On Saturday night I was lucky enough to chat to Frank Carter and Jim Carroll, the British/American duo behind Pure Love. Pure Love are currently touring with We Are The Ocean and Welsh rockers LostProphets, after Pulled Apart By Horses unfortunately cancelled earlier this year.
To kick off our conversation, Jim explained first of all how long they’d known each other.
“Really about two years. We met a few years ago when our old bands played together. So we got together there, became friends. So yeah, about two years.”
Pure Love had to re-arrange their tour dates when Pulled Apart By Horses cancelled at short notice. Instead, LostProphets were able to squeeze them in at the last minute; something which Frank seemed grateful for.
“The situation is that [the original tour] got cancelled, the end. Basically they’re going to the studio to write a new album, so that’s the ‘official reason’… I mean, it worked out for us. We’re quite lucky to be able to jump on new shows last minute, just do what we do, I mean regardless of who we’re playing with we’re still gonna play the same, so it’s good for us.”
“Yeah I mean it’s only been a few days but everyone’s nice,” adds Jim with a knowing smile on his face.
Pure Love is a project quite different from the kinds of music these boys are used to playing. I wondered where Frank’s stunning voice had come from, and how long he’d been hiding it away for.
“It was never the right time, you know what I mean? It really wouldn’t work with like, hardcore music. It wasn’t really about like trying to cross over. We just had different ideas. So when I met Jimmy it just fell into place. Then suddenly, ‘right, I’ve got the right person to play off,’ and that way it just happened really fast. Suddenly it’s all coming together. It’s the way he writes the music, it’s the way I sing.”
With the band set to go, next comes the material to perform and record. Pure Love have been working on their upcoming album Anthems for a while, explains Frank:
“It’s a good mix, I mean it’s a pretty up-to-date record, but it’s also like 10 years old really you know what I mean? Like both of us, the album spanned a big period of time in both of our lives which is why it sounds… classic. There’s a lot new to it. I like what we have now.”
Even the name of their new band is a step aside from normality for these boys. From Gallows to The Hope Conspiracy, Jim explains how the duo came up with Pure Love as their new identity.
“It comes from a band called the Mahavishnu Orchestra and they have a song called ‘Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love’ and I just listened to ‘em one day. It kinda popped jumped out at me. We’d been going back and forth for like weeks trying to come up with names…”
“Our text conversations had just turned into like just band names, you know?”
“When there was no response… you knew to keep trying.”
Even though it seems like a delicate subject for Frank, I had to hear in his own words what happened between him and Gallows, and what it was that made him decide to leave.
“It’s not a touchy question… I just wasn’t happy. There’s a few answers but the main answer is that I just wasn’t happy. We just had literally… different ideas about what we wanted to do… in lots of ways we weren’t seeing eye to eye. I think the best thing for me to have done was to leave. I mean it’s worked out great they’ve just put out a good album, we’re gonna put out a killer album next year, everyone’s happy, you know? That’s what these bands… what we should be about, just happiness. If you’re not happy doing something, change it.”
Jim’s situation with The Hope Conspiracy was similar, although it’s good to hear that they’re both still in contact with their old bands.
“Uh yeah, I mean… we were both going through a really rough patch, at the same time… I’d moved to a new city and I kinda just let go of everything. I had in my old town, I kinda started fresh, and it’s tough to get set. I knew what my ultimate goal was – there’s a lot of trials and tribulations getting there. The time that we started this we were kinda going through similar things so you know, it worked out really well.”
When asking what Frank’s view on Wade [MacNeil] as Gallows’ new frontman, I got the impression he’d had enough on the subject:
“I don’t wanna talk about Gallows any more, is that alright? I just, I’ve talked about it enough already… If you want to Pure Love you can. But I like Wade as a friend… I just don’t wanna keep going over all that trampoline shit, especially now. Like, I’m in another band.”
On to more positive matters, I wanted to know if this newborn singer would be performing in the crowd, as he’s been known to do both with Gallows and as a part of Pure Love. He simply said: “Every single night.”
The week before, it was announced that Pure Love would be performing an extra date in London, at The Old Blue Last, to make up for LostProphets leaving out the capital entirely. This show graciously offered free entry, courtesy of the band themselves.
An important thing about Pure Love is the international heritage of the band, mainly Jim’s American roots. There’s some speculation about whether Pure Love will stay a UK-based band or whether in time they’ll spread their wings, a question I put forward to Jim.
“Yeah, I mean we live there. It was gonna happen, you know… It just worked out that our label is out here, and that’s just kinda how it is right now. We’ll get there eventually.”
Frank has high hopes for the immediate success of the band, and has even planned out what he wants to achieve next.
“Playing Wembley. In a year, that’s do-able isn’t it. I think they feel like, you know, they’ve invested a lot of UK money in us, so… We’ll make another deal before they pack us off”
Anthems is due for release in the UK early next year. Frank managed to let me in to a little more information about the album’s content.
“When we went to record our debut, we went in with like 35 songs and came out with 11. We were trying to cut music down, and in the end we had enough recorded… essentially the second album is written, really, but I don’t think I’m happy with that. You know, maybe we’ll re-visit a couple of the songs. We’ll have a big start and keep adding to it. I want to have it written by the end of next year. I want as small a gap as possible between albums. We don’t want it to be stale.”
Two of the singles which have been released so far, ‘Handsome Devil’s Club’ and ‘Bury My Bones’, have been hits on YouTube through promotion the recent tours: they already have viewings of 246,000 and 612,000 respectively. I was most interested in the video for ‘Riot Song’, which currently has 67,000 views online. Primarily I wanted to know who the kids in the video are.
“They’re our director… they’re the director’s kids. He’s a good friend of ours, Ross [Cairns], he’s a great friend of ours… He just got ‘em to do it”
Not just the style of music has changed. Jimmy and Frank are seen in interviews and videos wearing smart shirts and looking overall more gentlemanly; quite a change from Frank’s cut-off band tees.
“That was what the band was like you know? That was a couple of years ago. I was playing hardcore and you’d never do that in a club, like if you go out in a shirt and tie you know you’re gonna struggle. It’s gonna hurt you. I’ve always dressed like this you know? Just not to play in. Now I’m doing something slightly different.”
Jim also mentions how the rest of Pure Love “came over here bare foot,” so he decided to “get ‘em some shoes.” On their FaceBook page in October, Pure Love thanked Dr. Marten for stocking them up before the tour.
Jim found naming his favourite album a tricky one:
“Of all time? There’s a lot. Bad Brains’ first record changed my life. That’s why.”
Whereas Frank found it easier to decide:
“The Beatles probably, like Best of The Beatles. I don’t know… It’s a good collection of songs.”
Both gents have done some pretty stupid stuff in their time. Frank told me about one gig where he thought it would be fun to have Jim play on his shoulders for a while… “Immediately when I took the weight off I was like ‘Holy shit, fuck!’” Other than Jim’s whiskey drinking (“I mean drinking way too much whiskey before you play”), it’s fair to say that they’ve calmed down in recent years.
“Yesterday I picked him up, on my shoulders and that was pretty fucking stupid. My back is really hurting. I saw him like, coming from this crowd circle thing, and a guy gave us a hand putting him on my shoulders. Immediately when I took the weight off I was like ‘Holy shit, fuck!’”
Being a bit of a joker, Jim tried to convince me he has “Dancing bears… there’s a band of them right across my thigh… I don’t really have that!” Frank on the other hand favours his wife Sarah’s name tattooed twice, a nice touch for the reticent family man.
All in all the Pure Love boys come across as decent, fun-loving guys, and it was a privilege to meet them. Anthems will be available in the UK on February 4th.