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Pull in Emergency (l-r): Dylan Williams, Faith Bar
Pull in Emergency (l-r): Dylan Williams, Faith Barker, Frankie Bowmaker. Photography Clare Shilland.

Pull in Emergency

We skip detention with Pull In Emergency and start a teenage riot

“We might be the last generation to even see race,” says Pull In Emergency’s 16-year-old singer Faith Barker as she is handed a cocktail menu by a presumably blind waitress – she is, after all, clearly wearing school uniform. “It’s an amazing time to be alive!” Evidently.

The previous night, America elected its first black president, which is something Britain’s best known underage outfit seem keen to talk about. “We’re not political,” smirks droll guitar-slinger Frankie Bowmaker. “But maybe we could make a paper cut-out of Obama to replace me when I go to university.”

If you haven’t yet heard of them, Pull In Emergency are five precociously talented north London teenagers who share an endearing love for psychedelic pop tunes and juvenile mischief – “We’re having ‘Pull In Emergency’ condoms made,” grins Barker. “It’s ironic because most of us are underage!”

Their respective ages range from 15 to 17, and after a few minutes in their company it comes as little surprise that the other members (Sunneet Chohan / Alice Costelloe) couldn’t make the interview because they are both “in detention”.
They aren’t exactly Babyshambles yet, though – despite all being offered spirits by the waitress, none of them are drinking. Today, anyway. “If we have had a bad gig, we might get in some WKD,” laughs chief songwriter Dylan Williams. “But our drummer Shengi (Chohan) is the one who really likes a beer.”

“He’d probably go off the rails if he was offered the high life,” agrees Barker, before Williams adds, quite randomly, “Yeah… well, he knows kung fu.”

Mention of the absent drummer’s love of martial arts kickstarts a spirited discussion as to which band might win should they ever have a fight with Foals, for whom they all seem to harbour particular animosity. “I can’t stand that they say they are inspired by ‘afro beat’,” explains Bowmaker. “I went up to Yannis and said, ‘I like your band because you’re so into afro beat,’ and when he answered all pretentiously, saying, ‘…oh yeahhh maaan,’ – I was like, ‘…and you’re a dickhead!’” At this moment, Pull In Emergency descend into hysterics and any discussion of their impossibly catchy forthcoming single “In Silence” becomes increasingly unlikely. The waitress is also clearly unnerved, having just realised the age of her clientele, but Pull In Emergency are oblivious and on a roll that would have made a drunk Peter Cook proud. “I hate Jools Holland!” bursts out Williams.

“Don’t say that!” cries Barker. “No one hates Jools!”
“You’re right – it’s actually his wife I hate… I saw her in a shop and I gave her a slap!”
“No you didn’t! Oh my God, your mum is going
to read this.”
“Oh… oh, yeah…”

“In Silence” is out December 15 on Mute Records