With Roger Sharman
On a damp and bitter Tuesday night in Central London, Roger went along to the 229 Club to have a chat to A Thousand Horses before their one-off show, about what they’ve been up to and what’s in store for the band in the future.
CL: Hi Guy’s, welcome back to the UK, I’m Roger from Country Lowdown. How y’all all doing?
ATH: Thanks, we’re all good.
CL: Let’s see if I can read my own writing! A lot has happened since you were last here, the release of the Bridges EP. How do you feel that was received, both over here and in the US?
ATH: The ‘Bridges’ EP. We think it went fine. But it was like everybody said wait it minute, what, its only like six songs. ***collective laughter***
CL: That’s already quite a lot of songs, right?
ATH: They wanted more, so that’s good.
CL: One of your fans outside asked me to ask you what you’ve been up to in the last three years, since you’ve last been here?
ATH: Well, we changed record labels, and all that and then we umm … We were figuring out how to make this album that we have. We went and did it on our own along with Dave Cobb, our producer. So, we kind of did it before we had a new deal and he’s like come on, let’s make a record. We’ve got some great songs so come on let’s make a cool record, just see what happens and he ended up signing us to his record label, Low Country Sound, which is kinda full circle for us with Dave. So yeah, that’s it.
ATH: Ohhhhhh, Mike had a baby!!
ATH: That’s a big thing.
CL: Yes, it is! And I can see that you got your figure back!
CL: We’ve seen you’ve been touring the US with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kid Rock in the past couple of years – how was it playing to big arenas?
ATH: It was great. We learnt from the greats there. We‘d go out and watch their shows every night, take notes, watch how they were doing it, watch how they were rocking an arena. They’re great guys.
CL: Kid Rock brings it man, his show is awesome. I’ve seen him three times; twice over here and once in Florida. He hasn’t been here in eight or nine years, I think.
ATH: He is amazing. He’s got a great show. I mean he’s got the kinda of show where it doesn’t matter if you’ve never heard of a Kid Rock song, you will go to the show and be thoroughly entertained.
CL: Neither of those artists are strictly “country” artists per se, they’re both southern rock. Do you feel you’re crossing the bridge between modern country and southern rock? Where do you see yourselves in that picture?
ATH: If it does it does, you know, we are just us. We’re A Thousand Horses, we’re a country rock band, but if it crosses it crosses. We don’t go in with that mentality, you’re thinking that this time why don’t we do both. It’s not an intentional decision that we have made, but it seems to be the way that it’s worked out. Yes, it’s the way it’s perceived, but really, we focus on just making the best music that A Thousand Horses can make. You know?
CL: So, it’s a personal thing for you? This is the sound of A Thousand Horses and obviously you have influences from other bands but it’s very much A Thousand Horses sound.
ATH: Yes. That’s really what we try to do. That’s what we’ve always set out to do. Especially when we made this record, we had no real outside influences you know, it was just us and Dave in the studio. It was just us picking the best songs that we’ve written and making the coolest record that sounds the most like us, and let’s not pre-emptively put some kind of label on it. We know what we are and think that we do straddle that line of country and southern rock, rock ‘n’ roll kinda thing. It’s just us doing that and seeing where it fits with the people that listen to our music, you know.
CL: Well it works very well.
CL: You’re pretty close to a couple of bands – the Cadillac 3 and Brothers Osborne
CL: They have both played the Download festival in the last couple of years, which of course is one of the UK’s famous rock/metal festivals. Is that something you could see yourselves doing also?
ATH: Ohhh yeah, we’ve heard of that. Yeah absolutely, we love coming over here. We haven’t announced it yet but we definitely have plans for next year, we’re gonna come back and do a more extensive run. We’ve read all the comments that people have made on Facebook and Instagram and it sounds like people are, well, they’re not afraid to speak their minds, asking us to come to other places other than London.
CL: You’re well-loved over here, obviously there’s a fan group run over here as well as one in the US, that must be pretty overwhelming for you knowing that you are that popular here?
ATH: Yeah, it’s cool man, it feels really good.
CL: Do you think you’re more popular over here or in the US?
ATH: Man, I don’t know, I mean we have our favourite places to go and this is definitely one of them. I don’t know if we’re more or less popular.
CL: Do you find that the audiences are different? How do you compare the UK audience to the one that you get in the United States?
ATH: One thing that we’ve noticed is people dive in to the album more, the album as a whole, and honestly, we want people to do that because when we create an album this is our body of work for the time, so it’s a cool thing. They really want to get behind the meaning of songs and really think about it and we think that that’s really cool.
CL: A lot of artists have said that actually, that we dive in and listen to all of the album and know all the words to every song.
ATH: Yes, people here will know the words to songs that they might sing in say, Georgia or somewhere like that which is really a cool thing to see.
CL: You played C2C festival back in 2016, Is that something that you’d like to do again?
ATH: Absolutely. That was our first time over here, it made such an impact on us that we’d love to. It’s cool to see how many Country music fans there are. We really didn’t know. We were blown away by that whole thing.
CL: And it’s a bit of a boom time here, right now.
ATH: Yeah, it’s amazing.
CL: Going back three or four years, we could possibly go to a show once a month, now it’s once a week.
ATH: Right, that’s crazy.
CL: We have the fans of modern country and we also have the more traditional fans and then there’s the southern rock fans, Blackberry Smoke and TC3 have big followings here. So, we’ve got a good mix over here right now.
CL: When is the new album coming out?
ATH: The first of the year. We don’t have a hard date yet.
CL: Will there be a different launch date in the US to here?
ATH: We’re not quite sure, you’d have to ask the business people, ask our manager (as manager Scott walks past) I think we’re trying to keep them all at the same time. We put the ‘Living My Best Life’ single out at the same time everywhere.
CL: We’re loving that here right now; it’s gone down really well with the fans.
ATH: Nice that’s great to hear.
CL: What can we expect from the show tonight?
ATH: We’re gonna play some new songs, some that we’ve never played before, live, so we’re going to do something special, something a little bit different for this show, and let people hear what the record is all about.
CL: We’re looking forward to it, there’s going to be a good crowd out there. There are a lot of hardcore Thousand Horses fans. We seen some pretty cool tee-shirts out there, Scott and I. Some really old ones from way back, they’re all fading and stretched.
ATH: Ohhhhh wow, that’s awesome. That’s probably from when we were selling the merchandise.
CL: I like to ask a funky question every now and then, I know that you like writing of Noel Gallagher, so do you remember there was a British band called Blur?
ATH: errrrr yesssss…..
CL: Well back in 2002 they recorded a piece of music that was sent off in to space on Beagle two. So, if you were asked to launch a Rocket off into space what songs would you send up into space and what message would your message be to the aliens?
ATH: Ohhhhh great question. So, what songs of ours would be send into space?
ATH: Now this is before we have to play a show on the moon… one should be ‘Travellin’ Man’, for travelling through space, yeah. We should have ‘Smoke’ in there. How many Songs do we get?
CL: Let’s say three, and they will loop for eternity ..
ATH: Ohhhh man, hahaha… we gotta put some of the new stuff on there, lets put ‘Livin’ my Best Life’ on there, and write a note that says Dear Aliens, if you don’t like this, don’t blame the rest of the planet. This is just us exploring the universe.
CL: Thank you very much for your time, gents.
ATH: Yeah, thank you.
N.B.Some questions provided by Colin Cassell – ATH UK