Pistol Youth are in a long-distance relationship

With all four band members living in different countries, playing in alternative rock band Pistol Youth is like being in four long-distance relationships at once. Singer and guitarist Bradley Carter tells JULE SCHERER of NZPA how he makes it work.

When Steriogram's Bradley Carter decided it was time to form another band in 2007, he called up three of his long time friends.

That sounded like the obvious thing to do -- but said friends live scattered around the globe. So it was thanks to the internet Pistol Youth was born while Carter was living in Los Angeles, guitarist Michael Guy Chislett in Australia, bass player Anders Borgh in Sweden and drummer Gavin Kerr in New Zealand.

Three years later the quartet released their debut album My Private Amsterdam, featuring melodic alternative rock reminiscent of 90s bands like Weezer, Ash and Bush.

"I was touring at the time with Steriogram and I decided I wanted to record some new songs," the singer and guitarist of the Grammy-nominated band tells NZPA.

"I called up my friend from Sweden, who is a bass player, I knew since he lived in my house as an exchange student when we were kids. Then I called my friend Michael from Australia who plays guitar and talked to my friend Gav from Tauranga who is a drummer."

They all liked the idea, so Carter wrote a bunch of songs, sent them to his new band mates via email. They recorded their part in their respective country and sent them back. A couple of months later Pistol Youth had recorded the six-track EP Smiling Can Backfire without the members ever meeting in person.

"It was quite exciting because you wake up in the morning and there is an email with a bass-line and you download it and put it in the track with the rest of the stuff and press play and then you hear it for the first time like they would have heard it in their country," Carter remembers.

The musician thinks that the EP would have sounded distinctly different, had the band jammed together for a time before recording.

"There are some things that are quite funny. There are some vocal parts that the bass player had sent to me and I lined them up because I thought they sounded amazing and he got really annoyed and said they are not meant to be there, they were meant to be somewhere else. And I said 'no they should be here'. That wouldn't have happened if we would have been in the same room," he says.

After the band got a lot of positive feedback for their EP they decided to record an album and the members finally met for the first time. In 2008 they flew to Los Angeles, wrote another seven songs together and recorded them in a studio.

"We just jammed a lot and hang out and got to know each other and then everybody went home and I had to go on tour with Steriogram. So I was away for a couple of months and during that time I wrote two more songs and one is called Problematic, which is the first single of the album," he says.

Because everybody had returned home the song was recorded like the EP, in four different countries. When the band moved to make a music video for the track, they decided to share this experience with the audience.

"We flew the director to every country with cardboard-cutouts of the other band members.

"He had to go on a plane for two weeks and he flew to Sydney, to Los Angeles, then to Gothenburg, Sweden and then back to Auckland and had to take the life-sized cardboard cutouts with him the whole way around the world," Carter says.

Although Pistol Youth started out with a do-it-yourself approach, Carter decided to record the album in a proper studio.

"You can do anything you want now in your bedroom of course but we did a lot of the stuff in a really big studio in LA. But if you record drums in a place like that, it just sounds amazing," he says.

Almost two more years went by before My Private Amsterdam was ready to hit the shelves, but with band members scattered around the globe every step took much longer, Carter says. On top of that Pistol Youth is by far not the only pie he has his fingers in.

"I think as an artist you're always creating anyway. Right now I am also working on a couple of other projects. I just want to be one of those people who can as an artist just keep making stuff.

"There's a new Steriogram album coming out and we just got the mixes back and they sound amazing. I've got my own EP coming out soon, some stuff I did myself and I am also playing in a LA band called Seaspin," he says.

New Zealanders face a bit of a wait to see any Carter' bands play live. Right now fans in his adopted country are treated to some concerts but he is planning to tour New Zealand with Pistol Youth and Steriogram next summer.


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