"If this tour doesn't kill you, then I will" cries Stefan Babcock, lead singer of Canadian punk rockers Pup, on the opening track of their latest record The Dream is over; a half-hour ode to the realities of touring.

Pup aren't kidding either, the album title was taken verbatim from the prognosis of a doctor upon inspection of the state of Stefan's haemorrhaged vocal cords after a strenuous touring schedule that took in 450 shows over just two years. 

A key theme in the record is the exploration of how touring can grind on relationships and although guitarist Steve Sladkowski explains that many of the lyrics are meant to be tongue in cheek - he reassures me that they "don't actually want to drill each other's eyes out with power drills"- he said that the relentless touring which followed their acclaimed debut did put a strain on them as a band. 

Sladkowski said: "We did 250 shows in a year and when you're on tour all your problems are magnified when you don't have much money and you're sleeping short hours it can stretch friendships. 

" [On this album] we're just talking about experiences we've gone through and a lot of our lives from the last few years are in these songs."

Pup shy away from the well-tread punk tradition of politicised songwriting, a choice that Sladkowski said was down to a conscious knowledge of their own societal privileges. 

Sladkowski said: "Punk has always been about inner struggles and oppressed voices. We're not political because it's 2016 and the last thing anyone wants is four straight white men shouting on stage about their lives." 

"What we really care about is making what we do inclusive and making our gigs a safe space.

"We want people who have been put off punk shows in the past to feel welcome." 

The whirlwind that followed Pup's eponymous debut also took them to the much-maligned Vans Warped tour. 

"Yeah, it was not the best thing we've ever done" , Sladkowski laughed, "It's the product of a bygone era that is struggling to survive these days. 

"I guess we thought it would be the Vans Warp tour of our past and instead it was some bizarro Vans Warp tour where it seemed like none of those bands and what they stood for had ever existed. 
"Paradoxically we've never been stronger. People say it's like punk rock summer camp, but it was more like a boot camp, cos' it really focused us on raising above the attitudes of some of the people there.

"It's never felt more like a job."

The band is about to embark on a nine-day tour of the UK concluding with a gig at the Fighting Cocks, Kingston, organised by the legendary  Banquet Records. 

Sladkowski said: "That show-going culture in the UK is still really strong, every time we come back the shows gets crazier"

"Kingston is great, I have a Kingston football shirt so I might have to wear that."  

"The kind of community that Banquet Record have created is really important to music, that relationship they have with bands has bridged the gap between artists and their audience." 

"If only every town was lucky enough to have a Banquet Records."

Pulp come to The Fighting Cocks, Kingston, on Saturday, September 10. Go to banquetrecords.com

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