Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Samuel, Blue Velvet – PUP, PUP
To my Dearest Pup,
I remember the first time that we exchanged glances. I was shopping around at Red Eye Records when some out-of-body gravitational pull was drawing me to where you were sitting. As I was flicking through your neighbours that you lived next to, you instantly drew my eye. Immediately smiling back at me with your unforgettable artwork, I realised that I had to listen to what you had to say. To be fair, I was really broke that day and couldn’t afford your vinyl perfections but I swore I would one day return to you. Fast forward months later and I couldn’t imagine my life without this record.
PUP’s self titled album has played a massive role in shaping the music that Blue Velvet plays. While our sound has evolved over time, PUP has been this constantly shining lighthouse in the distance that reminds us of the amazing ability that music has in bringing people together. When we started off this band, Brendan and I would speak for hours and hours about the bands we were loving at the time, and time and time again (and still to this day) we would talk about PUP and how they may be the single coolest indie punk band out there.
From the album’s opening track ‘Guilt Trip’, it just puts you under its spell and doesn’t resuscitate you. There’s something so charming about its chaos of venomous guitar leads, cacophonous percussion and the way it finds this melodic tranquillity amongst it all. We knew that once we heard this record, there was no way of turning back from the influence it would have on us.
If there’s one way that PUP shaped the way I view music, it would be its way of celebrating the normality of life. From a lyrical standpoint, songs like ‘Dark Days’ and ‘Guilt Trip’ have this insanely accurate way of reflecting on life; really shitty things can happen but it’s the way you bounce back from it all that matters. There’s this dark, nihilistic view in some songs on the album which are then contrasted in songs like ‘Lionheart’ which is all about celebrating the small kinds of wins and blocking out the negativity. I think it’s that sort of viewpoint that has really shaped who we are as a band.
The one thing that I admire most about this record is that it isn’t focused on being ‘cool’. It’s happy doing its own thing and doesn’t factor in these external forces of what’s driving genres at that exact moment. PUP are a band that are focused on the good times that come when you play in a room with a bunch of your friends. This album does what it wants to do and doesn’t really care what anyone else might think, there’s something so charming about that.
Beyond the affection I have for the record in melodic/instrumental sense, it’s the album’s personality that really inspired both me and Blue Velvet. To this day, we have no idea who we’d be without it. It’s there for us and ready to have a chat while we’re doing an overnight drive from Brisbane to Sydney and it’s there for us when we’re all feeling down. There’s something really comforting to know that this is an album that will always be by our side.
Cheers heaps PUP,
Listen to Blue Velvet’s latest single ‘Soggy Cereal’ here. The band will be celebrating the single release this Saturday at Sydney’s Botany View Hotel.