Horse the Band

A Natural Death

> > Sep 2007

Horse the Band - A Natural Death
By Dave SynyardIf you have the tinniest bit of geek love for old school videogames, "Nintendo-core” might have been the coolest shit you ever heard. Except, of course, if you didn’t like chaotic music and a band that could very easily be wrongfully interpreted as idiotic instead of ingenious. Horse the Band’s latest, A Natural Death, brings new themes to the innovative group. Their music is still bipolar, with metal influenced guitars, unyielding drums and grotesque growls that sound like Inspector Gadget’s arch nemesis Dr. Claw. Contrasting the cacophony are clean vocals combined with infectious synth lines and slower rock drums. "Sex Raptor” best exhibits how much range this band possess, utilising ’80s rhythms and simplicity rather than HTB’s usual metal/thrash style, as in "I Think We Are Both Suffering From The Same Crushing….” The same confusing lyrical contrast of serious and quirky remains but now nobody loathes "Birdo,” and songs that once would have felt more transitional stand out. "Crown Town” starts with slow, twang-y guitars and squawking from above. As the cymbals ring out you can feel the Wild West showdown about to begin. The track climaxes with nearly one minute remaining and has a rockabilly-ish feel. HTB continue adding to their differing hardcore styles with creativity and an adventurous attitude.

Going into the studio for A Natural Death, what goals did you have?
Vocalist Nathan Winneke: Personally I wanted to take my lyrical style in a new direction, which was more of a straight storytelling approach rather than the vague and obscure metaphors I traditionally work with. I also wanted to make the heavy parts heavier and the pretty parts prettier.

What was the recording experience like?
It was better for sure. I got to go home every night and decompress. I also got to sit around Brian Virtue’s house all day drinking and making amazing videos.

What was the writing process like?
The band only writes during "writing time.” Any ideas outside that time are ignored until then. I leave the band alone for a couple weeks and they get some solid material down. I listen to it, decide what it’s telling me, and then write a song about it.

Do you play songs first live and then decide to record them?
Rarely.

Do you write by yourself or with other band members?
I personally write alone. I have to be alone.

What did you want to do with the new album musically?
We wanted to make the heavy parts heavier and the pretty parts prettier and make sure the CD is better than any other CD out there. Except At The Drive-In and Nick Cave albums!!!

What comes first the theme/concept or the music?
Well, R. Borlax’s concept wasn’t visible until after it was done and that ended up being the theme of burgeoning self-awareness. The Mechanical Hand was specifically written around the theme of gold versus the void (worth versus emptiness). Pizza was about pizza and finally, A Natural Death’s secret theme was "empty plain.” So to answer your question, usually the theme is in mind before anything else.

How do you pick a theme?
Usually it’s the culmination of our lives together. Random ideas or concepts happen in everyday life and if they are strong enough they dwell with us and begin to accumulate. Once you have enough, the big picture become apparent.

What did you want to accomplish on the new album that you didn’t on previous releases?
High first week sales, respect and young girls.

This album seems a little mellower. Was that intentional?
It’s not mellower, it’s just more dynamic. There are mellower parts for sure but when the rock comes it’s like an avalanche.

How has switching drummers affected Horse The Band?
We have good drums now that don’t require computer compensation. Really good drums.

Why did the drummer change happen?
The old drummer died of a massive torn rectum.

At the Warped Tour last year, you stopped playing and wouldn’t start again until you were given pizza. Is there any fear that doing things of that nature will make it hard for the band to be taken seriously?
I am sure you’ve eaten pizza before. Do you take yourself seriously? We were promoting our Pizza EP at the time. It was actually a very witty business manoeuvre.
(Koch)
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