Wednesday, July 8, 2015

{INTERVIEW} mail the horse

TIOJ had the opportunity to catch up with the guys of Mail the Horse in anticipation of their July 10 show at Acre 121. See what frontman Hess and the guys have to say about how Mail the Horse came to be, their unique genre of music, and more!

Listen while you read:




Tell us about yourselves! How did you come to be Mail the Horse? 
Donny and I met in high school at a driving range in New Hampshire. A few years later we met Brendan and he joined the band we were already in, playing punk frat houses, college basements, bars, parking lots, and living rooms. Eventually we crossed paths with Will and we would all would meet once a week at this shed he was living in behind an old farmhouse and drink a bunch of jug wine and share what we were working on that week. We decided to move to NYC and start Mail the Horse, and a year or so later this guy Chris, who Brendan met in London, showed up in an old Mercury Sable that he drove to Brooklyn straight from LA for no apparent reason at all. Anyway, he bought a pedal steel and joined the band. That's the gist of it.

How would you describe your music to someone who's never heard it before? What song should they start with? 
We all listen to a lot of country songwriters and grew up on classic rock and ’90s bands. It's hard to say what song of ours to start with. We suggest spinning Planet Gates loudly with a drink on the coffee table and a lover next to you on the couch.

What exactly is the genre Rock$ Off/Grunge Gospel/Country Booze? How did you come up with that description? (We love it!) 
That genre that we made up is a way to visualize how Mail the Horse fits into the rock ‘n’ roll landscape. If it makes you want to listen to what that genre really sounds like, we've done our job.

(via)

You just released your album Planet Gates -- congrats! What was the process of making that album like? How would it compare to your previous albums? 
The biggest difference from the previous album is that we recorded Planet Gates in a bunch of different locations spread out over a long period of time. A lot of that was because we were broke and really wanted to track in a real studio so we had to do a little at a time. We recorded our last album, Great Kills, in the basement of our old apartment over the course of two weeks. Planet Gates was recorded over the better part of two years.

Working with [three producers] was fantastic. They are all so different in their attitudes and the way they carry themselves in the studio but their techniques are the same. We were lucky to work with such high-caliber producers and engineers. They are masters of their craft and have great ears for little nuances that we get caught up on. We could do whatever we wanted, which was great, and if it was bad, they would tell us in a second. There were many revisions to songs and arrangements, and we never felt rushed. Each session -- and there were a lot of sessions that went into the making of this record -- was a great vibe.

Click ahead to read more about Mail the Horse's current tour -- including tour necessities and their road trip soundtrack.

You guys are in the middle of an east coast tour -- what are you most looking forward to? 
Seeing friends and having a new record to finally show them! We have played a lot of these towns the last few years on the same album. We wanted to go back and play the towns we have a lot of friends in so they can see our new material and pick up the new record. Eating some sandwiches and ice cream cones never hurt anyone either.

What are some of your tour necessities? 
Always bring more socks and undies than you think you will need. Also a camping stove has become a life and money saver. Sleeping bags. Books. We eat a lot of Cheez-Its in the bus -- that’s the official bus snack of Mail the Horse. We hope to get an endorsement from them. Maybe we can have our picture on their box like Michael Jordan's picture on the Wheaties box... we can dream. We have our tape collection. We have our beer cooler in the bus. And a positive outlook!!!!!!





How does the Brooklyn music scene influence your work? 
The city is great because you're around so many people that are being creative and working at their craft. Whether it's something you are into or not, it’s always inspiring. It definitely made us work harder and get our shit together faster. Being able to go to an amazing show whenever you want every single night is great too. You can always take something with you from a performance, learn from it, and apply it to yourself. But we have this cool thing going on now where half the band lives upstate in the Hudson Valley so we spend half our time as a band up there and half down here in the city. It's a fun dynamic and somehow fits us nicely. Planet Gates will be the last album of ours that was written at Gates Motel, our old apartment in Bushwick, where all of us lived off and on from 2010-2014. That place and the attitudes and lifestyles it created has shaped our music way more than the city itself -- hence the title of the new record. It's an homage to that place and those crazy years we all shared in that little apartment together.

What are you listening to that we need to add to our rotation now?
Here's what we'll be spinning in the bus this tour: Mickey Newbury, Are My Thoughts With You, State Champion, Fantasy Error, Jerry Jeff Walker, Five Years Gone, Sam Cohen, Cool It, Gun Outfit, Hard Coming Down, Robert Lester Folsom archives, The Kinks. Songs: Ohia. Can. I've really been getting into the Ranchera singer Chavela Vargas, and that stuff will break your heart into a thousand pieces, in a good way. George Jones cassettes on repeat for hours. We'll probably be listening to PILE a bunch.

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us!! Be sure to check out Mail the Horse at Acre 121 on the 10th!!

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