I’ve spoken quite a bit about the external and internal factors that drove the lyrical content of our debut EP; set against the backdrop of a pandemic and fueled by our personal battles with addiction, there’s lots to talk about. But, the actual sound of ‘The Heat’ comes from the collection of records that we had on rotation at that time, and how the period of isolation enforced a drastic change to how we make music and our approach to songwriting.
Due to the lockdown across the UK in the spring of 2020, both Ben and I moved away from relying on the traditional ‘band’ format to make music. Usually I’d demo a song, take it to a practice room with a band and develop it from there, but despite that being what I love and what I’m used to there are certain limitations. As we were pushed to explore music from a different angle, we were no longer limited to what we were able to play live. Vocals could now dance between the arrangement with off-kilter delivery, guitars could be layered and intertwined and electronic textures could drone and rubble away in the background. With this in mind our influences are:
The Fall – ‘Hex Enduction Hour’
I’m pretty sure most vocalists these days will cite The Fall as a reference and ‘Hex Enduction Hour’ sees the double-drummer-driven band at their searing finest. Although ‘The Heat’ doesn’t quite align with this record’s musical experimentation with arrangement and tempo, no longer being tied to only singing what I can deliver while playing guitar allowed me to develop more off-kilter vocal deliveries. I also have to mention some other vocal inspirations here, such as Nick Cave and Protomartyr and I was very much inspired by these incredible vocalists when trying to deliver something a bit different than my usual shouting into a microphone. The shift to writing songs remotely and in my bedroom, rather than an extremely loud practice space, meant that I could actually hear myself and was able to sing rather than shout, approaching vocals in a way completely new to me.
Preoccupations – ‘Cassette’
Similarly, the shift from a live focus to a recording focus meant that guitars could do things that were pretty impossible live. ‘Cassette’ is a record that I’ve loved for a few years and I’ve always been mesmerised by the intertwining guitar lines and their tonal qualities on tracks such as ‘Unconscious Melody’. When approaching the guitars for the new PKNN tracks, I already had the rhythm section laid down by Ben and I really wanted to explore meandering guitar lines, almost tripping over each other yet carrying way more melody than my usual abrasive guitar style creates. I think this shift in approach really helped define the sound of the EP.
Crack Cloud – ‘Crack Cloud’
Ever since I heard this album back in 2018 almost every song I’ve written has a little bit of Crack Cloud in there –the simplicity and focus on syncopated rhythms really resonates with my mind. When Ben and I first sat down and worked on ‘Ritalin’, Crack Cloud’s ‘Drab Measure’ was the reference point that made me want to write a song that felt like it lasted the duration of a long road trip. The tonal qualities of the guitars in particular have been a huge influence in shaping the sound of PKNN.
Our new EP ‘The Heat’ is out now on all streaming sites as well as limited edition cassette on our Bandcamp.