In the studio with Pupil Slicer: “It’s dialled up to 11: weirder riffs, harder breakdowns…”

Following brilliant debut Mirrors, Brit grinders Pupil Slicer invite us into the studio to find out everything about highly-anticipated second album Blossom…

In the studio with Pupil Slicer: “It’s dialled up to 11: weirder riffs, harder breakdowns…”
Nick Ruskell
Nick Sayers

Pupil Slicer have just finished recording their second album, Blossom. We caught up with singer/guitarist Kate Davies and bassist Luke Fabian to hear how they realised they were onto a concept record, took inspo from video games, and went hand-clap crazy…

It’s a concept album

Kate: “It’s about death and rebirth and acceptance of finality. It’s a proper story with a protagonist and everything. What do they get up to? Well, you have to wait ’til you hear the album to find that out, don’t you? No spoilers! It’s an amalgamation of films like Event Horizon and Tetsuo: The Iron Man. There’s video games, too, like The Outer Wilds and Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker. That was really emotionally moving for me. I was crying for, like, five hours straight at the end of it. I was going through a really hard time in my life, and it was just what I needed to get over abject despair and depression and stuff.”

It’s dark, but it’s more positive than debut Mirrors

Kate: “It’s not like the first album, which was going, ‘Everything’s shit.’”
“If someone listened to Mirrors, they’d probably think, ‘Man, Kate isn’t in a great place.’ On this one it’s more like, ‘Well, you might not still be totally happy, but you sound better.’ It definitely feels more positive, as opposed to just grinding.”

It’s bonkers

Kate: “I wanted it to be more dialled up to 11: weirder riffs, harder breakdowns, much more post-y post songs, more shoegaze-y shoegaze songs. It’s all over the place, but it’s also cohesive. It’s got a five-minute indie-rock song, a six-minute shoegaze song, an eight-minute post-black metal song…”
Luke: “And there’s clapping, like on that Cure song, Close To Me.”
Kate: “And a tambourine and an egg-shaker! There’s a song with 909 trap drums, and one with purposefully obvious Auto-Tuned vocals. There’s 20 layers of synths, there’s mad harmonies… there’s everything!”

It was recorded around work and wrestling

Kate: “It was 28 days at The Ranch in Southampton with Lewis Johns, with two days off. I was working my job remotely while I did it. I’d get up at six, work for four hours, then record for 10 hours, clock off, do a bit more work…”
Luke: “Watch early-2000s wrestling…”
Kate: “Yeah. And then it was bedtime. After a month of that I was just dead.”
Luke: “The Ranch is just round the corner from where I work. I’d go into work, and then walk along country lanes to go to the studio. I’d walk in to work and they’d go, ‘Here he is, Mr. Rock Star!’”

They haven’t actually played most of it properly yet

Kate: “We’ve jammed, like, two songs. And they were quite hard. So we gave up.”
Luke: “The Slicer work ethic, right there!”
Kate: “We told our label and they went, ‘That’s not good to hear.’ But that’s what we did for Mirrors – I wrote songs that I couldn’t play, and they’re fine now! We didn’t want to play Martyrs live because it was too hard. But now it’s easy because we’ve played it for, like, 40 nights.”

Pupil Slicer will release Blossom this year. The band play Download Festival in June. This article originally appeared in the December 2022 issue of the magazine.

Read this: Pupil Slicer: “We’re trying to make something which gives us the same feeling as all these different bands we love”

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