Public Practice: 'We don't shy away from the fact that we are performers'
- Sean Greenhorn
- 29 April 2020
Vocalist Sam York discusses how the NYC band's debut record came together
As a band, Public Practice are aware of the tangible power that comes through opposition. Comprised of Sam York and Vince McClelland from post-punk outfit Wall and Drew Citron and Scott Rosenthal from the indie-pop group Beverley, they smash together styles to form something completely new. Although firmly indebted to the New York post-punk tradition of the 1970s, they look out to other sounds and do not ignore the four decades of musical evolution that have taken place since that scene first emerged.
New album Gentle Grip, out on Fri 15 May, deals with tension and release, both musically (danceable rhythm sections cut through with angular guitars) and in the lyrics. Lead lyricist York tells us that 'the overarching themes surround essential "moral gymnastics" – how do we function in society? How do you walk through your daily life trying to be good when everything is so corrupt?' This constant questioning and lack of certainty adds to the group's unpredictability, with songs taking unexpected turns and wrong-footing the listeners. 'You don't always get the chorus when you want it,' York says, 'and some songs will leave you questioning what the chorus actually is'.
The group recorded the majority of Gentle Grip in their own practice space and studio, something that York feels they were extremely fortunate to be able to do. 'Getting to do it ourselves, and pick and choose how we wanted songs to sound, allowed us to make them exactly what we wanted them to be'. A major exception to this is the album's blistering opening track 'Moon', which was recorded live in another larger studio. Recording it live allowed Public Practice to introduce themselves to the world on their terms, as a formidable unit, weaving together sounds to create an uncompromising sound.
In terms of their live gigs, York says the band very much enjoy what they're doing and want the audience to feel and understand that. Discussing how they put on a show, she says, 'we don't shy away from the fact that we are performers, we don't shy away from the theatrics', referencing not only key post-punk/new wave inspirations like Talking Heads but also traditional pop music. 'The music is how we got to the stage, but when you have that stage you should use it'.
Gentle Grip is out digitally on Fri 15 May, with a physical release on Fri 26 Jun via Wharf Cat Records.