(Photo by Matt Negus of Negus Production Photography)
On 8th November the new PIST album “Hailz” finally sees the light of day. It’s taken a long time to come to fruition, but it’s worth the wait: the Bury quartet have smashed it out of the park. In advance of its release we spoke to guitarist John Nicholson about the album, what the future holds for the band, and much more.
APF: It’s been four years since Rhythm & Booze. Why has it taken you so long to follow it up?
John: We were continuously writing songs together rather than me or Dave turning up with full songs and everyone learning them. After writing 5 or so average songs things started to click and we were trying new things by speeding it up, adding cleaner mellow sections and black metal parts. The black metal parts started off with us messing about but then it somehow started to work in the songs. We wrote 3 solid tunes one after the other in a short period of time so decided to ditch the previous 5 we had written so that the rest all lived up to the new 3. We wanted the album to be all killer no filler. We all think we achieved that so it was worth the wait!
APF: Wheras Riffology to Rhythm & Booze was a natural progression, Hailz sees you moving off in a different musical direction. Can you tell people what to expect musically on the album, and what influenced you to go that way?
John: Between us we listen to pretty much everything. Since we enjoy many different styles of music it was only natural to want to add this to our sound. I cant think of any bands that blend this kind of groove and melody with black metal sections so I think we’ve achieved our own unique style.. which is pretty damn hard to do nowadays.
Photo by Negus Production Photography
APF: The album is dedicated to Eytan Wineapple. For those who have no idea who he is, can you fill us in? And for those who do know him, what’s your favourite memory of him?
John: Dave and Hunty grew up with him and have been close for a very long time. I played in my first band with Eytan from the age of 17 and spending a lot of time with him from that age certainly shaped who I am today. I was shy and constantly on edge. He taught me how to relax and have fun without caring too much about shit that doesn’t matter. Eytan introduced me to Dave and Hunty so without him, PIST wouldn’t exist. He’s been a close friend to all of us and was 100% behind PIST and did what he can to help us go places. Which is why everything we ever do will go out to him, not just this album. RIP.
APF: Elephant Tree feature on the song Strangle The Sun. How did that come about?
John: We became friends with Elephant Tree from gigging together years ago before people realised how fucking good they are. We always got on and supported each other. When we wrote this song someone suggested having them on it, as it has a mellow spaced out intro which their vocal harmonies work well with. It came out great, I’m well excited for people to hear it! Thanks to Jack and Pete for doing it!
APF: All your albums have been recorded by Chris Fielding. What does he bring to the table that makes you keep going back to him?
John: He’s just the best. We’ve always found him really easy to work with and he understands the sound we need along with coming up with some quality ideas like harmonies and melodies which bring a lot to the finished song. He has a great ear and seems to be a perfectionist which brings out the best in us. We’ve worked with a few different people in the past but never released what was recorded and just went back to Chris. I cant see us working with anyone else anytime soon.
Photo by Negus Production Photography
APF: You’ve supported some heavyweight bands over the years. Which ones were notable for you, or have lived long in your memory?
John: Having played with Orange Goblin multiple times now they would be the highlight for me, the gigs are always loads of fun with a good party atmosphere which we love. Church of Misery at the Academy in Manchester was quality too, they were all stood side stage rockin’ out and loving us. Supporting Monolord and The Obsessed were great gigs for us too. Hopefully we get to play with some more extreme bands after this release.
APF: Hailz is out on 8th November. Any plans to tour in support of it?
John: Yes! We’re doing a weekender around our mainstage slot at Hammerfest in March, we’ll be heading to London and Nottingham straight after it. Then in April we go on tour for 5 days with Wolfbastard which I’m currently in the process of booking. Hopefully we can get into Europe and get some more tour supports and festival slots off the back of the album. We need to get on a booking agency!
APF: This is your first album for APF Records. What made you sign with us, and which other bands on the label do you have an affinity with?
John: Fieldy has an unmatchable passion for music, hes always gone above and beyond to support the bands he loves. It was a bit of a no brainer to sign when APF started. He saw our first gig and we all know him really well so we trust him to do his best. He’s already proved himself to be one of the most hardworking and passionate labels about. I hope APF continues to grow and grow as he deserves it!
APF: Fast forward ten years to 2029. What are PIST up to at that point?
John: Full time band either on tour around the world or recording another album would be ideal. Who knows.. I just hope we’re all still alive, making music and continuing to grow.
APF: Finally, anything to declare?
John: Support smaller labels like APF! They do it for all the right reasons, rather than money grabbing bastards! Also make time for the lesser known upcoming bands, check out their music, go see ’em live, buy their merch and keep them alive. You’ll get to witness them in their prime rather than watching them as overpriced has-beens. Thanks to everyone for their support so far, it means the world to us! See you at a gig!
“Hailz” is out on 8th November and available to pre-order on limited edition purple with black splatter 180g LP (plus PIST slip mat, stickers and individually numbered and signed PIST postcard), yellow LP (plus PIST patch), black LP, digipak CD, t-shirt & CD bundle, and digital download from: