The Bucket Playlist’s interview with Pizza Crunch

‘It’s driving pop punk, I’m getting more comfortable going up an octave in the bridge, it’s more shouty!’

by Seddon at The Bucket Playlist

‘Celexa’, the latest single from Glasgow-based post-punk band Pizza Crunch, is out 18th of June, a love song with a twist, complete with infectious riffs and power chords, a relentless rhythm section and fiendishly fast drums.

The band comprises Ewan Hearns (vocals and guitar), Nathan Stokoe (guitar), Craig McDermott (bass) and Ewan Nicholson (drums). Hearns, Nicholson and Stokoe met studying at Strathclyde. Hearns and McDermott are both from Inverness but didn’t get to know each other until they moved to Edinburgh and Hearns invited him to join the band. They picked their name in an attempt not to sound too serious: ‘We were at the studio one night and came up with it,’ Hearns said. ‘I mean, it could be worse, there’s a band called Feet!’ I say that the band called Psychedelic Porn Crumpets is doing well and he laughs: ‘If they’re doing well then our name’s ok!’

‘Celexa’ was written during the first lockdown: ‘Our bassist, Craig, came up with a rhythm riff, then I wrote the song around it,’ Hearns said. ‘I thought it’d be a cool idea to write about a prescription drug as if it was a love interest. It was a route to highlighting dependency. ‘Celexa’ and the other newer stuff is an example of us honing in on our music. It feels natural and exactly how we want to sound. Lyrically, there are fewer instances of irony and humour than in the last few songs. Who knows, maybe I’m becoming more honest in my writing.’

Hearns was inspired to write the track after listening to Arctic Monkeys: ‘I liked the idea of taking a substance like emotion and flipping it on its head. I’m not very good at writing lovey dovey lyrics.’ Celexa is actually an existing drug used to treat anxiety and depression, so I ask him if it was inspired by him or someone he knows taking it: ‘I knew someone taking Celexa but I’ve never taken it myself,’ he said. ‘I was quite anxious during the first lockdown, a friend had been taking it and I thought it sounded like a female name as well, I liked that.’

‘The high-pitch lead is more distinctive now, it used to be based around the rhythm part’

‘Celexa’ also marks a new direction for them, sonically: ‘It’s driving pop punk, I’m getting more comfortable going up an octave in the bridge, it’s more shouty! I play a weird power chord – D, C and G – with mutes on the strings, like two riffs at once. The high-pitch lead is more distinctive now, it used to be based around the rhythm part. It was finished a year ago but Nico does love to add fast paced drums!’

Next up are two more singles, both with great titles: ‘Fried Intellectuals’ and ‘Motivation Substances’: ”Fried Intellectuals’ starts with big riffs. It’s about living in a small town, where I used to live, and it’s just saying that even when you move somewhere else, people are being roasters (idiots) like everywhere else,’ Hearns said. ‘Motivation Substances’, on the other hand, has one long, continuous riff: ‘There are always big riffs when Nathan’s playing guitar,’ he joked. ‘This one’s more melodic. There’s a sub-par club in Glasgow and a friend said he wouldn’t go without motivational substances. I loved that, thought I could use it.’ 

In February, they released the single ‘Coma-Inducing Gibberish’, to which Hearns also wrote the lyrics: ‘It’s a strange one. We went to record it in Glasgow. I only had the first two verses, which are serious and about hardship and I wrote the other lyrics about an old girlfriend who wouldn’t stop speaking! I like having an element of humour, that irony. There are those people who feel the need to fill the silence all the time.’

As the chorus goes: ‘Tired of your eagerness, coma-inducing gibberish, I’m forced to be unkind. Made nauseous from the smell of it, unrelenting, full of shit, I’m forced to be unkind.’

‘I wrote it about when the nights start getting darker at 4 o’clock’

Another track, ‘Twelve Month Seasonal Depression’, could so easily be about the pandemic but was actually inspired by a song with the line ‘I want to feel for real’ about technology ruining relationships, Hearns said. ‘I wrote it about when the nights start getting darker at 4 o’clock but I wonder now with the pandemic and the song title whether that will help or hinder the song?’

The sense of time moving slowly comes across strongly in the lyrics: ‘Time moves alone, being ok is postponed. Icy morning on a whim, summer proves just as dim.’

Hailing from different ends of Scotland, Pizza Crunch combine an 80’s post-punk strut with glimpses of noughties nonchalance, moving between wry, honest and, at times, gloomy. 

If he could collaborate with anyone, Hearns said he’d ‘probably go with someone alive’: ‘I think I’d struggle to write lyrics with someone,’ he said. ‘I’d probably say James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem to get that sound and because I love them and I don’t know how it would work. I love Alex Turner and Jarvis Cocker, though, so part of me wants to say them.’ It proves to be trickier to think of a TV show on which he’d like to hear one of their songs: ‘I barely watch telly. Maybe something football related, a song about depression when Scotland gets put out!’

Hearns started to write lyrics when he was 15-16 and got into Bob Dylan. Today, he is a huge fan of English former ‘punk poet’ and now performance poet, John Cooper Clarke. ‘I really like his wordplay if I’m having a bit of writer’s block. I’ve been listening to Aztec Camera’s ‘Somewhere in My Heart’, it’s so smooth. What Roddy (Roddy Frame, their frontman and singer-songwriter) did at a young age…’ He’s less enamoured of The Vaccines’ latest single, ‘Headphones Baby’: ‘I hold them to a higher standard because I’ve loved them for so long,’ he said. I agree with him that the track is cheesier than what we’ve come to expect from them but that I really like it anyway and he laughs. Locally, he’s a big fan of indie rock bands Declan Welsh & The Decadent Welsh and Pleasure Heads, as well as punk band Cheap Teeth: ‘It’s mental, that guy’s voice is one of the best I’ve heard. The Scottish scene is becoming more diverse, there’s all sorts going on.’

If he could go to any gig tonight, he picks Pulp: ‘That’s easier than I thought!,’ he joked. ‘I’ve never seen them, I love Jarvis Cocker.’

(Photo from left to right: Craig, Nathan, Ewan H and Ewan N.)

this story first appeared on: https://inthebucketplaylist.com/ on June 18th 2021

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