Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Australian duo An Horse returning to Chicago after playing at Lollapalooza


By ERIC SCHELKOPF
Chicago is quickly becoming a second home for Australian indie rock duo An Horse.

The band, www.anhorse.com, comprised of Kate Cooper and Damon Cox, performed at Lollapalooza in August and returns to Chicago on Sept. 22 for a show at the Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont Ave.

Magic Milk and Warm Ones also are on the bill. The show starts at 8:30 p.m., and tickets are $10, available at www.ticketweb.com.www.ticketweb.com.

I had a chance to talk to Cooper about the band and its new album, "Walls."


Q - You are returning to Chicago a little more than a month after your appearance at Lollapalooza. How was that experience? Was it different than you imagined?

It was really great. I didn't really know what to expect. It blew my mind. It was so organized and so much fun. We had a great time.

Q - You guys are touring in support of your second album, "Walls." How do you  think your music has evolved since you first started making music together? What goals did you have in sitting down to make "Walls?"

Well, with "Rearrange Beds," we didn't really intend to make a record. We were just two friends mucking around.

With "Walls," we actually were out to make a record. We had played a lot of shows and we had grown as musicians. I can hear that on "Walls." My only goal was to make a record and we did that and I am happy with it.

  An Horse by anhorse 

Q - The duo Tegan & Sara asked you guys if you wanted to tour with them after you gave them your demos. Was that a big boost of confidence for the band? Do you think that was a turning point for the band?

For sure. Before that we hadn't played many shows at all. We went on tour in the U.S. and got a record deal. It was really life changing and awesome.

Q - Howard Redekopp, who has worked with Tegan & Sara among other bands, produced "Walls." How did you hook up with him and what do you think he brought to the table?

Howard mixed "Rearrange Beds." While he was mixing the record, he said he would be really keen to work with us some more.

We got to know him and we love him. It was the logical choice. He is a great guy with a gift!

Q - How was it recording in a studio with his dog Fanny? I guess you learned quickly that Fanny wasn't as nice as it seemed.

Fanny nearly ripped my face off. Only after this did Howard tell us that he had to take our assistant engineer, Jarrett to the hospital because Fanny had bitten his FACE. Jarrett added that Howard made Jarrett sit next to Fanny in the car to the hospital.

Q - What are the pros and cons of being in a duo? Do you ever plan to add more members?

It's all pros and no we don't plan to add anyone but never say never, I guess.

Q - I understand the two of you met while working together at an independent record store. What musical tastes do the two of you share? Do you think independent record stores can continue to exist in this age of digital music?

Damon and I like a lot of similar music. It's really important, in my opinion, to have a varied taste in music. The record store we worked in closed down. I have no idea if they will continue to exist.

I am sure random boutique stores will always be around but I can't be sure. There is a whole generation of young people who don't even realize you have to pay for it. It's become so common place to give tracks or
albums away. 

It's a shame because it means we have to work harder and we don't make any more money. It's sometimes very exhausting and overwhelming.

Q - Does it get frustrating having to explain that An Horse is indeed grammatically correct?

Yes.

Q - How do you think the music scene in Australia is different from the one in the United States? Do you think it is harder or easier for a band from Australia or any other country to get airplay in the United States?

The music scenes are very different, but to be honest, I don't live in Australia at the moment and I am not really involved in any music scene.

I haven't been to many shows this year because when I am not on tour, I don't really want to go see a band. As for airplay, I have no idea.

I think it's hard for bands to get played on the radio full stop, but radio doesn't mean as much as it used to in some respects. I think it's definitely harder being a band from Australia touring in the U.S. then being from the U.S. 

It's a costly exercise and it is very far away.