Last time round you read the Medulla Nocte interview. Or you shouldve done. Now we have the Pulkas interview that took place the very same night. So we return once more to Derby. Unlike the Nocte interview, were not in the stretch limo this time, instead were in the room with the removable door that appears to double as the changing/store room at the Victoria. And present with me is Luke, vocalist from UK hopefuls Pulkas. Hes only just finished another set on their first headline UK tour. The album, Greed, has been out for all of about a week, and hes agreed to do an inteview for YAZ. Does life get any better?
First time I saw you was in January on the NextGen tour in Sheffield. Id heard the name for a long time, and it felt like there was always this album due any time now feeling. Was there any real delays there.
Um, the idea was, when we first signed with Earache was to release it around early 98. Its only been delayed about a week, but it does seem to have been a long time coming. People have said look, whens it coming out. Youve been signed for a long enough now. But there was a plan behind it. There was one weeks delay, but that was due to pressing problems down the plant, some fuck up with the machine or something. So its ended up coming out on a Bank Holiday Monday, which I was like fuck, no way. People will have to break into the shops and nick it or something.
We planned it, we wanted to hone it down you know, get the live stuff sorted out. We had the discussions with Earache and worked on a long term strategy. We looked at all the planets, and they were aligned, so we were like, right, thats the one, do it.
No pinball going on with the planets then, and them spinning off everywhere.
Exactly yeah. Theres just a massive war on Venus going on, and thats like good for us.
Right, I only managed to get my copy of the album today, so Ive not really had chance to listen to it properly, so I havent come up with any indepth or interesting questions. So is there anything youd like to say about the album. Musically, lyrically, politically.
Politics for us, its pretty obvious. All politicians and all politics are full of shit, so theres not really any need to get into that. But the way I personally get into it from a lyrical point, there is a social commentary going on, but its not really in your face. Its a level where its saying ok, the government is responsible for this and this and this. I sort of take it down to the levels where it comes down to a singular person idea. You know, where its saying this is how the government would affect this person specifically. Its not like a broad yeah this is whats going. I think most people know whats going on. I dont think theres many people that we can reach thats say going suddenly go oh yeah, youre right.. It does fuck us off the whole situation of life generally. We dont like whats going on anywhere, from a government level down to a totally personal level. But the lyrics, yknow, its just like paranoid nonsense really. Do you think theres a reason to be paranoid at the moment.
Well my view on politicians is pretty easy, I think they should all be shot. But, were celebrating now a year of this New Labour government, would you say that anything has changed for you since theyve been in power?
Well obviously not, not personally yknow. But again I do believe that youve got to go with someone yknow. Youve got to go with the best shot out there. You do need laws, you do need shit out there, otherwise theres just going to be chaos and everyone will die. So Labours done nothing personally, but maybe in the long term, schools, national health etc theyll start sorting it out. As long as people have the patience. Theyve made some massive fuck ups. This millenium dome. They were told before they came in power by the tories do you want to say ok about the millenium dome. Theres this project coming up, weve got to order the steel or whatever for construction. It was basically along the lines of weve got to order it tomorrow, we know youre going to get in power. Do you still want it? And Labour had the chance to say no, stop it now, and then we wouldnt have to waste all this money. And Labour still said yeah, lets still go ahead. So you get this Millenium Dome for billions of pounds, along all the other shit.
Do you think the Millenium itself is anything to actually celebrate?
Its just another New Year. I mean its all just to do with some guy called Jesus. No one really pays attention to that sort of thing anymore.
But itll be a commerical winner for some people.
Oh totally. Well were thinking of cashing in ourselves. Playing in the car park on the back of a flat bed truck.
Like I said, I dont want to particularly labour (groan, sorry) on about politics, but there are also these new measures being introduced to try and deal with music, and the industry, and getting people into proper jobs. Do you think theyve interfered too much with the arts.
I dont really know enough about that. Im not so focussed in on politics at the moment. The arts have had a bad time for years anyway. And so anything thats going on, its going to take years and years to sort out. Be it music, be it arts, schools or whatever. But yeah, the governments have been fucking up the arts for years yknow. They dont give a fuck with training people. They dont get a chance. We play gigs abroad quite a lot. And theyve got quite a good system for it. Especially live. Live you get paid top money, you get fed, you get a drink and you get accomodation. From really small clubs and venues. And weve been doing this for a while over there, and yet the album only came out 2 days ago. But weve been playing over there for quite a few months, and the governments back up entertainments and the live field. The government puts aside so much money every year towards promoting live stuff. Thats pretty civilised. Bands can actually afford to live and play live. Whereas over here never going to happen. I cant put down venues. I mean in England, bands always whinge about doing the toilet tour of England. But its fair enough. Landlords maybe dont have the money to pay for all this sort of stuff, but over there the governments do subsidise the live scene.
That would be nice if we had something like that over here.
Yeah, but it aint going to happen.
Moving back towards the music. Shit I had a question in mind, and just forgot it. Ok then, instead of whatever that was, about the NextGen tour, how did that go?
That was great. I said it before to people, but every night I saw that set for free and it was a blast for all of us. It was the first tour of that sort of size for us, so we got to share a tour bus with Misery Loves Co. and was just killer man. Wed never been on a tour bus before. So there was all that, boozing up all night, and that side of things was fun, that fun part of being with the other guys, kicking back after shows. We were on first, we were like the warm up band. But that was ok, that was kinda the experience of doing it. You get offstage, have a shower, freshen up, and then suddenly theres all these other bands playing. So that at the end of the night I was fucked all over again. Completely hot, sweaty. It was becoming a nightmare by the end of the tour, because you couldnt get like a chill out time, because these bands were so good yknow. Free. People were paying the money every night, and we were doing in the pit moshing for free. It was a wicked tour.
Is there any chance of extending that, because in the UK there was only the two gigs, which when youre talking NextGen, as in next generation of kids, is a bit of a let down, as most of them wouldnt have the opportunity of getting to Shefield or London.
Yeah, we felt that. We couldve done all of England, but I dont know financially, because it costs a lot of money to do that. But wed love to, course we would. I mean, wed like to go out with just two coaches and us. And have the two coaches for us, and fuck the other bands yknow, just do it by ourselves he laughs. Obviously forgotten the stretch limo waiting outside for them, which is cunningly disguised as a transit van.
If you did it again, would you go with the same bands.
For me personally, and I cant talk for the rest of the band, but for me personally all my favourite bands for it have split up. Theres no more ideal lineup for me anymore. Mine wouldve been Led Zeppelin, Janes Addiction Carl Perkins and us. Something along those lines. But yeah, wed do it again man. And out in Europe there was enough vodka, so its worth doing.
At the moment you seem to be getting a lot of comparisons with American bands Tool, Deftones. How do you feel about that.
Well Im flattered about the whole thing, but I dont see the comparison at all. Anyone can do light and shade sort of stuff. But their sounds are completely different. I understand that people have to put a pigeonhole over you and have to put people in the right direction, if you like this kind of music, you may like this. But just call us hard rock. Thats what it is, its hard rock / heavy metal. Its like Korn and Tool, they are a brilliant bands and Im flattered by it, but its bullshit yknow, but the press have to do it. But you cant always hear it when you listen to the album, for me it doesnt sound like it all.
For me I could probably hear the Deftones comparison, and Ive been listening to the album all day to try and pick up the Tool part.
Yeah, I mean those guys are totally out there on their own yknow. No-one can touch them and I wouldnt want to try. And the Deftones, we seriously when we entered the studio to do the album, wed written the album, got the sequence all worked out, all the bits inbetween, everything was ready. And then Colin Richardson, the producer, played us both Deftones albums. And it was the first time that wed heard them when we went to the studio to record the album. And so when the press say it sounds like the Deftones, well it was just by chance yknow.
But theres so many bands like that at the moment anyway. Do you think that theres the element at the moment that the British bands always get compared to the Americans, and never the other way around. Do you think the American bands get it a little bit easier in the press than say you guys.
I think American music always gets sort of front billing in the press. But there are a lot of good underground bands out there in England. But American bands sell English papers, and they always have done for years. So theres no reason why the UK press should suddenly start going to go on about UK bands, because theyre still not going to seel yknow. But I do blame the mainstream press a lot for the English scene not breaking through. And a few of the English bands that broken through, cant mention any names, are so Americanised. American accents, that sort of thing. And Im like, youre fucking from England man. I dont think its that they get it easier, its just the way that its going yknow. American bands sell the magazines. But a lot of American bands are pretty good as well.
There was a letter some time ago in Kerrang! about them covering Will Haven and saying this sort of music shouldnt be covered in the mainstream press. Its to be discovered. If you cover them then theyll sell out. Would you agree with that kind of perspective?
Well I dont see any reason why not. I mean were just a heavy rock band or metal. Thats bullshit. I mean, maybe Smash Hits isnt going to touch us, but the press is the press and if they want to write about bands. Im not into this thing about bands selling out yknow. Its beyond the bands. Yknow if someone wants to write about us then its beyond our control. Musically were not going to like, Nirvana when they kicked it big, so many people got fucked off with the band saying they sold out. And it was like well they havent really, they just write fucking brilliant music.
Yeah, sell out seems to occur when all the people that youve spent ages telling to buy the album suddenly buy it. Or the radio station youve slagged off for not playing a band suddenly start playing them. So they become what youve wanted them to be, and then you start accusing them of selling out as a result.
Yeah, you want your bands to succeed. If they dont get the press theyre going to split up, cos theyre going to be skint and cant survive. At this point, Paul from the Nocte enters the room. Now theyre a band thats going to split up soon. Weve got some info on you Paul informs Luke. Weve got some blinding stuff on you Luke counters. At this point I rember that Paul had said to ask Pulkas something, but Ive totally forgotten what. So the man helps me out. Ask them about being a wuss and see what you get.
Ok then, so are you a wuss.
Absolutely man. Im an intelligent guy. You run at the first sight. You go. Paranoia man, its just a heightened sense of awareness. Thats a cool way of getting out of it.
Oh yeah, dont mess with Medulla Nocte, because apparently theyre the hardest band in the world, and whenever they play gigs, they want people to get up and fight them all the time. Their singer Paul reckons hes the hardest guy in England claims Luke, much to the hardest guy in Englands amusement. I think. Either that or he was going to fight him afterwards. No reply to that then Paul.
No, certainly not. Im not going to get involved in it, it could end in tears. Weve been friendly for awhile, so well try and keep it that way.
Nah, I mean Medulla Nocte are the coolest bunch of guys man, respect to them.
Medulla Nocte and Pulkas combined, theres no harder mixture. Yeah, its kinda like The Spice Girls meets Mammoth counters Luke to Pauls amusement.
Only a few small questions left I think. Any views on remixes at all?
Yeah, we had a remix done, cant remember who its by, well, one of the guys is from Leechwoman. He took part in it, there was two of them. They did a remix of Control and it sounded great, and thatll be coming out in the summer on a Earache album. But I think its cool. For us if we had control, we wouldnt have a whole album of remixes yknow, you might as well go and write another album. Its fun, but to release them yknow, it gets to the point where fans will buy anything.
Yeah, cos my worry is a label wants to put out a new single, and remixes of three tracks is the cheap way out. At least in terms of the concept.
Yeah, you have to pay, and a remix is like £800. Nine Inch Nails, the album Broken a few years ago, and then Fixed. That was the ultimate in remixes, like dont bother anymore yknow. I was so fucked up when I bought it, there was no way you could beat it. None of the songs sounded like the original, so thats the way to remix. Its cool, just in your bedroom.
Ozzfest, got any opinions on it.
Its great. If I can get a ticket Ill go and see it.
But what about the lack of UK bands on there. Theres Pitchshifter.
Cos Neurosis have pulled out and been replaced by another American band. It wouldve been nice to see a British band instead.
Yeah totally. Wed love to do it, but theres shit loads of English bands that deserve to do it ahead of us. What a pisser man. But it is a great bill. But the best band that was on it have pulled off, Neurosis. So many people should be opened up to Neurosis. You dont get the chance to see them over here very often.
I mention having seen them at the small Disco II sectin of Rock City with Entombed.
Neurosis in there! Fucking hell man, what a fucking gig. But the Ozzfest is cool, as a package coming over. To get them all on the same bill is great. But why cant we play.
So finally, plans for the rest of the year.
Well weve got loads of European stuff coming up. Basically going to cover everywhere in Europe. Jules is going over to New York to do some press, and hopefully get over there sometime. But Europe is really the main target at the moment. Weve done some good groundwork and had some killer press, so its like lets get over there. It seems like they want to see us. The beers good. So just touring, right the next album.
And drinking a well earned beer is where we leave the man, to look forward to another night of comfort in the stretch limo. And I head back to Nottingham.