We’re From Fucking Texas: Purple Takes On The UK

Words by Nate Abernethy

Photos By Ross “Tango” McEwan

Ovrld on the Road

Our weird little road trip continues as we tag along with our Austin favorites Purple as they tour worldwide. We adored Purple’s new album (409) and got the chance to sit down and chat with the band before their sold out show with Twenty One Pilots at the massive Electric Brixton in London.


It’s a gloomy London night that still manages to be more welcoming than the current weather back home in Austin as my handy photographer and glowing semblance of British politeness, Tango, rounds the corner with me to The Electric Brixton. Its Purple’s last show touring with Twenty One Pilots before they continue their UK domination with Broncho. “Holy shit…” he mumbles. I look up and see we’re presented with a block long line stretching from the venue’s entrance to the furthest street corner. I check my watch; doors don’t open for nearly 4 more hours.

We’re greeted by a friendly door guy who chit chats with us while we wait for Purple to load in, “They’ve been here since 10 AM, it’s mental” he mentions catching me eyeballing the never-ending line. I notice a trend as I scan the crowd and it becomes even more apparent once the doors open and I’m the lone patron rushing the bar. Headliner and intriguing poetry-pop duo Twenty One Pilots have built quite the female tween audience in the UK and they’ve shown up in droves. At first a wave of worry washes over me– how will they react to Purple? At first glance, it’s definitely not the most cohesive bill. Then I realize the brilliance behind it all: A bunch of music loving girls at the most impressionable phase in their lives? Yeah, how about a young blonde chick from Texas who drums like Keith Moon while screaming into the mic? Chew on that, tweens. They’ll love her; she’s their empowerment equivalent of Xena: Warrior Princess.

We make our way to the greenroom and in keeping with Purple’s party reputation, the introductions are made while slowly piecing together how we already knew each other. A chorus of “ooh yeahs!” ring around the table as we team up like an alcoholic Mystery Gang; our faded memories solve the whodunnit and “Oh Christ, what did I do?” Vocalist and drummer Hanna Brewer, guitarist, vocalist and pedal pusher extraordinaire Taylor Busby and bassist Joe “Prankster” Cannariato all seem equal parts exhausted and excited as we kick up our feet and start chatting. “It’s really just the waiting not the playing,” Hanna explains at their exhaustion.


Nate Abernethy for Ovrld: So this is your second time around the UK?

Taylor Busby: Yeah, sort of. Last time we came we were only here for two weeks, and only played three shows.

Ovrld: But it was a pretty massive reception considering…

Taylor: Yeah, but basically every show we did last time we were here was PR, A&R, labels and stuff watching us play.

Ovrld: Is that how the Play It Again Sam signing came about?

Taylor: Yeah, we did a meeting with them, and Sony, and I think Red Bull and a few others.

Hanna Brewer: We liked PS the best.

Taylor: PS were the guys that actually came to us, brought us out for drinks, came to all our shows.

Hanna: They talked more about the music instead of just like contracts and blah blah blah, money money money.

Joe “Prankster” Cannariato: And to this day they’re still really cool and take us out quite frequently. The director, Party Pete, has flown to, like, Amsterdam to come see us, and a few other places.

Hanna: [Laughs] Party Pete! We call him Party Pete ’cause he gets us really fucked up.

Taylor: He gets us shit faced every time he comes out

Ovrld: Well, that’s kind of y’all’s reputation now.

Hanna: [Laughs] Yeah it is! It really is, that’s so fucking funny.

Taylor: Both interviews back to back.

Hanna: “So I heard you like to party!”

Taylor: [Inspector Clouseau accent] “So, you guys like to party, is what we hear, yez?”

Yeah, we’re those crazy Texans.


Ovrld: How do you feel about audiences over here vs the states?’

Taylor: Uhh, man, I mean…

Ovrld: It’s not a trap question [laughs]. I’not asking if one is not necessarily better or worse, but just different…

Taylor: It’s just stuff like when you start clapping your hands or…

Joe: Audience participation.

Taylor: Yeah, sometimes it’s not really there.

Hanna: I think in Texas they’re more violent.

Ovrld: Well, that’s the thing stateside. I feel like you get moshing, you get a lot of energy but here people really listen.

Hanna: YEAH! That’s the difference! See, everyone always thinks we’re saying “Oh, the audiences here are better,” but they’re not “better.” That’s what I’ve been trying to say.

Ovrld: It can be a little demoralizing when you get to a show stateside and they don’t care who’s playing.

Hanna: They just want to get fucked up.

Ovrld: Yeah, they just want to punch someone.

Hanna: [Laughs] It’s true,

Ovrld: It’s funny, I just came from Iceland and so many out of town bands were like “Why is there no energy?” but I’m like “No look! They’re all listening. They’re all just silently and politely listening to you.”

Joe: [Laughs] Yeah, it was like that in certain parts of England. And Belfast was like that too. It wasn’t that there wasn’t any energy– there’s certainly no negative energy. There wasn’t anyone talking to anyone around them or on their phones. Everyone is paying attention the entire time.

Ovrld: Joe, you’ve only been with Purple for a bit now right, you kind of got thrown in the middle of all this, right? The first time I saw you with the band was back at the last Empire show and I was practically heckling, calling out old songs and you just kind of shrugged like “He doesn’t know them yet, asshole!” but then by the Do512 show y’all seemed to have really meshed together.

Hanna: Now we’re really tight.

Joe: Yeah, Empire was only like the third show we had ever played together. Plus I still live up in Fort Worth. So it’s like a five hour commute for me to get down there. I go down like every week and a half to rehearse like 4-5 days in a row, but at that point it was literally just a couple of months out.

Ovrld: How did you guys meet originally?

Joe: I guess it was back when I was playing with Animal Spirit in Fort Worth and we’d played with Purple two years in a row on Valentine’s Day and eventually word got around that they were looking for a bass player.

Hanna: It was immediately good too, ’cause everyone we were trying out temporarily was lazy as fuck. ‘Cause, look, I know we like to get fucked up and shit and have a good time, but man, we work our balls off too.


Ovrld: Did you guys catch that line outside?

Taylor: Yeah, especially this tour we’ve been doing with Twenty One Pilots, it’s a bunch of young kids.

Joe: Every single stop on this tour, by the time we show up to load in, we walk by at least 25 of them

Hanna: Yeah, since we’ve been on this tour we’ve been getting like hundreds of followers on Facebook and Twitter.

Ovrld: It seems like a large part of the activity is people saying stuff like “We just saw you last night! When are you coming back?!”

Hanna: It’s cool that we’re getting a younger crowd, too. Usually we’re up in the college kids’ business.

Taylor: Yeah, it’s nice to get some high school kids.

Ovrld: Well, everyone can drink at 18 here…

Taylor: True, true.

Hanna: I just feel weird sometimes, like “Y’all ready to get fucked up?!” [laughs]

Joe: The funny thing about it was Germany was really awesome, partially just ’cause Germany goes hard in general, but also the drinking age there is 16. So all these young kids were just going nuts. That is the great thing about young kids is remembering what it was like when I was their age.

Hanna: Yeah, it’s not like you got a job or shit.

Ovrld: You got nothing else to do. Do you remember going to midnight movie premieres?

Taylor: Yeah, definitely!

Hanna: I loved that shit.

Ovrld: Line up for like 3-4 hours before…

Hanna: Yeah, let’s go hang at the mall!

Joe: Let’s wait from 6pm to midnight to see the last Star Wars!

Ovrld: [Laughs] Just to walk out depressed as shit…


Ovrld: What would you say is the overall difference between the original (409) release and the new release? I know you’ve remastered and swapped out some tracks…

Taylor: A lot of the slow tracks have been removed. I think what they’re doing is on the iTunes release, one is there as a bonus track, pretty sure Spotify too. And we’re talking about doing one for like a Japan release, where there will be bonus tracks. They’re going to be there somewhere.

Ovrld: It was smart too to not scrap the album, but continue to have faith in it, and keep reworking and pushing it until it gets exposure.

Hanna: Yeah, now we have like a ton of extra songs to release randomly. I’m ready for a second album.

Taylor: We have so many songs written, it’s just driving us crazy. It feels to us like this album has been out so long.

Ovrld: How sick are you of the set list?

Taylor: Oh man.

Hanna: I’m fucking sick of it.

Taylor: We say that, but it’s still fun seeing other people get into it and warm up to it.

Hanna: I mean its fun as shit once I’m onstage and playing shows.

Taylor: It’s rewarding seeing it all pay off.

Ovrld: Do you feel like the reception from the first UK tour influenced the harder sound?

Hanna: Uh, I don’t know why we started getting harder.

Taylor: Yeah, I mean, those songs were written last year before we even came over here.

Hanna: You know, I feel like a lot of the slower songs were written when we were, like, all angsty. I was, like, 17, 18…

Taylor: Yeah, ’cause this album was songs that were written over like four or five years. You know, we never thought we would actually make an album with any of those songs. They just happened.

Hanna: I think the next album is going to have a lot of hip hop influences, with straight up real instruments, though. And we’ve got one dance tune, but we’ll always keep our rock shit.

Taylor: We’re just trying to get a taste of everything.


Ovrld: What’s the process working with Frenchie Smith like in studio?

Taylor: He pushed us. He kind of brought us from being really naïve and like a baby band and really helped us become a band onstage. Before we met Frenchie, Hanna wouldn’t play drums as hard and when we recorded…

Hanna: He was like “FUCKING HIT IT! FUCKING HIT IT!”

Taylor: Ever since then she’s been playing way harder than she used to.

Ovrld: That’s the first thing people say though, “I’ve never seen a girl drum like that!”

Hanna: Really? Ah, that’s awesome.

Joe: He has really good constructive criticism and he knows the right way to put it across. Like after shows and stuff like that.

Taylor: He’s like our big brother. Sandy, our manager out here, is like our dad. Chris, our tour manager, is like our other weird British brother. It’s a real rock ‘n’ roll family.

Ovrld: Is it ever weird being the fish out of water coming from such a small town?

Hanna: Yeah sometimes its kind of intimidating being here and being around everyone who’s all “Yeah, we’re fucking badass.” You get a lot of that attitude. But then you just got to be like “No, ya know what, fuck it! We’re badass! We’re from fucking Texas!” [laughs] I feel like I have to remind myself that a lot.