In The Know...Chattin' It Up With An Horse

>> Thursday, 10 June 2010

There’s no doubt about it: An Horse love riding into Winnipeg.

For the third time in just under a year, the grunge-leaning Australian power-pop duo is passing through the Gateway to the West. Back in September singer/guitarist Kate Cooper and her drummer counterpart Damon Cox blew away crowds at the U of W Quad and, later that night, at the Lo Pub. And in January of this year, the Aussies dazzled bright-eyed Tegan & Sara fans during their riveting and energetic opening slot.

The final installment in An Horse’s trilogy of visits sees the pair perform at the Park Theatre on June 15th, which just might be the last opportunity to see this rising band play their smart and affective anthems in such a small, intimate setting. Consider yourself warned.

I caught up with Kate Cooper yesterday just as the band was pulling into majestic, mountain-laden Kelowna, BC. For several frustrating moments I was concerned a connection wasn’t in the cards: the mountainous terrain proved troublesome for cell phone reception, resulting in several unwanted hang-ups. But we finally connected and had a great chat about An Horse’s extensive touring schedule in support of their well-received debut, Rearrange Beds; their brand new remix EP, Beds Rearranged; and how the next record is progressing.

Painting Over Silence: You’ve toured an awful lot behind Rearrange Beds. Any idea how many kilometers you’ve logged on the road since the release of it?

Kate Cooper: Oh my god. No idea. I hate to think about our carbon footprint. It is terrible. I’m not so sure I want to know! We tried to figure it out the first couple tours, but then it overwhelmed us and I thought “I don’t wanna do this anymore.”

PoS: Because of Winnipeg’s population size and geographic proximity to other cities, we sometimes have a hard time attracting indie acts, especially non-Canadian one. What motivates An Horse to tour all over and hit smaller cities like Winnipeg?

KC: First of all, we had great opportunities to tour throughout North America, and we tried to make the most of it. To go off on a big tour with Tegan and Sara, and play a huge place in Winnipeg, you can’t say no to something like that. And our record came out earlier this year in Canada, and it seemed normal for us to tour it all over. We’ve been lucky with the opportunities we’ve had and just tried to make the most of them.

PoS: Last time An Horse came through Winnipeg you opened for Tegan & Sara at the Burton Cummings Theatre in front of a large crowd. Now you’ll be playing at a much more intimate venue. Do you approach smaller shows differently than larger ones?

KC: No, I don’t think so. I think they’re very similar. We just work with what we’ve got. I really like playing the big theatres because you definitely get something different from the audience. Hmm. So then yeah, it is kinda different, but it’s definitely not a conscious approach.

PoS: Your plans after that last tour were to settle down, write, and do some recording. Did this happen, and, if so, how is the new material coming along?

KC: Yes. After the January tour Damon and I went back to Melbourne and spent a month there writing, which was really great. It’s all come together quite well, and we’ll be making the new record late July/August in Vancouver.

PoS: For now, An Horse fans are able to check out Beds Rearranged, a 5-song EP remix of Rearrange Beds featuring Gerard Smith (of TV on the Radio), The Phenomenal Handclap Band, and a few others. How did this remix EP come to fruition?

KC: It was actually our label’s idea. Our label in the states called Mom & Pop said “we think this album (Rearrange Beds) has some life and you should keep touring behind it. And we think you should release an EP…what about a remix EP?” Initially, Damon and I were like “ummm,” but they told us “well, these people are interested.” So we said “really? Ok, cool! Let’s see what they can come up with.” We got sent some of the remixes and I was like “holy shit! These are really cool” It was the least hands-on experience we ever had, which we really liked, and it was great to step back and let other people do what they want.

PoS: So what’s next for An Horse after Winnipeg, the band’s last date in Canada?

KC: It’s actually the last date after three months on the road. After that, we have a month off, and I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t looking forward to it. Then, we head to Europe briefly for some summer festivals. And then we go to Vancouver to make the new record.

PoS: Then the record will come out and you’ll be sure to come play Winnipeg again, right?

KC: Of course we will! Actually, the Weakerthans are one of my favourite bands and Marcel Dzama is one of my favourite artists, so whenever I’m in Winnipeg I feel like I’m in this weird hotspot of creativity. And I try to channel it.


Also, I’ve got a copy of the Rearrange Beds for giveaway. Entering is business as usual. Shoot me an email (addy on the side) by Tuesday, June 15th @ noon with “An Horse CD Giveaway” in the subject line and your name in the body. Winner will be drawn randomly and contacted Tuesday afternoon sometime.


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