While rumours of their demise were running rife throughout Manchester, Puressence were jetting around Europe recording their third and most eclectic album "Planet Helpless". Pushing the rhythm section of Szuminsk and Matthews to the fore and bringing in Vee from London based hip hop groups Scaletrix was an inspired move which has seen them bring beats to the fore while still writing melancholic classics.
Q: "Planet Helpless", typically Manchester but at the same time out of step with everything that's going on right now. Do you revel in the fact that it's always been about Puressence rather than being one band in a scene?
A: Sometimes it's a rod for you're own back, but if you're looking for artistic integrity or not selling out it's a good thing to have. When you eventually do smash through and make it big time you've got your integrity in tact and your soul in tact.
We've never been a band that has been massively touted by the press or the radio or anything and our fanbase has still steadily grown and grown over the years. If you wanted to say it - you could say were a cult band because we've got a loyal band of people that follow the band. When you've not done anything for 3 years and you announce a gig in somewhere like Middleton and it sells out for 800 people it continually amazes me.
Q: I think the fans that jumped on board with the second album "Only Forever" are going to see a more eclectic Puressence on "Planet Helpless". If on "Only Forever" it was about building these universal well crafted guitar songs, was there that sense this time of we can do anything?
A: It's borne of a lot of things. I felt like I wanted to cut loose on this album and do what comes naturally. You can't keep doing the same thing all your life for the band, you've got to make it interesting for yourself. So it's still a song based album, but it's eclectic like you say with loads of different styles and almost taking on different personalities for different tunes.
Q: Wasn't the album recorded throughout the whole of Europe?
A: Paris, Athens, Surrey, London, Manchester - all the major capitals of the world!!! I think it keeps it fresh and you move round different place you get different sounds.
So while rumours were flying around back home that we'd split up or we'd been dropped by the label, we were recording away in Europe, but I can't really blame people because there'd been a few stages over the past few years where we didn't know whether the label had got us. The label was taken over by Universal, they had a few different people in A&R for a while who culled a load of bands. And we didn't know where we were up to so all we do is go to our rehearsal room every day and write great songs.
Q: It was the songs that dragged you through these times though. There was a feeling in the band that these were the best songs you had wrote ever. It's the first album where it had truly worked as a band with the rhythm section being pushed to the fore. How was it different this time?
A: I think the rhythm section has just come into it's own on this album. Kev and Tony have really got together and shown what a class act they are. And it's really inspired me what I've seen them doing in the rehearsals to come up with lyrics and tunes for it.
Vee used to be a band called Scaletrix and now he's he got a big deal on his own. He raps, scratches, samples and he's basically come up with some great stuff in conjunction with us. When I think about "Walking Dead" I always had this idea that we'd have the trumpets from 2001: A Space Odyssey and it was up for him to fit it in there.
Q: Going back to what we were saying about Manchester. You've almost straddled the gap between Morrissey's Manchester and the laddy 24 Hour Party People culture. It's taken everything in isn't it?
A: If you look at a band like the Roses they straddled both camps as well because they had these beautiful melodies with chiming guitars and there's the laddy gang element which they always had. I think you are a product of your surroundings and your upbringing, and even though our style encompasses much more than Manchester it's got to be in there somewhere.
I don't think Manchester ever goes away though. It's a vibrant city and the people have got a good attitude. Every now and again the magnifying glass spins and it focuses on Manchester and the bands that come from there.
"Planet Helpless" is out now on Island Records
The band tour throughout October
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