PUP’s Zack Mykula Talks ‘The Dream Is Over’ Process, Shares Tour Stories

Come for the beer, stay for the Jäger.

pup interview

Photo: Jessica Flynn

PUP is a Canadian punk quartet specializing in adrenaline-fueled riffs, shout-along harmonies, and lyrical catharsis. The band’s sophomore record, The Dream is Over (due May 27 via SideOneDummy), is currently streaming at NPR. The album spills over with close-to-the-bone lyrics, ripping anthems, and vocal melodies that are both catchy and sweet.

In February, I interviewed PUP drummer Zack Mykula via phone as he recovered from a post-Super Bowl party hangover (he recommends Emergen-C for a hangover cure). Here’s some of what Zack had to say:

PUP & Jägermeister

“There’s a venue [in Ottawa] called House of Targ. It’s this awesome place with all these old videogames and pinball and stuff… Whenever we would play there, we have this game, where we try to polish off a 26 ounce bottle of Jäger in 26 minutes between the four of us. That’s a lot of Jäger and very fast.”


“You have your whole life to write your first record, and then you only have like eight months to do the next one. The ratio is a bit different, but we definitely tried to spread it out as much as possible so we could really dig into the details. We’re very anal, and that’s mostly why it takes like a month or so to [write a song]. We really dissect the song and then put it back together. That’s a really, really lengthy process. I think it yields positive results.”


“Finding ways to condense our [songwriting] method was a challenge in and of itself. Everything in terms of getting ideas out as fast as we can – it was a little more streamlined. Learning to write is an ongoing thing in a band, and you all get better at individually writing, but also, you get better at writing together. That was a huge difference. We can anticipate each other’s ideas, and synthesize ideas better. It’s almost like completing each other’s sentences sometimes. That comes with experience.”


“Modern Baseball was really fun. They had this plan to try to drink a thousand beers in the month that we were with them. Which is insane… I think we stopped counting after awhile. We tried our best.”


“Our producer, when he heard the demos, he said, ‘You guys are a different band.’ He meant in terms of the progress we’ve made in terms of playing, and I guess, what he considered improvement in the process.”


“We’re closer. You’re quicker to upset the people you love, so that comes with it, but we’re definitely closer and it’s easier to talk about things – good and bad. We’re more mature in terms of what we expect from each other. Just general expectations of the band – we’ve learned to manage expectations really well and work together as a unit. Like writing, it comes with time.”


“We’d love to go to crazy places. We’d all love to go to Japan or South America. Who knows how feasible that is, but when you manage your expectations and that kind of stuff happens, then that’s all the more exciting.”


“We’re really excited. We had no idea what would happen when we released [the song ‘DVP’]. That was insane. We had no idea that it would get that much traction and that many listens, and that so many news outlets would pick it up. That made us excited, and on top of that, we’re excited to play new stuff for people and get people the new material and have them singing those lyrics plus our old stuff. It’ll create a whole different energy at shows. Especially on stage for us – I can’t say we’re tired of playing the old songs, but injecting something new definitely adds a new dimension to the live show. It should be really fun.”

Visit PUP on Facebook, and watch them perform ‘DVP’ live here:

Listen to the best
podcast in music.

Subscribe to the Culture Creature podcast:
Apple Podcasts | Android | Stitcher | RSS