// by Vallogallo
I had the pleasure of speaking with two members of stoner/doom metal band Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs (Newcastle, England) immediately after their DJ set at the Levitation Lounge on the last day of Levitation festival, Sunday, October 29th. They did a live DJ set and played a wide variety of rock music ranging from Blue Oyster Cult to ZZ Top to Hawkwind (“Silver Machine”!) Unfortunately, weather conditions were not ideal and the arctic cold front blew in right around the start of the audio interview, which rendered parts of it inaudible and not suitable for the radio. So here is a transcription of that interview.
Vallogallo: Why don’t you introduce yourselves for the listeners? I forgot this was for the radio.
Matt: I’m Matt, I do all of the shouting in the band, and…
Ewan: I’m Ewan, I’m the drummer.
V: So what’s the Newcastle scene like?
M: It’s nice. It’s a quite a small city, really. So if you’ve got like, niche interest in left field music you get to — you see like the same circles of people going to the same shows, so, you get to know each other quite quickly, which is kind of partly how the band formed (inaudible).
E: It’s a really nice community. Not just for music but like, there’s a place called Star and Shadow which is a volunteer-run venue, and also in Newcastle because it’s just such a small group of people doing things that everyone kind of knows each other, we work together, it’s quite diverse. So you can be involved in things that’s maybe not your particular type of music. (Inaudible)
V: That’s awesome. Is this your first Levitation?
M: Yeah. Although a few years ago we played Levitation in France, which I believe is a spinoff of this festival.
V: I’d love to get out there, I just can’t afford it.
M: Yeah, it’s a long way. (laughs)
V: It’s a long way. What’s it like playing in the US as opposed to in Europe and the UK?
E: It’s great.
E: We were here in March for like a month and we were on the east coast, and we came to Austin for SXSW and think we were really surprised at how many people were into the band really, who came out to the gigs and stuff.
M: I think generally speaking, really enthusiastic people. It was quite interesting, in every city there were different rivalries between the different cities and stuff like that.
E: You get that at home as well, but it was fascinating to learn a little bit more about what was like, and we loved it. We did an awful lot of gigs in a short space of time. It was amazing.
V: So your newest album was a live album that was recorded in New York. Why did you choose that specific show to press to vinyl?
E: Well, I think as a band, we noticed that the more we play live, the more kind of together we are. So if we work, say like thirty gigs in a row, by the end of that line we’re gonna be really together. So that was an opportunity to get that cohesion with the band.
M: It’s quite nice that show as well, because we started that tour in New York at St. Vitus —
V: St. Vitus?!
M: Yeah, so that was like, the first show we did as a band in the US, and then we did like four weeks of touring and we ended the tour with another show in New York at Mercury Lounge. So yeah, it was great, quite nice to kind of start and end in the same city, because we had such an amazing welcome to the country in New York so it was nice to get like, a really good sendoff as well to go home with. So it made that show feel kind of extra special I think.
E: Yeah, it was kind of a landmark occassion, I suppose, a memorable point on the journey…
V: Playing in New York is really big, especially at a place like that.
V: Cool name, cool band. St. Vitus.
V: So tell me about your new album, Land of Sleeper. What was the recording process like and the songwriting process like? Tell me more about the album.
M: Well we recorded it at Sam’s (editor’s note: Sam Grant’s) studio in Newcastle. So he runs a studio with a few other people called Blank Studios. And they record bands from Newcastle and from all over the UK really, people travel there, it’s a very very good studio, which he kind of like, built himself. Which is remarkable really. He spent months like every day building it. So yeah, that’s where we record all our albums. Sam produces them as well, so all of the production work is done by Sam. He always has like a clear idea of how he wants move the production of each album to kind of give each on its own character. We don’t want — we do what we do musically but I think it’s important for each album to have its own sort of, individuality with it.
M: In terms of the songwriting, on this one, we leaned in to kind of more darker atmospheric zones, which we’ve kind of touched upon in other albums. But I think on this album we leaned a little bit more into that, so there are kind of, like tracks like “The Weatherman”…
V: Seems really bleak, the lyrics.
V: The lyrics are bleak.
M: Yeah, like the music, the songwriting afforded me a little bit more of of an opportunity to go that route. Like I’ve always tried to kind of — I’m influenced by the music, so, the riffs and the rhythms. The (inaudible) writing, it’s always kind of the starting point. I don’t really, like, write lyrics at home and then try and put them to the music. I wait and then I see how that affects me emotionally, I suppose. So yeah, I guess they’re kind of darker. Darker flavors on the album, kind of pushed me down that rabbit hole a little bit more.
V: So you did a Donna Summer cover of “Hot Stuff”.
V: Why’d you choose a disco song?
M: I think it was like, a COVID sort of pandemic mania moment, really.
E: We’d not done anything in quite a while.
M: Then we had a couple of band members who needed to isolate, and I think that was kind of a fun way to warm us back up again and get us back in the studio and do something fun and stupid. Weirdly, it kind of worked! (laughter)
V: I love it when bands do that, just pick something of a totally different genre than what they’re used to doing. Kind of challenges you, you know?
M: Yeah. I heard it on the radio — well obviously I’ve heard it lot of times, it’s a classic. But it came on the radion in the car one day and I was kind of thinking, some of the melodies in it, if you transfer it over to (inaudible) it’s really f—n heavy. Yeah that what we did. We didn’t really need to alter it much.
V: This is something I wanted to ask you: your album covers are very “cracking” and striking. It’s something that brought my attention to the band in a way, I guess. The music is great. How did you choose the artists for the album covers?
E: (inaudible) Rocket Recordings puts our stuff out. So the graphic designers, they are kind of connected to that world quite intimately, you know? And I guess we talk about ideas that we want to convey on the covers and everything. We didn’t want us to be too sloppy (inaudible) in our genre, I supppose. And we’re just lucky to work with talented people like with Cal (editor’s note: Callum Rooney), with Levitation as well.
V: Oh I love the poster for your show.
E: Yeah, it’s amazing. He’s just such a talented person. So yeah, we’re quite lucky.
V: Alright, one more question. What’s in the future of the band? What’s up next?
M: We’ve had a pretty heavy year of touring, really. So, maybe some more home time? (laughter) But no, we start next year —
E: Australia next month.
M: God, yeah, we are going to Australia. And when we get home, Christmas —
E: Back in the States in February, yeah?
M: We are back in the States in February. We’ve got more planned than I actually thought. So less home time. But we will be writing new stuff, like, starting next year. Just trying to plan the new album. So yeah, that’s where we’re at.