Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs
Newcastle’s sludgy rock’n’roll deviants talk new music, their Catholic roots and actual pigs.
“With any sort of music with me, you’re dealing with emotional intensity,” Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs singer-songwriter Matt Baty reflects. “Regardless of our ridiculous and obnoxious name, there’s an underlying purpose behind everything we do, but it is shrouded in a mask of joviality.”
The band that sanity demands we call simply Pigs grew out of numerous interlocked outfits in Newcastle’s flourishing underground rock scene, not least the sludgy bleakness of
Khünnt, who share most of Pigs’ members. The latter’s new, second album, King Of Cowards, stands out not only for its mixture of doom-metal gravity and rocketing rock’n’roll, but also lyrics that grapple with depression, guilt, religion and love.
Having played drums in his previous bands, Baty found songwriting challenging. His unusual, subconscious technique sees him primal hollering during band rehearsals, which he then finesses into words, as well as remembering half-dreamt lyrics at the point of sleep. “It wasn’t until the fourth song that I noticed this thread of sin and guilt and vices,” he says.
These themes grew out of Baty’s Catholic upbringing. “At
Catholic church and school,” he says, “everything you do has a consequence. I don’t want to bash religion. It’s a very strange world, and there are a lot of unanswered questions. I just grew up with an overriding feeling of being under the control of someone else.”
The album’s closing track, Gloamer, though, throws off the earlier crushing guilt to declare: ‘You are loved’. “That song’s my redemption,” Baty says. “If one or two people can be helped, I’ll be happy.”
King Of Cowards was recorded in largely idyllic circumstances, after guitarist Adam Sykes spotted a luxurious Airbnb pad in Italian mountain country.
Its proximity to wild boar hunting grounds caused a bit of a scare, though.
“Chris [Morley] our drummer came snout to snout at one point,” laughs Baty. “He was outside having a cigarette, and started screaming about a bear. He ran inside and – as far as he knew – locked Johnny [Hedley, bassist] outside with the bear he was screaming about! We’re convinced it was a wild boar.”
Unfortunate as it is that a band called Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs can’t tell the difference between a pig and a bear, the resultant album was worth the porcine trauma. Baty considers if writing it turned his own guilt into something positive.
“Being a frontman has forced me to communicate better,” he says. “The first couple of gigs, I had my back to people throughout. And then I turned around and noticed how much people were enjoying things. No one’s in these venues to have a bad time. In that sense, everyone’s supporting each other. If you can take that realisation into everyday life, then things get a little easier.” NH
FOR FANS OF...“A lot of our other bands are slow and minimalist,” Matt Baty says of their influences. “But we love the momentum of Krautrock, and Motörhead and Black Sabbath at their most pacey. They were common influences that we were looking to meld together, and have something with a bit more life in it.”