YORK alt-rockers Bull close out their breakthrough year with a new EP and a live-streamed gig tomorrow night (16/12/2020).
The Love Goo EP, out now on EMI Records in conjunction with York label Young Thugs, combines the new title track with Bull’s three 2020 singles: the fuzz-rocking Disco Living, the noisy pop of Bonzo Please and the summer high of Green.
Billed as a “brilliant slice of indie maximalism”, Love Goo hooks sweet pop melodies onto a ramshackle jangle rock template, with spritely xaphoon lines (a kind of pocket saxophone), tin whistle and piano to the fore.
“It’s a song about getting along with people,” explains wry-humoured Bull songwriter and singer Tom Beer. “It looks at my relationship with my family as well as my own feelings of ‘sticky love goo’, when thinking about people in my life and from my childhood.
“It’s about the difference between people, universal truth, gender fluidity, peace and love, understanding and all of that stuff.”
Tomorrow, Bull will be performing a live-streamed gig, The Snow Global Tour, from a special winter wonderland location at 8pm. Each ticket not only guarantees access to the stream, but fans also will receive a special screen-printed T-shirt or commemorative poster designed by bassist Kai West. Tickets for this online event, hosted by Bull and Reel Recording Studio, are available at bull.veeps.com.
“We recorded it at Reel Recording Studio in Elvington on Monday (14/12/2020), in one of the industrial warehouses near the airfield, where we did up the whole studio like a Christmas grotto,” says Tom.
“We didn’t do a Christmas cover version, but I wrote a Christmas song two years ago though I didn’t know it was a Christmas song until it was! I wrote it when I was busking in York; I played these notes and thought, ‘Oh, this sounds Christmasy’, and it turned into a song about Christmas and my relationships at this time of year.
“I love it! I just think it’s a really nice song and for this live-streamed gig we had a brass band playing it with us: Bargestra, the Arts Barge’s community band, with Kai’s stepdad, Christian Topman, arranging it.”
Christian, York musician, teacher, workshop leader and Arts Barge co-founder, had taught Tom in his days of attending York Music Services’ Wednesday sessions, playing trombone in jazz and funk bands. “I play it on the live-stream, not very well though,” says Tom.
“Christian had had this idea, saying, ‘Do you have any songs that we could do together this year?’, and we thought, ‘well, yeah, we’ve got this Christmas song’. Christian scored it out and they came and played it with us, socially distanced, wearing masks, though not when playing, obviously.”
What’s the title, Tom? “It’s called, well, we might call it Fairytale Of York! Though its short title is Gay Days, as the opening lines are: ‘The olden days, the olden golden gay days’. Whatever we call it, we’re thinking of chasing a number one hit next year!”
The live-streamed gig has been recorded with Ben Hammond, who has worked previously with My Chemical Romance, Florence +The Machine and Placebo. “We recorded a gig for Jorvik Radio there in July and thought, ‘wow, this place is at an impressive level we’ve not experienced before’,” recalls Tom. “So when they said, ‘do you want to do a streamed show with us?, we said ‘Yes!’.”
Russell Baldwin, the sound engineer for Bull’s gigs at the Fulford Arms, came on board too, and the result is a 50-minute show…
…”Getting on for nearer 60 minutes, with a few skits and some dancers,” says Tom. “I will say it was very strange to be playing a gig where you’re aware that people would be watching it, but they weren’t actually there.”
Explaining the Snow Global Tour title for a one-off gig, Tom says: “The idea was that we were going to make a T-shirt with only one date on the back, which we thought would be hilarious…but in the end we just printed T-shirts with lettering on the front.”
Next up from Bull at CharlesHutchPress will be an interview with Tom Beer about a band’s life in Covid-crocked 2020, the Love Goo EP, and plans for gigs and releases in 2021.