From just about the most south-eastern town in England comes an engaging punky grungey sound that could easily have dropped out of the US west coast in the early 1990s. Deal, in Kent, based one-man band Mr Wu’s Pigs offer up a fun garage-punk meets post-punk, grunge meets fuzz-pop sound that the man behind it describes as “Catchy tunes and melodic vocals backed by a wall of fuzz guitar.”
The solo project of David Tombesi-Walton – who got into music through his musician father then got into bands at around 15 or 16 “thrashing about in garages and village halls” – began to take shape in late 2016. David began using drum tracks from a previous incarnation of the band to form the basis of songs that he put on Bandcamp. The band name derives from hit HBO TV show Deadwood – featuring Lovejoy legend Ian McShane – in which Mr Wu is a butcher and leader of the Chinese residents, who feeds inconvenient corpses to his pigs.
As David explains to us: “Mr Wu’s Pigs is a solo project with occasional collaborations. I edit and/or create the drum loops, I ‘play’ the guitar, I write the songs, and I ‘sing.’ It’s a very Nine Inch Nails kind of set-up, but without the talent of Trent Reznor. I used to have a drummer for live shows, but I’ve been playing solo with drum tracks since September. In fact, of the ten songs on the album, only one features a live drummer.”
That’s formed the basis of debut album It Is What It Is, on which David tells us: “Some people are saying some nice things, which is great. Anyone who’s not heard it yet should expect melodic vocals over fuzzed-out power chords and driving drum tracks. The lyrics are about the human condition, with heavy nods towards disappointment, loss, and revenge. I think they’re good fun songs, personally!”
A personal favourite from the album is the super-catchy The Same Eyes, which opens up with big fuzzy guitar chords and cymbal smashes then drops into singalong vocals over driving fuzzy guitars. It dives into more upbeat chorus vocals “I changed my point of view, And I changed my view of you, I never saw you again through the same eyes.” Give it a listen below.
Second track Stolen equally features relentless driving fuzzy guitars with more angsty vocals over the top, followed by Going Insane, which feels like it could easily have fallen off Nirvana’s Incesticide album.
While things change up a little on Angela Limousine, which opens up with a lone drum intro then drawn-out fuzzy guitars lead into a cool opening verse “A very pretty girl was Angela Limousine, Her eyes were the very bluest eyes I’ve ever seen, Angela Limousine, But they never looked my way, they never looked my way.” It gradually builds, aided by backing cymbals, then the vocals speed up aided by driving drums that push things forward, which makes me think this is the only track on the album to feature a live drummer.
David’s music is influenced by the likes of Nirvana and Weezer through to Buzzcocks, Sex Pistols, The Undertones, T-Rex and Billy Childish, which is obvious from the punky, grungey feel of the album. And on what leads him to write music, he explains: “Often I’m inspired by phrases I hear around me. I’ll take them and apply them to a situation, real or imagined, in which I might find myself. But a couple of common themes seem to be death and revenge…”
Mr Wu’s Pigs have a couple of gigs in January, firstly at Food Bank Rocks in Whitstable on 5 January then at Elsewhere in Margate on 17 January, with plenty more planned for next year.
As David adds: “I’ve just started writing some new songs towards an EP or album, but what and when will depend on how quickly they come together. Doing everything yourself means everything takes longer!
“Mr Wu’s Pigs had a great 2018, playing fun shows with some of my favourite local bands but also opening for acts like Omni, Scant Regard and Pete Bentham. Putting out an album was a really important personal goal, too – just to have that material out there. I want 2019 to continue that trajectory, getting out and playing. I’ve got a snazzy line in merch, too.