PUP is an exciting new punkrock band out of Canada who will be releasing their self-titled debut on Side One Dummy on April 7th. A couple of weeks after that they will be playing at everybody’s favorite festival, Groezrock. Do we need more reasons to do an interview with these guys? Didn’t think so!
PRT: First of all, congratulations on the album! Things seem to be going extremely well for you guys. What’s it like to be in a band that’s taking off like this?
PUP: Thanks! We’re really happy about how everything has been going. It’s really exciting to get the chance to tour the world and play music every day. We’re just super stoked on life right now and trying to enjoy ourselves while it lasts. Who knows, in half a year we could all be working at Burger King…
PRT: At first your band was called Topanga but you decided to change your name after you saw that Disney was rebooting Boy Meets World. Was that a tough decision to make?
PUP: Yes, it was really tough. We had a lot of buzz in Canada with our old name – things were going quite well for us, and it was really hard to throw that all away with the name change. But it was worth it. For sure.
PRT: You then decided on PUP, which comes with the problem of not being very Google-friendly. I read that it stands for Pathetic Use of Potential. Is that true or do you simply like the idea of being associated with pictures of cute little dogs?
PUP: Definitely the dog thing. Let’s go with that.
PRT: For the people out there who haven’t heard you yet… if PUP was the lovechild of two other bands, which bands would’ve had sex and which position were you conceived in?
PUP: The Bronx fucking the shit out of Modest Mouse. Doggy style (obviously).
PRT: I love how the album has this loose, raw vibe that makes it sound like a live show. Was it hard to capture that in a studio setting?
PUP: Thanks a lot! We had a lot of trouble at first capturing that sound. But when we went to record the full album, we decided to do it live off the floor, which was a first for us. That means, we all set up in the studio and played the songs together, at the same time. And it just sorta worked. Since it was mostly live, there are a lot of mistakes, but its raw and cool and we’re really happy with how it turned out. It sounds like our live show, and that’s really what we were going for.
PRT: You recorded your debut album with Dave Schiffman who has previously worked with the likes of The Bronx and Weezer. What was it like working with him? What’s the most important thing you learned from him?
PUP: Dave is fucking amazing. He’s such a great producer. He knew right away what we were trying to capture and really helped us find our path.
A big thing we learned from him was to trust our first instincts. We have the tendency to overthink a lot. We’d write something awesome, then overthink the parts and add all this other stuff and it would just end up sounding less powerful, so we’d always end up going back to what we were doing in the first place. Whenever we were tracking, Dave would say “sounds like you guys are thinking about this too much. Just play the song. And play it with guts. Like you mean it”. And that’s really what came down to capturing the great takes. Just being confident and aggressive and not being too cerebral about the whole process. Capturing the energy and performance and rawness was the most important thing, and everything else was secondary.
PRT: You seem to be quite the live band but seriously, three shows on one day at SXSW? What was that like?
PUP: It was AWESOME. Fuck ya. We thrive off playing in front of people. It gives us such a kick. We love it. I wish I could do that every day.
PRT: You’ll be playing at Groezrock in a little over a month. Any expectations?
PUP: We’re so stoked! Just to be able to go to Belgium and play music is a pretty crazy thing for a Canadian band, let alone at one of the best punk rock festivals in the world. We’re gonna get drunk and play some music then crowdsurf to the Descendents. It’s going to be the best.
PRT: Last question… why did PUP cross the road?
PUP: We don’t like to shit where we eat, if you know what I mean.