My Grey Horse landed firmly on our radar with the release of their most recent EP Stop Before The Dry River at the beginning of 2013. Nearly a whole year has passed and My Grey Horse have been busily preparing the release of their debut album. Ahead of their live performance at the Jericho Tavern on Friday 8 November, we caught up with Tom and Oobah and asked them about future plans, the importance of pop songs and their fantasy ATP Festival line-ups.
What have you been up to since the release of your EP Stop Before The Dry River?
Tom: Well after playing a few shows we really wanted to get back in the studio to do our first full length album. We have five writers in the band and we’re happiest when we’re holed-up in some barn with recording equipment, some crappy keyboards and some way of steaming broccoli. So before long we were back in the same hop kiln where we recorded Stop Before The Dry River. Trading beds for futons and recording a lot. Right now we’re working on the final mixes of our debut album and a few surprises for everyone before the end of the year.
The EP is packed full of concisely written, catchy pop songs. It seems upcoming bands favour experimental/nostalgic sounds over songs-craft. Is the craft of well-written pop songs a dying trade?
Oobah: I think that good songs are a transcendental thing. It seems like most the time that somebody is doing something pure and honest; it catches fire sometime. It’s something I pick up on right away when I’m listening to new music, and that still happens. I think there’s a case to be made for a decline in good lyricists. I blame Carol Ann Duffy.
Tom: I think that there are a lot of bands doing really interesting things, experimenting with different technology, like Outfit. They make music that your body understands perhaps before your head does and in that way they are really easily accessible but I wouldn’t say that they write pop songs, there is a lot going on in their music. I think there are a lot of exciting great songwriters who hold out a while before giving their audience a chorus but who also keep an accessibility about their music that finds other ways of getting its hooks into you. Just listen to Outfit or Happy Jawbone Family Band or Lychee or Coma Cinema.
What are the major influences of your next release?
Oobah: Hummingbird by Local Natives was a big influence. But at the moment, winter is here and it’s a bit different. The death of Lou Reed was awful. I’m sure plenty will be born from that. I know we wrote a song about him, but it is going to haunt a lot of heads. I can’t get the new Moonface record out of my head either, so he’ll be in there somewhere.
Tom: I saw Deerhunter playing ‘Nothing Ever Happened’. That bass riff already made me punch the air when it came on my ipod but in the live video it just really clearly set the whole song bursting into being. I definitely took influence from the aggressive simplicity of that, at times during the recording my knuckles were bleeding as I hit the strings… But we’re really sensitive guys.
What’s the best thing about playing live shows, which recent ones have stood out particularly and which ones are you most looking forward to?
Oobah: I love seeing people engage in our songs, and being able to show them other levels of meaning to the material.
Tom: We had a great show in Islington a few weeks ago where we tried out some new material which went down really well in the basement of the Buffalo Bar. We have been living with the songs from the new album for a while now and we’re really looking forward to sharing new stuff with everyone.
Oobah: I’m looking forward to the Jericho Tavern this Friday; we always have a blast in Oxford.
Having bumped in to each other at ATP Deerhunter recently, hypothetically speaking, what three albums, regardless of age and mortality, would you like to see performed live in their entirety?
Oobah: Yeah, can I have my swimming shorts back?
Tom: Probably Cryptograms, Microcastle and Halcyon Digest which is why Deerhunter ATP was probably the best weekend of… that… week… Actually that is a tough question.
Oobah: Something to do with Metallica.
Tom: I’d put forward The Unicorns album Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone, mostly because right now I feel like the show would blast right past me and after sweating it out with everyone, when we’re driving home, I’d be full of that bittersweet post ATP depression that comes after something so great has happened.
Oobah: Abbey Road, Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan and The Meadowlands; that’s not bad.
What is the next major goal on the My Grey Horse horizon?
Tom: It’s coming early next year; the release of our debut album, getting it pressed to vinyl, framing it, getting a big magnet and sticking it to our fridge door.
Oobah: Thanks, One Note Forever.