Interview: An Horse

On the third day of Osheaga, I had the chance to sit down with An Horse not long after they played their afternoon set.

If you’re not familiar with the band, An Horse is from Australia, but the band has actually found majority of their success in North America. Drummer Damon Cox says, “It’s funny because we played in a lot of other bands in Australia but never played outside of Australia much, whereas with An Horse, the first tour that we ever did was in the States. And then after that we signed to an American label and had American management. Most of the people who work with us are based in America, so I guess we’re kinda lucky like that. We just went were the opportunity was there for us. Australia is a small country. It’s a big country geographically, but the population is small, so opportunity is limited as a musician. But there seems to be more and more Australian bands breaking out of Australia and doing stuff in America, which is a good thing.”

An Horse’s debut full-length, Rearranged Beds, came out in 2009. The band released their sophomore full-length, Walls, in April and have been touring the record hard.

Damon speaks to how their sound has evolved. “I guess what we tried to do with this record is make it sound a little bit bigger than the last record. The first record was basically two EPs that we recorded separately and we threw them together to make an album, so there wasn’t a lot of discussion that went into it. And it was recorded when we had spare time and we still had day jobs and we worked in a record store together, whereas with the second record, we got to think about it a lot more and talk about it a lot more before we made it.”

He goes on to add, “I think the songwriting is a lot better. I hope. I guess it’s up to other people to decide how it’s evolved, but it feels like it’s progressed sort of organically from the last record, the first one. And we only sort of played a handful of shows together when we recorded the first one, whereas with the second record we played hundreds of shows together, so we had a better idea of what we’re doing.”

As the duo has been touring since the release of Walls, they’ve been getting their new music out via their live show. Damon says, “As people, we’re pretty bad at trying to sell ourselves. All we do is try to be as honest as we can with our music and the songs that we write and hopefully people will like it and relate to some of the songs, hopefully. We don’t talk ourselves up.”

At this point, vocalist and guitarist Kate Cooper joins in. “And if people don’t like it, it doesn’t matter because we still do it.”

Kate emphasizes their heavy touring schedule. “We are actually coming up to 6 weeks off, but that’s the most amount of time we’ll have off in a long time. And I mean that’s after 4 months, pretty much.”

However, the band has had lots of fun touring. Kate says, “Everywhere is kind of special. We’ve been doing it for a little bit now and we’ve met so many people. Everywhere is pretty rad.”

Damon then adds, “We do have special connections to certain cities, like Montreal and Toronto and Vancouver. A lot of cities now, we’ve had really meaningful experiences in and when we go to those cities, it’s kind of special, like today. I’ve been looking forward to this day for a while and we actually got some time to see some bands. I love the West Coast of America and we seem to have a lot of connection to that as well. It’s a lot like home. If we have a good show in a city, then we always remember that when we go back to that city.”

While the band has spent most of this year touring, they don’t have many drunken stories from their tours.

Damon indicates, “I like drinking beer. I have a few beers usually at most shows, not crazy amounts. Kate rarely drinks, but she can drink. She’s really good at it. She hasn’t thrown up since she was 3 years old.”

He goes on to tell his drunken story. “So one time, it was a couple of years ago when we first put out Rearranged Beds and we toured it for a couple of months. We were fortunate enough to have a month off in LA, so we got an apartment and we just hung out in LA. We had a great time. And towards the end of that four weeks we wanted to go to this festival called Weenie Roast, which is in California near LA.

Kate interrupts, “It was like Jimmy Eat World, Weezer, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Silversun Pickups… it was amazing.”

Damon continues, “It was all these bands that we wanted to see. The night before we went out with some friends and ended up doing shots. High quality tequila. I was just throwing it back. I had no idea what it was. The next morning we got up to go to this festival and I was the most hungover I’ve ever been in my life. I couldn’t move.”

Kate then says, “I even made you breakfast, which is the only time in the history of our friendship that I’ve ever made you breakfast.”

Damon agrees, “Yeah. And I looked at it and wanted to throw up. And she gave me a couple of hours to get my shit together. She said, ‘Look, I’m going to go. I’m going to take the car and I’m going to drive to this festival. I have to tell you that you’re going to be disappointed in a few hours when you start to feel better.’ Because I had been talking about this festival for a few days.”

Kate adds, “I actually gave you kind of a hard time.”

Damon continues again, “I said, ‘Okay, I’m getting up.’ So we get in the car and Kate was driving. We get 2 blocks and I needed to throw up, so I just said, ‘I need to throw up. Can you pass me something?’ And she passed me a plastic bag. So I silently throw up into this bag.” So I filled up this bag and I said, ‘Turn around, Kate.’ We’re only 2 blocks from where we’re staying, so Kate turned the car around. I went inside. I emptied out this plastic bag into the toilet and flushed the toilet and brushed my teeth. I go back into the car and I felt great.”

He was feeling so great that Damon even ended up driving to the festival. However, Damon still isn’t into shots.

Kate says her shot of choice is probably tequila, but she’s more into sipping her shots rather than throwing them back.

After just a short time off, An Horse is back on the road again. After a whole slew of US dates, the band will make some stops in Europe before heading to Australia for some festival dates. Catch them when you get the chance.


Categories: Interviews, Osheaga 2011


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