Mansize are a rock trio that, according to the band themselves, play ‘horrible loud noises’. They’re based in Worcester and fronted by vegetarian Anya Pulver. The three-piece also features Rob King and Joe Shellam. Anya would like you to listen to their music although describes it as being generally ‘quite loud and horrible’. They played their first ever show at Blue Radio Records’ Worcester Festival in the Summer of 2011 and create predominantly grunge rock with an element of math.
Paola Bread ‘n Water: You sing in the band. Which artists' music helped you learn how to sing? Did you listen to grunge often? Anya Pulver: Alanis Morissette oddly was one of my first vocal inspirations. When I was about three or four years old, I became obsessed with her ‘Jagged Little Pill’ album as my dad had recorded a VHS of the televised tour – it’s actually how I learned the meanings of a lot of words as a kid. It was the likes of the obvious Nirvana and perhaps less so, PJ Harvey that directed me towards a grungier vibe when I later picked up the electric guitar.
PB’nW: You made a video for your single ‘Tightrope’. What kind of reactions have you gotten for it?
AP: Mixed. Some people just didn’t get it and others realised there was nothing to get!
PB’nW: Usually new bands with small budgets have yet to grasp the art of making quality videos, yet ‘Tightrope’ was entertaining. How did it come to be?
AP: There wasn’t much ‘coming to be’ about it to be honest. We had no budget and a bunch of friends, one of whom has a quirkily idiosyncratic dance style that we thought would be fun to put to our music.
PB’nW: The video advertises Marrs Bar, a legit music venue in Worcester, where you actually work. Would you say it's helped your music career working at a music venue like Marrs Bar?
AP: Absolutely! It was the Marrs Bar jam nights that first enabled me to network with other musicians and promoters. It’s kind of a rule that you have to be a musician to work behind the bar there which is encouraging in itself.
PB’nW: In the song 'Great Uncle Christopher' you sing "Don't tell me who you think I am. I can do more than you say I can." What's an ability that you have that not many people know about?
AP: I recently discovered on a holiday in Cornwall that I could cycle for several miles using no hands.
PB’nW: Your band has gone through seven drummers. Do you feel like the longer it takes you to find a drummer, the less connected that newer drummer would be to your older material?
AP: It definitely became tedious and frustrating, constantly having to go through the same songs with new members. I’d say though that our material didn’t really ground itself properly until Joe (currently on drums) settled into the band anyway so I guess you could say that he was the first drummer to really connect with the music at all.
PB’nW: What kinds of things made you have to find a new drummer?
AP: Being in a band is like being in a relationship – it was really important for myself and bassist, Rob to find someone that complimented us both as people as well as musicians.
PB’nW: You're vegetarian, and have been for a while. When and how did you go veg, and how did you cope with being young and under your parent's rule when you first went?
AP: I remember being a kid and telling my dad I was thinking of becoming a vegetarian – his retort was that he would eat twice as much meat! I think I was about 16 by the time I properly cut meat out of my diet; it was a very gradual climb towards vegetarianism.
PB’nW: You eat vegan at home. Do you have any specific incidents or facts that make you lean towards veganism? What are some kinds of things that you eat at home?
AP: It’s definitely a commitment I’m striving towards, mostly from the horrors of the dairy industry that I have learned over the past few years; I didn’t really realise that I was still putting my money into the ill-treatment of animals but cutting everything out straight away I’ve found can be daunting and push you into not bothering so as with becoming a vegetarian, I’m taking it steady. It’s much easier to eat vegan when you’re at home – we cook everything from scratch too and use mostly fresh ingredients. We cook a lot for our friends too - there’s a great deal of satisfaction in winning people over by a diet they may have initially considered seeds and grass.
PB’nW: Your boyfriend Haydn of This Wicked Tongue went vegetarian after you so it could be assumed that you influenced him to some degree. Has seeing him transition taught you anything about yourself or vegetarianism in general?
AP: The assumption would be correct! I would never impose my personal choices onto other people but our lifestyles will inevitably affect and influence each other’s. I think his transition was more out of want for a healthier diet than ethical conflict – he just called me up one day and said “I think I’m going to be vegetarian for a while.” I couldn’t quite believe it.
PB’nW: A few months ago it was in the news that McDonalds were opening the first vegetarian McDonalds in India. How do you feel about that? Do you think McDonalds should open more vegetarian branches in the UK, USA and elsewhere? Do you think this would be a good thing and open more people’s eyes to the world of vegetarianism?
AP: I think that in representing the acknowledgement and acceptance of vegetarianism worldwide, this will have positive connotations for vegetarianism, however, I’m still not sure that I would personally want to put my money into a chain that is mostly meat consuming. I would much prefer to get convenience food from a local vegan or vegan friendly cafe.