eGigs talks to Horse

the female singer-songwriter on Tuesday 7 June 2011

eGigs caught up with Scottish export [she's Welsh really!] Horse before she packs her suitcase and goes out on the road doing what she does best:

Could you give eGigs readers a bio?
I think my bio is so long it'll be better if people take a look at it - (here).

You appeared on The Tube back in 1987 what was this like and how did that come about?
One of the highlights of my career, actually, given that it was the first proper TV appearance and for a relatively inexperienced performer very scary and exciting all at once! Unbeknownst to us someone who knew a researcher for the Tube handed over our demo. Paula was a bit of a prat when we met, actually - I tried to talk to her but I'm not a guy tee hee - she was quite rude to me. Jools was nice to us.

The actual performance flew by. We did 'You could be Forgiven' and the switchboards were jammed after with people trying to find out more about us, the staff got pretty p****d off! Had this happened now we would of course have a website, all of that networking we do now and built up a database off the back of it - a bit of a lost opportunity but so thrilling to do. I hear it may be coming back whoooo. Let me on it.

There's been a writing partnership with Angela that lasted 19 years, what would you say has been your most successful song to date and why?
Success means very different things for me now than what I hoped for and imagined all of those years ago. I simply want my songs to be heard and played – to affect people. I think I have achieved this with a few songs. One song that has travelled with me over the years is 'Careful' (a co write with Angela ) (Will Young covered it at Glastonbury ) It has always been the song that says things simply but beautifully. When we made the video for it, the director, Eric Ifergan, said that it reminded him of the emotion in a silent movie and in particular Buster Keaton (who never smiled) On the surface a simple love song but underneath it is quite dark. That is a thread that runs through many of my songs – but then we all love a sad song!

What has been your favourite song to write and why? See above perhaps?
There is no one song like that is the ultimate favourite– they are all like my babies and each has its own character and charm I do have faves off each album, however? Like maybe the daring lyrical double entendre of 'Sea of Love' or 'Starfish From Hindsight'... or 'Heaven Can Wait' or 'Stars' from Coming up for air too many to mention dare I say. You will just have to listen to them all.

Your current album is called 'Coming Up For Air' where is the title from?
The title track of the album – it literally came out of thin air I wrote this with Benny Gallagher (of Gallagher and Lyle!) It came from a few chords I put to him and we worked around those. I had the line I'm alright cause I'm coming up for air from the outset – it became the track that I finished lyrically as I went in to sing it. Quite a good thing to make yourself do – the spontaneity was exhilarating.

Who has been your favourite producer to work with?
I have worked with a few producers possibly Pete Smith who did the same sky or Bob Sadler who did 'Coming Up For Air'. I think Bob was the easiest to work with and Pete the hardest to please.

You seem to have quite a few session musicians that you've played and recorded with, who have been some of your favourites?
Definitely the group of musicians I work with now Gordy, Samson, Gemma and Jen. I get on very well with the guys and have a good rapport with them I think there is a chemistry. The original line up worked well and had a spark too. I don't think chemistry can be made I think there is one or there isn’t.

You lost your voice due to a node on your vocal chord and were unable to sing for two months what was this like?
Without being overly melodramatic it was an utter nightmare – maybe the comparison would be an athlete losing a limb – devastating for me The record company were not best pleased but we worked around it – I had my op and we carried on recording the tracks with Angela doing the guides. It was a trying time though as I had to keep writing notes instead of talking I can understand how people unable to talk or hear may feel as when trying to communicate people were totally ignorant eg booking a flight I handed a message over for what I was wanting and they initially were shouting at me and then miming phew! I have now gained all the notes I lost and more, thankfully I also take a lot more care of my voice now.

You've supported some amazing artists including BB King and Aztec Camera through the years, who have been your favourites and why?
Favourite that I supported? I think Burt Bacarach, as a writer that was a huge thrill as he had to approve who did the support. Tina Turner was an inspiration and Roddy (Aztec Camera) was good fun - he told me he was aghast that I had more women following me than him and trying to meet me afterwards "How do you do it?"

You lost your parents whilst recording your album, how did this effect you and did it have an effect on your song writing?
It was devastating as you can imagine. My mum died first of ovarian cancer and my dad 6 weeks later. The song writing was a process that actually gave me some form of release – I wrote my thoughts down as my mum was in hospital and these thoughts became songs – 'Heaven Can Wait' in particular. Very hard and sad times but creatively rich and giving me some sort of comfort.

You've released 8 albums since 1990, do you have any particular favourites?
I think they all have special meaning. The first was a live concert of me with the Scottish Chamber orchestra playing my songs and it was recorded for posterity.The concert was amazing a big achievement for me to pull it all together so I hold is up as a huge success and one I am very proud of. Although it was nerve racking doing the concert it is one I will never forget. Like the songs I have favourite memories and times all instilled in each – each album has textures, colour and emotions from the moment recorded.

Do you have any favourite songs that have to go on the setlist?
'Careful', 'Gods Home Movie' maybe 'Forgiven', 'Something Wicked', 'Speed Of The Beat', 'Hindsight'..

Are there any favourite venues and audiences to play in front of?
I take each audience as I find them I find it hard to choose one over the other, every night is different. I do Like the Barrowlands in Glasgow if I am pushed to choose one.

You're playing GOGO Festival are you looking forward to this and do you have any other festival appearances planned this year?
I am looking forward to GOGO I played at it last year and am looking forward to the new location – (we recorded our first album in Kent) The atmosphere is brilliant. I am headlining Rostok Women's Festival Germany on June 12th and Artburst in East Kilbride June 18th.

What can we expect from Horse in 2011?
I am working on my new album at the moment and enjoying writing again. I am also doing a bit of co-writing just now too – just written a song with Heather Peace, which you may get to hear very soon! I hope to record the new songs before the end of this year I have various dates through the year and working towards a full UK tour next year.

You can see Horse:

19th June GOGO Festival
2nd July The Stables, Milton Keynes
29th August Manchester Pride
24th November Howden Park, Livingston
25th November The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
26th November Queens Hall, Edinburgh

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article by: Michelle Owen-Williams

published: 07/06/2011 10:04

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