INTERVIEW: An Horse’s Kate Cooper chats the band’s return to touring, new album and much more!
We hate to say it but this interview is a bit delayed considering the holiday season. To me though, I think it’s great timing as An Horse is on the cusp of re-releasing their debut record, ‘Rearrange Beds’, on vinyl, and plan to release their first full length in seven years this March/April! I sat down with ½ of the band in Kate Cooper who provides lead vocals for the band as well as killer guitar work just thirty minutes or so post set when they were on the road with Saves the Day and Kevin Devine and everything was on the table.
It was only the second interview that Cooper had done having the new record under their belt and at the time Cooper was still taking in the new tunes that they had just signed off on. But as our conversation progressed, she naturally dove into speaking about the public return to writing with band mate Damon Cox again. Despite them writing behind the scenes in the past, 2018 was their true return to playing music live together again and the fans were definitely still there for it. Their dynamic was a great start for a night of music that would include a solo performance by Kevin Devine and the full band show put on by Saves the Day.
Find our chat below and be ready for much more to come from this incredibly talented duo! With 2019 looking like the year where every band ever is going on the road, hopefully An Horse is one you make a priority when they come through your town.
You’re doing this tour with Saves the Day and Kevin Devine. You’ve been active this year in touring.
Well Front Bottoms and this. That’s active enough for me. I guess we’ve only done two tours which doesn’t seem very active to me because historically we are a band that have toured a lot.
Well maybe how has it been then to be back playing shows in the states?
We’ve been writing behind the scenes for a good few years but it’s good for us to do these tours. Not only do we love the bands but just to kind of remember what we’re doing. Like I had to relearn everything, well I never forget how to play guitar but just trying to remember what it’s like to engage with a crowd. Just stuff like that and getting that in your head stuff when you’re playing. So that’s sort of what it’s been, just remember. It’s like learning to drive a car again or something.
And then how have these shows been? Just from seeing your set, Kevin Devine and Saves the Day are something a little bit different. Kevin is just by himself.
And they’re all men.
All men, you’re the one girl holding it down. But clearly the crowd was into it, I saw people singing the words.
Yeah that’s cool.
Yeah people are clearly here for you, they know the songs, how have these shows been?
They’ve been great! It’s been really cool. And musically I guess they’re different but in my mind we’re really similar.
I think you’re similar. The same energy.
You see it! But some people don’t. And it’s interesting, we’ve been reading all the press. We’re actually re-releasing ‘Rearrange Beds’ on vinyl in January, it’s never been released on vinyl, so the label was looking for some press to pull some quotes from. I was reading some old press and it was really interesting to see the way that people talked about us ten years ago. It was so engendered, like ‘Oh my god! A girl playing guitar and singing!’ and they can’t get their head around the fact that it’s just the same shit. So it’s cool to play with bands like this because these guys get it. They’re like yeah cool, that’s awesome.
And I think that thinking has changed. So the question was how have these shows been, they’ve been great! We love Kevin, we’re old friends.
So you were friends before this it did seem pretty natural (Devine played onstage for a handful of songs with An Horse).
We’ve toured pretty extensively with Kevin and Damon played on Kevin’s last record and Damon tours with Kevin sometimes. And he’s getting up soon and playing some songs with him. We’re just old mates. And then the Saves the Day folks are amazing. Me and Damon jam their records in the record store.
Totally. I mean if you play music, you kind of rip everyone off I think.
Perfect! Then you kind of mentioned before, you did put out the new single but you are re-rereleasing ‘Rearrange Beds’ on vinyl. You’ve been kind of working together behind the scenes, it’s not like you took a full break from each other.
I mean no, after we came out of the last tour that we did before we went on a bit of a break that was Brand New on a Canadian tour. Then we didn’t do anything for a good couple years but then we started writing demo’s and playing together again. I remember we had a practice or we mucked around like five years ago then we’ve been demoing pretty extensively for the last two and a half years. To us, we’ve kind of been doing stuff the whole time but just taking our time. People have waited this long. I didn’t want to rush anything.
Then considering it is just the two of you together versus maybe a full band effort where there’s so many cooks in the kitchen. When you were writing these new songs, coming back after a little bit of a break, maybe something new you tried in the writing and maybe something you left behind in the writing process when you came back together?
Well I tried to write better songs, that’s the first thing. But I also tried to write songs that I would want to play every night. Because the last couple records were good but they were kind of a bummer. I’m really happy and I’m a very lucky person with everything that I have. Sometimes there’s a glorification that being sad is a mood and it’s cool and it’s just desperately not. Being happy is really hard and you have to work at it and that’s what I’ve been doing.
And I also wanted to sing to people and make them happy but that makes me sound like I wrote this weird pop song. Like a pop record. It was interesting. I did my first piece of press just in a long time the other day and I’m kind of saying the same things. I need to go away and think about what I write about because they asked me that and I haven’t had a chance to think about it because we just signed off on the record last week. The writing happened a while ago and then there was the technical production side of things. So I’m really happy with it but I haven’t really thought about it yet. I got to do that!
I didn’t write for a good couple years. My dad was really sick and I didn’t want to write about that. That’s the main thing. So I don’t want to write sad songs about shit that’s a real bummer. Sad songs are good sometimes. The thing is people may think some of these songs are really sad too. Generally speaking, they’re in a better head space.
And is that still a while away for you, is that album something where you already have a set release date?
Yeah I think it’s coming out in April. March/April I’m told. I’ve got some time to think about it. Actually I don’t even know if I ever want to hear it again to be honest because I listened to it so much. I will have to listen to it.
You’re going to have to listen to it. You’re going to have to play some of it.
I’m going to have to learn how to play some of it. That’s what I got to do first!
Always the hard part. Having to translate it to a live setting.
When there’s only two of us.
You must have so many other elements while in the studio that you can add in but there are only two of you live. Are there songs on this record that you think are going to be huge ones that you play, are there songs that you think unfortunately can’t be played?
I mean I think we’ll play them all. There’s one in particular where I’m like we can’t play this live so we’ll just play the version that we wrote but it became something else in the studio. Maybe but it’s a weird one. I got to figure that out, we haven’t figured that out yet. I got to figure that out soon.
The record’s finished. That’s the important part.
That’s the hard part.
That’s the very hard part.
Well that felt like the hard part but now the harder part is actually learning the record. Every answer I’m giving you is like I don’t know I’m sorry, I haven’t got to that yet.
I like it! It’s genuine. You talked about it before, you’ve been writing behind the scenes for years. You and Damon have been working on new music but for that album, were some of these songs from years ago, was it songs only written in those sessions?
There’s one that’s been kicking around for a while. Like one that me and Damon demoed out, well I sent a rough demo like years ago. I was kind of over it but we had a bunch of them that we sent to the producer that we worked with, Mike Sapone, and he chose that one. I’m powerless in these decisions, I’m not powerless at all, but I’m like ‘I don’t know, you tell me. Are they good? I don’t know.’ Or ‘I think they’re all good, I don’t know!’ But otherwise, they’re pretty new actually. There’s two that I wrote like two weeks before we went into the studio, it’s kind of funny.
Then you’re still on this tour for a little bit with Saves the Day and Kevin Devine.
Only a week left.
But coming up after this tour, we’re coming up on the holidays. Maybe some focuses or goals for 2019? You probably can’t say much.
Well we’re going to put the record out.
You’re doing this thing called putting a record out.
We’re going to do the re-release of ‘Rearrange Beds’ on vinyl which will be nice.
Are you going to be trying to do touring around it?
‘Rearrange Beds’ and the new album that’s coming out.
Yeah no we’ll tour it for sure. I mean I don’t know what that looks like at this point but we’ll figure it out. I’m trying not to think too far ahead. I got to get home for the holidays, back to Australia.