When you go to a different country, it’s always the little things that amaze you (‘Les Cadburys fingres’, anyone?) For Canadian punk rockers PUP, who have just finished up their first ever UK Tour, the idea of having a pint in the presence of a canine companion at the pub is new to them. As is being able to drink when you’re a passenger in the car (and we’ve got free healthcare for a while longer, lads!)
Yes, dear old Blighty. The Four Canadian dudes who play balls to the wall punk, ripping the stage up at raucous live shows, made the trip over the pond for their first ever UK Tour, co-headlining with rad two piece Slaves for a number of dates.
Ahead of a killer showing at their Manchester gig at Soup Kitchen, I caught up with guitarists/vocalists Stefan and Steve, where we discussed dogs in pubs, ‘shit shows’ and what we can expect from their debut album.
You are currently on your first ever tour of the UK, How’s it going so far?
Steve: Good. It’s been really fun, it’s cool to be over here in a place that we’ve never been before, playing music.
Stefan: Yeah, I mean it’s exciting to see new places and meet people and get to hang out.
I notice on social media and various sites, that you’ve noticed certain things about the UK that you quite like – and some things you don’t quite like.
Stefan: Yeah, I mean yesterday in Bristol we saw that dogs were allowed to just hang out in the pub, which is not something, unless it was like a service dog for someone who’s like visually impaired or something, would not be allowed in Canada. Then it’s funny, as soon as like that was tweeted, these dogs got into like a big fight in the pub (laughs) Erm, yeah it’s been great, it’s been funny to also kind of have people kinda do a double take when they hear us speak, like when we order a coffee or something, and they often think we’re American so we have to kind of set the record straight. We are not, in fact, American – We’re Canadian.
As well, I noticed that the whole drinking and driving thing, well not drinking whilst driving, but passengers…
Steve: Yeah, you’re not allowed to do that in Canada, so when we get riders in our North American tours, we have all this beer in the back and we’re never allowed to crack it. It’s really tempting – It sucks…
Stefan: Usually have to wait till we get back to wherever we’re staying.
Steve: I guess it’s kind of good, ‘cus it’s like solidarity for the driver. I kind of feel bad for Ben who’s driving us around on this tour, ‘cus we’re gonna be wasted the whole time and he’s gonna be fuckin’ pissed off with us – Annoyed with these drunken idiot Canadians in the back of his van.
How have the UK shows been so far?
Steve: London was really fun, London was cool. I mean, they’ve both been like headline shows our first time here, so it’s like…It’s building, you know? It’s definitely a change from across the Ocean. We feel really lucky just to be able to play to anybody over here.
Stefan: The bands have been super cool too, it’s been cool to just meet bands and hear what’s going on in punk music here.
As well as the UK, you’re off on tour around the US. Am I right in thinking that’s your first US type visit?
Steve: No, not really. We’ve toured the North East quite a bit. It’ll be our first time to the South West. But yeah, it’s definitely the longest American tour we’ve done, so that’ll be cool.
Whereabouts are you getting to?
Steve: We’re pretty much going all around the circumference of the States, ‘cus there’s no point going to the Midwest…
Stefan: The perimeter loop or whatever, just kind of from Seattle all the way down to California, across to Georgia through Texas and all the way back up again.
SXSW – I’ve heard you’re doing that. Are you guys really psyched about doing that?
Steve: Yeah, I’ve been before – It’s a shit show. Err…
Stefan: (Laughs) I’ve never been, but I’m looking forward to the shit show.
A shit show, of course, not meaning it’s a rubbish show I assume?
Steve: No no no – It’s like a ‘gong show‘. Like.. It’s like – a clusterfuck.
Stefan: Too many bands, too many beers, too much sun.
Steve: Too many drunk kids – All in a good way though.
Stefan: Yeah, all stuff we like (laughs)
Steve: It’s gonna be a lot of BBQ beef brisket and fucking wasted kids crowd surfing, so…It’ll be good.
Away from touring and stuff like that, you’ve just released your debut album – What can you tell us about that?
Steve: It’s out in Canada, it’s coming out Worldwide this Spring on SideOneDummy. It’s a punk rock record. It was produced by a guy named Dave Schiffman, we recorded it live off the floor mostly, and it sounds like our live show.
I read that you guys like to have what happens live, in the record. Is that about right?
Stefan: Yeah, I think it’s important for us to capture the energy that we try and bring to our live performance, and we tried to do that a bunch of different ways in previous recordings, but it just felt like we didn’t hit it. We feel like on this record it’s really something that we’ve been able to do to the best of our ability.
How have early receptions been to it?
Steve: Really mindblowing for us. I mean, we didn’t really expect a lot. So it’s out in Canada and the reception there has been amazing. Already we’re starting to feel really good about the rest of the world, like we’ve only released a song or two off of it, but people seem excited about it. To be honest, we didn’t really expect anyone to give a shit about our little punk rock record, but people seem excited and that’s exciting for us.
What else have you got on for the rest of the year?
Stefan: We just announced we’re playing Groezrock in Belgium on May 2nd, so that’ll be cool. I think we’re gonna be back, we’re playing the Live at Leeds travelling thing, so we’ll be back here in May, which will be exciting. Hopefully we can get to hit some of the places that we’ve been to, and see some new places. Other than that, just staying on the road, anywhere that they’ll have us play.
Is there gonna be a lot of couch surfing whilst you tour the album?
Steve: Yeah, we don’t have any money, so…We’re just trying to make it work right now, touring is an expensive thing to do, and we just have to discuss with our label and our manager that we’re gonna be on the road pretty much from now until December at least. Just trying to make it work with whatever, in any way we can without any money – sleep on floors, eat canned soup every day, it’s gonna be good. We’re on a hunger strike right now ‘cus the UK is way too expensive.