Progressive pop-punk band Pup is not the kind of group that conjures up images of sitting around a campfire strumming an acoustic guitar while singing folk songs.
The sheer aggressiveness and hefty mix of well-used gang vocals evoke a scene with one finger in the air with guitar-shredding, rambunctious shout-alongs in step. In fact, this up-and-coming Canadian band is about as anti-folk as it gets.
However, Zack Mykula, Pup’s drummer, explained that’s kind of where it all began.
For the four-piece band out of Toronto, the use of acoustic guitars and brushes on drums was short-lived. Wanting something a little more aggressive, the band would play a little louder at each practice.
“Finally we were just like, ‘Forget it, we are just going full board,’” Mykula said in a recent telephone interview. “From there, that was a huge leap for us.”
Even with their evolving sound, the members of Pup weren’t actually considering music as a full-time career. But a string of connections and unexpected happenings have made the band a breakout act of 2014. The group’s current tour brings Pup to Murrieta for a show Sunday night at The Dial.
Three years ago, having nothing to lose, Pup sent out demos looking for a producer to bite. One of the band’s dream producers, Dave Schiffman, who has worked with household names such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weezer and The Bronx, loved what he heard and contacted the band to make a record.
“This serious guy is going to work with us not-so-serious guys, so maybe we should make it real and get rid of our other entanglements (jobs),” Mykula said. “(It’s) a giant leap, but I think we’re all glad we did it.”
Just before Pup released the album in Canada, U.S.-based label SideOneDummy – which has launched acts such as Gaslight Anthem and Gogol Bordello – reached out and showed persistence and excitement in signing the band.
“It wasn’t even arrogance, but insistence,” Mykula said. “They were clearly passionate about it, and you knew they were going to do a great job.”
The album, which made its debut in the States in April, has been a critical favorite. The band recorded it live in the studio, something that has served the members well on the road as they have grown their legion of fans.
“I think we are very good at bringing our enthusiasm across live,” Mykula said. “So I think they can expect a lot of interaction and us trying to make them all of our best friends.”