Geordie roar: Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs return to Raw Power Festival
PUBLISHED: 11:20 17 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:20 17 May 2018
Ahead of their performance at The Dome in Tufnell Park on May 26, frontman Matt Baty discusses the band's high-energy live shows and funding their forthcoming second album
Speaking to Matt Baty, the softly spoken, down-to-earth frontman of the amusingly named five-piece Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs (aka Pigs x7), you get little sense, at first, of the intensity, some might even say ferocity, of their sound.
Drawing influence from old school psychedelic outfits like Motörhead and Black Sabbath, as well as the sludgier doom metal of more recent decades, Pigs x7 burst onto the scene with an EP, in 2013.
“We came up with just Pigs initially, because I think that’s how we were feeling about ourselves mentally at the time,” he jokes, as we talk over the phone from his hometown of Newcastle, “and then repeating it seven times was just making it as obnoxious as possible.
“I like the tongue in cheekness of it – it’s going back to that element of rock music, how it started out you know? We’re not very serious people and I don’t see why our live performances should have to be deadly serious either.”
The wild essence of those legendary live shows, which cemented the band’s reputation as a rising force in the world of metal, is also captured on their records, and was inspired by a revelatory teenage experience.
“Round about the age of 15 my parents drove me and my friends to Manchester, to watch System Of A Down. I understand they’re perhaps not the coolest reference point ever,” he adds, laughing.
“Well supporting System Of A Down was a band called The Dillinger Escape Plan. We went to that show not really knowing anything about them at all, and they came on and absolutely wiped the floor with me. The energy and the intensity of what they were doing just totally blew me away.
“At the time I was listening to a lot of your bog standard nu-metal and commercial metal music, but as soon as I discovered that band all of that just seemed so stagnant and insipid – really rehearsed, really polished and ultra produced.
“I’d go with that show as being a pretty influential one.”
Their first full album, ‘Feed the Rats’, released last year, channelled that immediacy to great effect and the same approach, Baty says, has been taken on their latest record. After all, why change a winning formula? “As soon as we start to take our time and overly consider things I think we lose something. Once I get off the phone to you, I’m going to do the vocals on the closing track of the album, and that’s everything recorded.”
One thing that has changed with this record, though, is the band’s ability to hire studio “luxuries”, thanks to funding from the PRS Momentum Fund, he explains.
“Sam [one of the band’s guitarists] is a studio engineer, and had a vision of how he wanted this album to sound. He put together a wish list of things he’d like to work with, so we’ve been able to do that.
“We’ve hired in a really nice drum kit and a couple of extra bits of gear for the recording – compressors and things like that – that have made it sound great.”
It’s an avenue Baty encourages other young and developing musicians to consider. “It’s not really all that complicated. PRS do a few rounds of funding every year and the application isn’t too taxing. You highlight where you are as a band or a singer/songwriter, what you’ve achieved, then say what more you hope to be able to do with the funding.”
With that second album nearly complete, Pigs x7 are looking forward to playing some more shows, including their third appearance at Raw Power festival at Tufnell Dome, which Baty describes as “an amazing room – it’s almost got an old dancehall sort of feel to it”.
“It’s always nice when we’ve played live,” he adds, “especially at some of the more leftfield festivals, where people will go and take a chance on bands.
“The best instance that that’s happened was at Supernormal Festival. This lady came up afterwards and said, ‘My son really enjoyed that – he wanted to come and say hello to the shouty man.’
“I looked down and there’s this kid there that was maybe four years old. She said he really loved it – isn’t that brilliant?”
Raw Power Festival is at The Dome and Boston Music Room, both in Tufnell Park, from Friday May 25 to Sunday 27.