Monday, September 25, 2017

Horse Head Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new ep?

We’ve primarily been focusing on getting our music out to the public for people to listen to. None of are trying to become rock stars, but we are artists and we would like it if we could ensure our music is available to as many folks as possible.

2.You have a new ep coming out in October, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

If you listen to the demo we released back in 2012 and then the EP, “Missionary”, that was released in 2015, there was a very clear shift in the writing style, especially as we changed a couple of members. When writing the content in “Missionary”, Wilson really hashed out the Horse Head “sound”, although some of the material contained remnants of collaboration with past guitarists. Finally, in this new EP, “Terminal”, the material is entirely Wilson’s creativity. He’s a weird guy, though, and his writing style is surprisingly spiritic. Every song sounds different from the next. For example, “Throne of Lies” is extremely simple and does an amazing job of bridging grunge and doom styles. In contrast, the song, “Price We Paid”, is much closer to death metal style, and again, it is well written. His writing style is very versatile and that really comes across in this EP.

3.So far all of your releases have been ep's, are there any plans on releasing a full length?

Nope. I think we have come to favor releasing shorter but crushing displays of our music rather than the exhaustive work of lengthy releases. We take that approach when we play live shows, too, rarely playing for more than 30 minutes. Not that lengthy releases are a bad thing; It’s just not our style.

4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?

In the past, I’ve mostly written about generally being pissed at popular culture for being materialistic and closed-minded. Although it maintains the same general tone, I get much more specific by writing about my personal experiences in “Terminal”. “Ghost Hunter”, for example, is about my experience in the US military in Afghanistan in 2004 - seeing people die and describing how it affected the living thereafter. Both the live and dead characters in the narrative have lyrics. “Price We Paid” is about a family that was murdered in Virginia back in 2005 that I was close with. I tell the story from multiple perspectives: the shooter who ended the killing spree with suicide, the mother who was murdered, and the group of friends who were close with the family and still live with the trauma. After the release of “Terminal”, I encourage people to check out the lyrics. They’ll be on our Bandcamp.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Horse Head'?

All of us have a history chock-full of substance abuse. If you’re familiar with the “Horse” reference as it pertains to substances, and terms like, “Meth head” or “Crack head”, you can probably figure it out. The grim imagery that one might imagine of a severed horse head is just a convenient coincidence.

6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

We’ve played some bigger shows with some bigger bands that tour through the AZ area, but none of those have been our favorites. We actually stopped playing those shows as a result. The best experience was this: A few years back, we played two shows, back-to-back. The first was in Prescott, AZ, and the second was in Phoenix, AZ. Both were at crust-punk houses, both were super loud and intense, and both resulted in police being dispatched to the locations. The underground scene consisting of people who can barely pull together a few bucks and will enthusiastically pack into a sweaty room to get down to some sloppy metal is 1000 times better than a show at the most popular venue with the most popular bands. Those shows were packed and everyone there, band- and audience-members alike, were moved by the music. It is a magical moment for a musician when the feeling you are trying to communicate with your music is simultaneously being felt by those listening to it. Shout out to the crust scenes in Prescott and Phoenix who have supported Horse Head over the years. It’s been a pleasure rocking with you.

7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?

No. We’re really winding down our activity. Our main goal is to get people to listen to what we’re about to release.

8.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?

We’re not interested in being signed. We’re content exactly as we are.

9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of sludge and doom metal?

We’ve received plenty of excellent reviews from the US and abroad but it is difficult for us to appeal to a single genre because our sound fluctuates. Although certain parts in our songs definitely have a sludge/doom feel, some listeners get distracted when the song doesn’t immediately start out like that. We’re not bothered by it, though. We aren’t in the business of writing pop music for any genre. We’re in the business of creating music as an art.

10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

Now that “Terminal” is complete, we are all taking a break from Horse Head. Some of us have other musical endeavors that we’re focusing on for now. We want to let “Terminal” simmer for a while.

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

I probably have the darker taste in the group. Some of my favorites are Cough, Grime, Ilsa, Burning Witch – that sort of stuff. Both Norska and Usnea have recent releases that were excellent and they are getting a lot of time on my record player. There will never be a time when I am not regularly listening to Yob. Bell Witch is releasing an album soon that I am excited to receive in the mail unless it warps in the AZ heat on my front porch which will totally piss me off. As for the other guys, Andrew and Jonathan like a little more of the traditional stoner stuff like pretty much everything Matt Pike has ever participated in and all of the bands that have formed as a result of worshipping his music. Wilson grew up in the midst of the Champaign, IL grunge scene so he loves the Cranberries, Hum, and the Melvins… but he also has a tattoo that is a dedication to Paula Abdul’s album, “Forever Your Girl”, and thinks that Slayer is the best metal band that has ever existed. You never know what you’re going to get with him.

12.What are some of your non musical interests?

Wilson is a human weapon, I’m about to get a PhD in some obscure scientific stuff, Andrew really likes to wear Birkenstocks and enjoys a nice cool milkshake. Jonathan is probably way cooler than all of us, though. He makes guitar cabinets and pedal boards from scratch. His business is called, “Moon Custom Cabinetry”. Google it.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

We hope that people give the new EP, “Terminal”, a listen. We’re impartial to whether it is liked or not but we put our hearts and souls into it so we’re excited for the release.

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