Frank Carter is, by his own admission, a bit of a loner. Having left Gallows in 2011, the then twenty-seven-year-old Frank found himself looking for a new musical project around three thousand miles from his hometown of Hemel Hempstead. “I’m not a particularly sociable person; when I went to New York I just hung out on my own and worked, just painted or whatever,” he tells Clash. “When I wanted to start a new band I’d put feelers out to a few people, and a couple of people had come back but it never really happened.” Figuring that going to check out bands he liked was as good a way as any to meet like-minded musicians, he soon bumped into New York native, and soon to be Pure Love accomplice, Jim Carroll.
“I met Jim originally at The Charleston at an Acid Tiger show and we talked briefly then. I liked all the bands he’d been in previously and then we met again at a Psychic Limb and All Pigs Must Die show at Cake Shop in Manhattan. About a week later he sent me twelve songs and one of them was just golden, and I could immediately hear vocals. I wrote lyrics there and then, sang it, recorded it, sent it back to him and that was it, we had our first song.”
Both Frank and Jim emphasise how liberating it is to write songs as a duo, rather than having too many voices slowing down the songwriting process due to differences in opinion and personal agendas. “It’s always been one of my least favourite things in bands, deliberating too much,” says Jim. “I’ve always played with people who can work quickly. If you get an idea just go with it and play it out as quickly as possible because you can lose that little spark.”
“Because it’s just the two of us it’s so free and so instant, mad amounts of instant gratification,” agrees Frank. “If Jim has any idea for a song he just puts it down and sends it over, and immediately I’ll hear something; for the most part it’s straight there. Likewise I’ve got hundreds of songs written - I’ll send over a little part of a melody and within a day it’s done; there’s the basis for a song within a day. It’s great just having the two of us as the band because it makes decision making a lot quicker and we can really focus on the songs. It’s about the music not the people and we’re the core.”
In the hours before Pure Love conclude their latest tour they’re hanging out down the road from the show’s venue in Le Pub, a familiar haunt to anyone who’s part of the UK hardcore scene, a scene that’s renowned for attributing legendary status to tiny venues in far flung corners of Britain. Frank believes that just because the Pure Love sound is different from his and Jim’s previous output, it doesn’t mean they’re not staying true to their punk roots. “Although we’re a rock and roll band, that in itself is the most punk rock thing about us. I’ve always said we’re like a punk rock and roll band because it’s not like we’ve given up who we were. I have changed personally quite drastically - I’m not as much as a twat as I used to be - but I feel that in sticking to our guns and saying ‘This is who we are’, that’s punk rock and roll and we’re bringing that back to people.”
This is an excerpt from the January 2013 issue of Clash magazine. Find out more about the issue.
Words: Paddy Hughes
Photography: Nick Dorey