doing this for fun, yeah it happens to be our job but it’s fun, it’s enjoyable to play music and have fun with people sometimes. If you take yourself too seriously in any job, y’know, who the fuck wants that?

You’ve been working with superstar producer Gil Norton (Foo Fighters, Dashboard Confessional, Jimmy Eat World) on the album, how was that?

FC: Amazing, he was brilliant. He’s just a great person to work with, he’s an artist himself, so it’s good to put your work in the hands of someone like that who understands sound first and foremost, so he knew really what we were after, and was really patient and had nothing but time for us. We met him the day we signed our record deal, and we didn’t know we were going to meet him, we just went in to sign the record deal and he was there having a meeting, and we got to meet him, and even then, neither of us knew we were going to meet, but he had a little notebook that just had notes on all of the demos that he had been sent by the record label, and I was always amazed by that, his commitment to the project, before he’d even got close to saying, “yeah, let’s do this”, it was just, he’d heard these songs and made notes on them, like, and a lot of it, he was just like, “the songs are fucking brilliant”, I remember him saying that and being like, whoa…

JC: Yeah, and a lot of it didn’t even have drums on them, one of them was just like guitars and vocals…

FC: The ones that did have drums were just you hitting a tambourine…

JC: Ha, yeah, I’m not a good drummer. But from the beginning, he saw what we were seeing.

FC: He brought this whole new angle to it and it helped us make, what I think is a classic album, y’know, to me it sounds like a classic album!

Second single ‘Handsome Devil’s Club’ was released yesterday, is it exciting to see what people’s reactions are to your new music, or is it more nerve-wracking?

FC: I haven’t looked, I’m not going to look.

JC: I think it’s more that, we’ve been playing these shows and people have been singing along so that’s all we need.

FC: I think that the online pedants, like, that’s their joy, their one little luxury that they get out of life. They finish their shitty job and they go home and they get to berate others that are doing something, so it’s nice for me just to avoid that, like the plague. They’re always going to have an opinion whether it’s good or bad, like, I don’t really care, as long as like, when we play the shows, the people that are there enjoy it, and we enjoy it. As long as we’re having fun, then that’s fine by me. I feel like the response has been fairly positive from the very beginning, but I don’t care to see the negatives, so I just avoid it all. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank anybody that’s left a nice comment, and I haven’t seen it, but thanks, and anybody that has left a negative comment, then that’s just, that’s their perogative. They should probably get out there and start their own band so I can leave shitty comments on their videos.

What artists would you say Pure Love are most influenced by?

FC: I don’t think there is a single one we could say. I mean, we love everything, we just love really good music, whether it’s hardcore or pop or rock, y’know, Jimmy’s favourite band is Queen, and I love Pink Floyd, and Madness, David Bowie and The Beatles. We’ve been influenced mostly by all of the stuff we listened to whilst growing up, and it’s nice to go back to that. I know with lyrics, I’ve definitely been pulling lyrics for this band from my whole archive of lyrics that I’ve written across my life so there’s song that I wrote 4 or 5 years ago, but they fit in this place, so it’s been really nice for me to go through that. I know it’s exactly the same with Jim, he’s got an oracle of music that he’s collated over the past couple of years, or the past 15 years. When did the iPhone come out?

JC: Actually some of them are from my iPod, I had this little plug in to my iPod, so 5 or 6 years.

FC: It feels like a real achievement for me to find a home for these songs and its just been really nice, a good time.

You’re going to be supporting Paramore on 2 dates in August, how did that come about?

FC: She just loves our band! I’ve met her a few times, she’s a sweet girl. Um, she just mentioned it on Twitter, that she was listening to one of our songs and we said thanks, and that was it. The next thing we knew they were asking us to come play. I know it’s the same with us, we heard 2 songs by Chain Of Flowers and asked them to come play with us… It’s not quite the same but, that’s just how it goes in the music industry. If you’re a band that cares about the support bands that you’re going to bring, you want to introduce good bands to your fans, because you want your fans to listen to good music, so we’re incredibly grateful. We’re pleased to have the opportunity to play with anyone, pop rock, metal, it doesn’t matter. We’re still going to go out and do the same shit, which is just play our songs really hard and really fast and have a good time, with big smiles on our faces, and know that that’s another day where we’ve dodged the bullet of getting a real job.

What are your plans after this tour? Will you be touring again when the record is released?

JC: Nothing is set in stone right now but we definitely have tours on the horizon. When the record comes out we’ll hit the ground running, so we’ll do stuff which makes sense. We don’t want to do anything that’ll tire us out too quickly.

FC: I don’t want to do any 15-a-week tours so we’re just going to keep it nice, short, sweet and succinct, and just make sure we hit as many places as we can, but in a way that’s not going to kill us. Leaving your loved ones too, it never gets easier, it only gets harder so, it’s a very strange job being in a band, it’s not as glamorous as everyone would imagine, and it’s quite difficult to wave goodbye to people that you really care about for 2 months at a time, like, “okay, see you in August!”. So um, next year we definitely want to try and maintain that, some semblance of normality. It’s quite difficult in this job but we try our best.

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