INTERVIEW: Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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These are febrile times (literally so, for an unfortunate few) and when I caught up with Pigsx7, their debut US tour had been pulled because of Coronavirus, and nobody can be sure what happens next. Despite that, the band’s passion seems largely undimmed.

I don’t think the current goings on should sap our enthusiasm too much,” says guitarist and studio ninja Sam Grant. “We were really gutted to have to say no to travelling to the States, but the primary drive for what we do is having fun and creating music. It’s safe to say that in the current climate, we stood to lose a significant amount of the fun.”

The band have said that Viscerals was largely written in the studio and I wondered if this was a creative decision or just a result of their hectic schedule. “Part of going into Blank somewhat blind was due to how much time we’d been touring, we hadn’t dedicated a huge amount of time to writing prior to the ‘hunkering down’ period because of that,” explains guitarist Adam Sykes. “But after King of Cowards we’d realised that a bit of pressure and time constraint does us good so we weren’t overly concerned about the deadlines we’d set ourselves.”

“We had an amazing 2018 and it was far more full on than we could have hoped for,” adds Grant. “So when the time came to have a breather and think about the next record, the window to record was only a few months away. I also had a kid on the way, which added to the sense of ‘let’s do it now’. Giving the situation a positive skew though, we had to look at and approach the writing and recording in a different manner to the previous two albums, and that’s been useful to help give it its own personality. We were again more ‘song’ focused on this album, like King Of Cowards, but with the confidence to explore some different avenues, and look at some more harmonically driven elements within.” 

After amusing mumblings from singer Matt Baty re: a glam rock direction, Viscerals actually includes their first high-heel-booted steps into that heady world of terrace chant choruses and pancake make-up with Crazy In Blood, huge chorus and all. “I think for the last seven years we’ve all secretly wanted to make a ‘glam stomper’”, admits Sykes, “but we’ve never had the guts to confess that to each other. Maybe Crazy In Blood is that confession.”

Another thing you notice about the album is that the songs are even shorter than those on King Of Cowards. Again, was this partly a creative decision.
“To a certain extent it was planned,” explains Grant. “Practically speaking, each of us coming with tracks fitted the nature of the process this time around, and oftentimes that creates shorter pieces. But also, for me, writing shorter tracks is an opportunity to really focus the writing, distil things towards the essence of the track.” “Expect a cover of You Suffer on Album #4,” adds Sykes.

there’s also of a lot of people who feel like they’re living through extremely confusing and madcap times, I guess a wider interest in more eccentric music could well be a reflection of that

Baty has said that the first time he became aware of quite how far the band had come was onstage at the Scala last year (which nearly led to the first recorded instance of a man from the North East shedding a tear). And it’s safe to say, given the fairly uncompromising nature of Pigsx7’s music, that their 6Music-sanctioned ascendancy is surprising. But then even bands like Hey Colossus are making inroads, so something is clearly afoot in the crazy world of ‘noise rock’.

Baty explains that while the band are obviously influenced by a lot of metal, it’s more varied than that suggests. ”Of late I’ve been saying to people I’m just as inspired by the likes of Terminal Cheesecake, ILL, Lower Slaughter, The Cosmic Dead, Casual Nun and Luminous Bodies. I suppose there’s also of a lot of people who feel like they’re living through extremely confusing and madcap times, I guess a wider interest in more eccentric music could well be a reflection of that.” Speaking of which, the mighty Luminous Bodies included a tribute to Adam Sykes (called, naturally, Sykes, on their recent Nah Nah Nah Yeh Yeh Yeah album, released by Baty’s Box Records label). “It’s quite the honour,” says Sykes. “That album is nothing short of a masterpiece. Little known fact: there may be a similar, albeit more subtle Luminous Bodies name-check on King of Cowards.” 

As much as Pigsx7 are a key part of the aforementioned noise rock community, their loyalty to, and immersion in, the Newcastle scene is to be applauded. “We all work and live in or around Newcastle,” explains Grant, “and feel strongly attached to what is, in our opinion, a really amazing city full of amazing people who are never short of good spirit and friendliness. So we naturally feel a need to support and be a part of that where we can. We also have a strong bond with bands, labels and organisers in a number of other cities, whom we’ve grown up with as a band. We want to continue growing with these people, and ideally, be a part of one big ongoing family that has many branches in different places.”

Grant admits that there’s a lot of unknowns right know regarding the band’s activities in the immediate future, although thinking further ahead, there are more overseas tours being planned as well as their biggest UK tour in the autumn (including a Northumbria Uni show on Saturday 5th December). And in the meantime? “At the end of the day, it’s just music… our album will still be out there, and everyone can pop it on Spotify at home while they count their loo rolls.”

Viscerals is released by Rocket Records on 3rd April. Check out their YouTube page from 7pm on 3rd April when they’ll be launching the album with quizzes, giveaways, new tracks and special guests. The band play Newcastle Northumbria University on Saturday 5th December

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