“To be able to give it over to listeners and have them make it into their thing rather than ours was a pretty cathartic moment” – An Interview with Jock Norton of Puppy

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With an album fresh out of the oven, Puppy have gotten the metaphorical ball rolling this year with a 9-date UK tour which spans the entire length of the country. With their debut album The Goat out now, the three-piece moshers have had time to play various new hits from the album which have gone down an absolute treat. With some pretty monstrous singles and EP releases already, a lot was to be expected of a debut album and they exceeded all expectations. But the tour is not the only thing keeping Puppy busy this year. They have a selection of festivals to look forward to this summer with the likes of 2000trees and Y Not? Festival both pencilling the band into their stacked line ups. The Edge talks to Jock Norton about the debut album and the band’s five-year plan.

So, this is the first tour since the release of The Goat – are you excited to play some new songs?

Yeah, for sure, the bulk of the set is made up with songs from the album which is really fun, plus we still have a couple of older ones from our EPs for anyone who’s been listening since the beginning.

Are you pleased with the response to The Goat

Yeah, it’s been really nice. There was so much time that went into it that to be able to give it over to listeners and have them make it into their thing rather than ours was a pretty cathartic moment. We’re super happy that a lot of people seem to dig it.

Are there any overriding influences in the writing of the songs that eventually made up the new album?

I think there’s more of an emphasis on groove across the board, particularly in songs like ‘Black Hole’, ‘World Stands Still’ and ‘Just Like You’. Besides that though there’s still a pretty broad mix of stuff that goes into the songwriting, and songs like ‘Bathe In Blood’ and ‘Nightwalker’ were opportunities to explore other elements of things we’re into, and I think the long form of an album allows you a bit more freedom in that respect.

Fan favourites like ‘Entombed’ have worked their way into the debut album whereas songs like ‘Arabella’ and ‘Beast’ did not – was there a reason behind that?

Yeah we actually did re-record Arabella with the intention of perhaps sticking it on there, but really it didn’t feel like it added much to the original song. With ‘Entombed’ we were able to add the odd flourish here and there that felt like an evolution of the track and closer to how we’d play it now, so it just had more going for it that allowed it to make the cut I think.

How would you describe the band’s growth from the early releases in 2015 to this release in 2019?

I think the main thing is probably trying to get better at blurring the lines a bit between the different influences the band tries to incorporate into our sound. When we started out it would often be a metal riff, then a kind of indie pop verse and a big rock chorus or something, and now I think we’ve gotten better at bringing all that stuff together a bit more seamlessly. I would hope so anyway.

You’ve toured with bands like Creeper, CKY and Sorority Noise and you have played festivals from Glasto’ to 2000trees. How different does it feel when you’re embarking on your own headline shows?

It’s always great because you know people are there to see you rather than whoever else you’re playing with. Support shows provide great opportunities but you’re more likely than not trying to win an audience over who might never have heard your stuff before, whereas for a headline run people already know the songs and are fans of the band, so you’re in it together more I think.

If you were to list your top 5 musical influences for your sound, who would they be?

I’d say probably Weezer (early stuff, mind), Ozzy Osbourne (again, early stuff), Teenage Fanclub, Helmet and Dinosaur Jr.

You’ve headlined twice at The Joiners in a 12-month stretch – do you enjoy playing down here on the south coast?

Yeah, it’s always a good turn out and people seem to dig the stuff. The Joiners is a great venue too. They have a Super Nintendo upstairs and they make us food when we play there. Can’t get much better than that to be honest.

What’s the plan for after this run of headline shows?

We head into festival season, where we’re playing a whole bunch that we’re looking forward to so if you’re at Handmade fest, 2000trees, Truck, Y Not, Arctangent, Reading and Leeds or Burn It Down Fest then we’ll see your crazy butts there.

If you could tour with any band, past or present, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

I would have to say Kiss so I could sneak backstage and try and get a glimpse of what they look like under the make up. It’s amazing they’ve kept it a secret all this years, and I’d be the envy of all my friends at school if I could get a photo of me with The Demon or my personal favourite The Cat.

Finally, where do you see the band in 5 years’ time?

Who knows really, I hope that we’re able to continue making music that we love and that hopefully other people are listening to it. Anything else is a bonus.

Check out the music video for ‘World Stands Still’ below.

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3rd year Psychology student at UoS. I Hate my degree, love music.

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