Local Artist Spotlight: Haunted Horses

Local Artist Spotlight, Local Music
Dusty Henry

Every week, KEXP features a new local artist with an interview and suggested tracks for where to start. This week, we’re featuring Seattle industrial punks Haunted Horses, who play Capitol Hill Block Party this Friday evening.

Leaning into their name, Haunted Horses are back from the dead. The duo played their final show last year, but it wouldn't take long before they made their return. No complaints here — since they first emerged on the scene in 2009, they've played some of the sweatiest, thrilling shows in the city and became a crucial fixture in Seattle's DIY scene. Not only will they be returning to Capitol Hill Block Party this week, they also just dropped a new EP called "COME". The five-track release ushers in a new era for the band, expanding their sound and giving a fresh start for the spooky ponies. We caught up with drummer Myke Pelly about the band's return, their new EP, and the importance of DIY spaces.

In May 2016, you played your final show at Chop Suey. Then this February you announced you were coming back as a “new band, similar sound, same name.” Could you shed some light on what led to the break-up and the reboot? Did the time away from working on different projects (HINTS and T) help inform your new direction?

It actually had a lot to do with that final show, haha. Colin and I hadn't played together in a while, so it was really cool getting a chance to shred again. I was focusing on HINTS at the time, but the idea of starting a new project together was super exciting. It turned out no matter what we wrote, it all ended up sounding like HH -- so we just decided to keep the name, haha.

This week you’re releasing your new EP, “COME”. Were these songs you had prior to the initial breakup or is this all new material? Is there an underlying theme you wanted to convey with these tracks?

These are all new jams and we're super excited to finally release them! I think they're a bit more dynamic and in your face than the older stuff. It's been really fun to dive into new sounds and find different ways to get weird with music. I also listened to The Matrix soundtrack a lot, that most definitely helped in the writing process.

The album credits on the record really point to how much you took on yourselves. Recording, mixing, and mastering it all internally. Do you feel like having total control helped you better realize your vision for the project?

Honestly, we just wanted to get something out there, without having to book any studio time or spend money we didn't have. I had mixed our last record Watcher and the HINTS EP, so it only seemed natural to spearhead this one. Shout out to Blake Bikel for helping out with mixing/mastering as well!

Alongside the production, Myke also does the artwork for the band. Haunted Horses’ aesthetic and visuals feel so cohesive and are really compelling. What ideas are you trying to explore in your art work as it relates to the band? Any key influences?

I've always loved when bands or labels have a consistent look and feel to their releases. Sacred Bones, Tycho, Lightning Bolt and Boards of Canada come to mind. Doing the artwork for HH has been especially fun cause I can get pretty weird with it. I don't have any particular ideas, just whatever comes natural and feels right.

You’ve long been supporters of DIY spaces and play these venues often yourselves — your first show back was even a part of the DIY Appreciation Month concert series. How has the underground/DIY scene locally impacted you individually as artists and Haunted Horses as a band?

Hell yes, DIY is where my heart is. It's a community that's always been so welcoming and supportive of me as a person and as an artist. The shows I'm most excited to play are with local bands in all-ages spaces cause that's where all the best people are!

For those who’ve never seen you perform, what can they expect from your set at Capitol Hill Block Party?

The freeway scene from Matrix Reloaded.




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