Pure Love: Pure And Simple
If statistics are any guide, second marriages are more stable than first ones. The parties have learned from their mistakes, they’ve worked out more realistic expectations and have a clearer idea of what it is that they want out of the relationship. Is it the same for bands? It seems so, at least the way Pure Love tell it. When Gallows’ frontman Frank Carter creatively hooked up with former Hope Conspiracy guitarist Jim Carroll they swiftly realised that they had something special going on.
“Gallows had been sitting idle for a couple of years,” Carter explains, “and I met Jimmy through a few friends in New York. And once we’d spent a handful of nights in the studio together I realised that I wasn’t happy with what I was doing [with Gallows] and suddenly Pure Love meant everything to me, and regardless of whether or not it was a good gamble I knew I had to leave my old band.”
“Our previous bands had actually played together at a certain point in 2006,” Carroll adds, “and we met briefly but didn’t keep in contact or anything. Initially we were thinking that we were going to do some sort of heavy band, but when we sat down to talk about it we realised we didn’t really want to do that. We wanted to do something different and it started from there.”
Fans of either of their previous bands might be in for a surprise with Pure Love’s Anthems. It’s 11 pieces of chord-driven rock, with nary a face-melting scream or a hardcore breakdown to be heard.
“The key thing that we kept coming back to was that we wanna have fun,” Carter declares. “We don’t want to be in a band if we’re not having fun. So we set about writing some songs and having some fun, and what you’ve got is Pure Love: a band that has great songs and is having fun constantly. Touring has never been this much fun: we just want to get out there and play some catchy rock’n’roll songs and see the world. I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had playing music and feel that I’m making a really positive contribution, and that I’m not holding anyone back and that I bring a lot to the table. Jim the brings the riffs and I bring the lyrics and the melody and together everything’s there.”
Does this mean that Carter was made to feel he was holding things back in Gallows?
“I don’t want to talk too much about the differences between the bands because obviously I’m not in that band anymore,” he counters. “The songwriting process in Pure Love is incredibly fluid and really organic, and just non-stop. Jimmy writes all the time and he’s got all this stuff that he’s written over years and years. And I’m very similar in the way that I write in that I have loads of stuff that’s never found a home, so when we came together there was a flurry of activity.”
“The first night we sat down I went home and sent Frank a bunch of songs I’d been working on and he came back with one that he’d put lyrics to,” Carroll confirms. “And that was the first song that we wrote.”
“One of the first songs we wrote was “Anthem”,” Carter enthuses. “It’s one of the songs we’ve been playing for the longest time, and it’s a slow grinding bluesy, moody rock song, and it’s about our previous jobs – he was working a shitty job in a factory when I met him and I was just stuck in a rut with my art and not going anywhere, and he sent me this riff and I was like, ‘Fuck, that’s exactly what I had in my mind for this song!’ and I wrote a handful of lyrics down and sent him a melody and he was like, ‘You’ve written the lyrics I had in my mind for this song!’”
Officially the band is just Carter and Carroll (“It makes the decision making process that much easier,” Carroll shrugs. “We can just turn to each other and get it done quickly. It’s the easiest process of any band I’ve been in.”), but live they’re a rockin’ five-piece.
“We’ve got an amazing drummer, Jared Shavelson [also ex-The Hope Conspiracy], he’s such a hammer behind the drums, and Jol [Mulholland, former Liam Finn sideman] playing bass and Mitch [Thomas Mitchener of Spycatcher] on guitar and keys. They’re all great friends; everyone that’s playing is super relaxed. There’s no egos, there’s no fucking maniacs in the band, we just go out and play music and have a great time. So it’s gonna work.”
Super-relaxed, no maniacs, no egos… look, not to harp on about it, but it’s hard not to interpret that as being a comparison with…
“Look, I don’t wanna talk about Gallows,” he interrupts. “Everything that I wanted to say about what Gallows was to me, I’ve already said. From now on I’m just talking about my new band, because as far as I’m concerned my new band is my heart and my soul right now. I don’t want to talk about the past. Everybody knows what Gallows was and how it went down, and they’re still going. So I don’t know if it’s hard work anymore. It’s not for me.”
And it does seem rude to talk about the ex when Pure Love sound like they’re in the musical equivalent of the first flush of a relationship: there’s a powerful connection, everything’s exciting, the sex is amazing…
“Um, yeah,” Carroll replies, carefully. “It was good – immediately we got together and started pooling what we had, it worked perfectly. So yeah, I guess you could compare it to that… if you wanted to.”
“Look, if you’re not having fun and you’re not excited about your work, then it becomes work. And who wants that? I never ever once wanted to work in my life,” Carter insists. “I’m not scared of hard work, but I don’t want to do it for a living.”
Anthems is out now on Universal.