It happened on a Sunday, in the Desertfest Berlin backstage. While the crowd was watching Kaleidobolt play, I was lucky enough to meet up with Matthew, Adam and Sam of Newcastle’s mighty and explosive post-doom banging machine Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs. Get ready for an insightful and chilled discussion with England’s craziest rockers.
(I would like to kindly remind our readers that I ALWAYS type all 7 Pigs and never do any copy-pasting of their name. Yes, I’m proud of that fact.) As I walked into the band’s backstage room, guitarist Adam Ian Sykes was standing next to his brand new acquisition, a ceramic panther he managed to get for 50 euros at the flea market next door. “He wanted 80, I said 50. He said no, I walked away and he came running,” he said. From then on, I knew I was in for a great interview!
When we google your name, you’re described as a jazz band. Are you aware of that and what do you think?
Matthew (Baty, vocals): A jazz band??? I wasn’t aware, were you?
Adam (Ian Sykes, guitar): No, but I mean… We’ve just finished recording a new album and funny enough, it’s a jazz one.
Matthew: Maybe there’s a jazz band with the same name. We would need to get a lawyer.
Sam (Grant, guitar): Google says we’re an indie band. I’d take jazz over that, without a doubt!
It takes around 7 seconds to process the band name and it’s also the time it takes to make a good impression. Did you want people to make up their mind by the time they’re done saying “Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs”?
M: Usually when I get to the 5th time of me saying Pigs, that’s when I start to feel embarrassed.
S: It’s the first for me!
M: The first?
A: I think that anyone that hears our name, regardless of how long it takes, has already made up their mind.
I’ve been in love with your last album ‘Viscerals’ since its release. It’s been out for almost two years now and I wanted to know what’s your relationship with this album as you could not tour for it?
M: I don’t think we have a different relationship with this album compared to the others. It was obviously disappointing that we could not tour and play any of the newer songs. That’s the fun part of releasing an album for me: getting on the road and performing it. I’m proud of the record. I’m proud of all of them, still. I try not to reflect on them too much once they’re released, I don’t listen to them, you know. We had to relearn all of the songs when it came time to do live shows. It was weird, so much time had passed, we completely forgot how to play them. But that was the same for every band, we can’t complain too much about that.
“With “Viscerals”, when we went to the studio, there were still parts missing or not fully ready. With this next record, we went into the studio and pretty much knew how to play the songs from start to finish. It was done quickly. I like that.“
You’ve just finished recording a new album. We’ve learned not to expect anything from Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, but can you tease some info?
A: Ewan who played drums originally is back. So it’s a different drummer than on the last two albums, which changed things up and impacted the writing quite a lot. Much more than I was expecting actually.
M: We wrote this one the same way we wrote “King of Cowards”. We went away for a week to a studio in Wales, just to write and demo the whole album. It was an intense but enjoyable process. After four days we had the full album written. With “Viscerals”, when we went to the studio, there were still parts missing or not fully ready. With this next record, we went into the studio and pretty much knew how to play the songs from start to finish. It was done quickly. I like that.
When listening to your music, I can hear influences from the ’70s, the ’80s, or the ’90s. If you could only listen to albums from one of these decades, which one would it be?
A: I would probably have to go for the ’70s.
M: But it’d be such a shame though because you’d have to lose all the guilty pleasures of the 80s and 90s.
A: Johnny (bass) would go 2000’s nu metal. (Laughs)
M: I’m trying to imagine a world without Destiny’s Child and that seems like a very sad existence. But it would have to be the 70s.
You went from long doomy tracks to shorter bangers over the course of three albums. Was this a conscious choice?
A: It was semi-conscious. We definitely wanted to try something we haven’t really done before. We did it on “Feed The Rats” with two long songs and one short in the middle. But that album was the one we gave the least amount of thought, it was just whatever felt right.
M: All of us got a sense of where a section should actually end and move on into another. Condensing songs down is a more challenging option for us than playing very long and repetitive songs. We’ve done it early on, it was enjoyable and we were quite good at it, but I think you can get too comfortable doing that. It’s good having the challenge of keeping the intensity and energy that you would manifest over a longer stretch and trying to capture that in a shorter space.
S: It’s really fun having to get a song and try to pick out its raw essence. It takes the stuff away and boils it down. For the last couple of albums, and especially with “Viscerals”, we were more inclined to it. But then the irony is after you’ve done that, you can then rest from it, and with this new album we stepped back from that feeling because you don’t want to constantly use the same methods.
“Music should be a catharsis. I think for us, our therapy is just laughing, joking and having fun.“
There is a theatrical aspect to your music. Would you say it’s in Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs’ DNA or should we expect you to come up all suited, grumpy and release your own Black Album one day?
M: (laughs) No, I don’t think that’s gonna happen.
A: It’s very important that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. It would be borderline impossible. When you boil it down, it’s just really silly, isn’t it?
S: We gotta have fun. We all have jobs and lives and the pressures of existence all the time. Music should be a catharsis. I think for us, our therapy is just laughing, joking and having fun. So we’ll probably always have a little bit of this.
You started the band ten years ago now, how would you compare the band then and now?
A: We have more hair, less time (laughs). It’s probably the most like it was ten years ago with Ewan coming back. Basically, we regressed.
S: Ever so slightly more cynical? No, still fun, not jaded yet. 10 years, still not jaded!
M: We’re louder! We got a lot more gear. We keep adding to the backline. It’s a scary prospect to carry on doing that, but I think it’ll get better.
A: We’re a lot less terrified. Still terrified, don’t get me wrong.
Terrified by what? Being a band, going on stage?
A: All of that.
M: Life in general! (laughs)
S: It’s pretty weird writing derivative one-finger riffs and then on the second album being like “how many of these riffs can I write?” and then realize all of a sudden with your third album that there’s comfort in that and there’s loads of riffs…
A: … and you can play all of them with one finger!
S: Let’s keep writing riffs, there’s a lot of them. Untapped.
Later that day, the band delivered an intense performance, regarded by most as one of the highlights of Desertfest Berlin 2022. I caught back with Adam after their set and they seemed thrilled by their performance and the sound on stage. I confirmed that it sounded killer from the crowd as well. Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs has yet to disappoint me and they’ll be back with a new record soon, what a blessing!
Last modified: 26 July 2022