Profile: Vocalist Michael of Pulling Punches

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Philadelphia, PA based hardcore outfit Pulling Punches don’t shy away from aggressive music that comes straight from their heart. Their most recent EP, The Old Colors are Dead, is a brutal, punk rock attack on the current social dialectic we take as normal in the United States of America. We had the chance to chat with their vocalist, Michael, about the band. The results are after the jump.

How did you first get into playing music and have you achieved the level of success that you always hoped to achieve?

I think we all just needed music as an outlet. We owe a debt to this music that we’ll never be able to repay. Without punk, hardcore, and metal, I’m not sure we’d be functioning members of society today.

As for the level of success, who knows. We’ve gotten to play with artists we’ve looked up to, and we’ve played tons of shows. That said, we’d like to be able to tour more, so we’re far from done.

What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, debased and praised?

We’re happy to say the worst we’ve done is send pleading emails to get onto some great shows, and more than once we’ve been lucky enough to play. We send our songs to one label we really looked up to and basically were blown off, but that’s about as embarrassing as it gets.  No stories about falling offstage or getting stranded nude in the middle of nowhere.

What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?

We’re big on staying current with the latest in metal, or any genre really. We grew up with metal along with punk and hardcore, but to say we’re keeping tabs wouldn’t be accurate. The last great thing to happen might’ve been the return of Carcass with “Surgical Steel.” That’s not even new anymore, but we love that band.

It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music? 

There’s a ton for us, though we try not to hit people over the head too hard. Our lyrics talk about the increasing stratification of incomes in the US, where increasingly we’re seeing a few “haves” and an overwhelming number of “have nots.” That has crippling consequences for individuals drive to live and succeed. We’re distrustful of the mainstream media in general, we feel most journalists are letting us down and ignoring their primary obligation to report true news. We’re also big allies for our friends in the LGBTQ community, though that hasn’t really come across in any songs we’ve released to date.

What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?

I (Michael) was in my first year of middle school, so maybe 13? My parents hated it, but then again they were listening to yacht rock in the house. It probably pushed me into it more!

What’s the stickiest you have ever been?

Is this a sex question? Very sticky.

What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?

I think it’s great to go into things with enthusiasm. Your love of music can be infectious for your readers and that helps all of us. Be students of music, try to understand where the artist is coming from, but never lose your inner compass… don’t be afraid to write what you think!

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What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? 

We’d love to take over the world, or at least be able to quit our jobs and tour it a few times, as impossible as that may be with our take on melodic hardcore. We all have Monday to Friday type jobs, and we spend as much time on the band as possible. The EP just came out and we’re already well into writing a new LP.

Finally, when you’re not listening to, writing or playing metal, what are some of you favorite albums to listen to currently?

Loving the new Nothing record, “Tired of Tomorrow,” Grade’s “Under The Radar” is back in heavy rotation, as are The Hope Conspiracy’s “Endnote” and Slayer’s “Seasons in the Abyss.”

Huge thanks to Pulling Punches! Pick up their most recent EP here.

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