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Horehound - Interview

Interview with: Brendan Parrish, JD Dauer, Nick Kopco
Conducted by: Will Ring

Formed in 2015, the Pittsburgh, PA (USA) based female fronted doom/sludge/stoner band Horehound has created quite a solid foundation for themselves with their sound. Releasing their debut album in 2016 and garnering comparisons to acts like Melvins and Kyuss, Horehound were set to blow minds with their sophomore album, last year in late November released Holocene. The six track, Holocene, maintains the original Horehound-heavy, but has driven into deeper depths of dark, hardened post-doom metal. This interview was done during the summer of 2018 to help promote the upcoming release.

Will: How did you get involved with music?
I've always loved music intensely; it was always on in the house. But I didn't decide to start playing guitar until I was 18. I was fortunate that one of my closest friends is an excellent guitar teacher, so I took lessons with him for about six/seven years.
JD: Both my mom and dad played music. My dad, banjo and guitar in a 60s folk band and my mom, a pianist and organist at her church, so there was music in the house constantly. When I was a pre-teen I would babysit my younger cousin and raid my aunt and uncle's album collection. Alice Cooper, David Bowie, BTO and Cheap Trick were on regular rotation. Starting high school, I joined the marching band playing drums and haven't stopped since.
Nick: At a young age, my uncle let me borrow Metallica's ...And Justice For All and told me three words: "play it loud".

Will: You recently re-released your debut album. That's not something bands your size usually have to do.
Brendan: We didn't have to do it, but we thought it would be a great opportunity to present the first album in a new way, at a higher quality, and with a very cool Portishead cover.
JD: We got feedback on the original release that the mix needed a little more of this and that. Having recorded the Portishead cover after we figured, why not just add that, remix and re-release?
Nick: It's not the size of your band that counts, it's how you use it.
Will: Which of the band's songs is your favorite and why?
Brendan: Hard to say, cause I like them all for different reasons. "Waking Time" is one of my favorites to play live. But I would say "L'appel du Vide", the first single we released off our forthcoming album, would have to be my current favorite.
JD: I can honestly say I love playing all of our songs. Each one gives me a different vibe when I play them.
Nick: I joined the band after the first album was out for awhile, but it was "Myope" and "Waking Time" off that album that attracted me to them. This new album is all written by the current lineup, and our process is the most organic of any band I've been in... all four of us equally contribute bits and pieces and tailor the songs into their final product. My favorite off the soon-to-be-released album is probably "Highball"... it really showcases our individual contributions and the different styles we all come from, while still being cohesive and dynamic and flowing.

Will: What do you hope to achieve by creating this music?
Brendan: Obviously, part of the creating is a release. It's cathartic to get ideas out and build them into something greater than the sum of its parts. But ultimately, we just hope to share it and that people enjoy it. And if it could pay the bills someday, that wouldn't be so bad either.
JD:  Bigger stages, bigger crowds! To me, there is no greater feeling than the look and sound of a crowd being totally engulfed by your music.
Nick: I've been told there's a continent somewhere called Europe and some mythical island named Japan. I've never been to either so I'm curious to find out if they doom.
Will: Who are some of your biggest musical influences and why?
Brendan: Going back to learning guitar, I started with a base in blues music. My teacher, Ian, introduced me to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix early on, which are two of my most obvious influences. Buckethead is another huge influence. Not in a technical sort of way, but his sense of melody and his prodigious output is awe inspiring.
JD:  Funk, prog-rock, classic metal, speed metal, thrash and punk. Too many to name.
Nick: My mom got me into Led Zeppelin during high school, and my uncle and buddies got me on Metallica and Anthrax around the same time... those were my first albums I played to death. Somewhere in there I discovered Primus (I was late to the party) and knew I wanted to play bass from that point on.

Will: What's something you listen to that may surprise people?
Brendan: John Mayer's Where The Light Is is probably my favorite live performance video. His technical ability, combined with his feel and songwriting talent, is unbelievable. Songs like "Slow Dancing In A Burning Room" and "Gravity" are gorgeous tunes with a great blues flavor.
JD: I've always had a soft spot for 80s new wave.
Nick: Phil Collins has got me through some rough times
Will: Besides yourselves, name a band that more people should check out.
Brendan: I'd be remiss if I didn't mention JakeTheHawk, another Pittsburgh local. Those guys have a very original sound and put on a great live set.
JD: We've played with so many great bands in a very short amount of time, it's hard to choose just one. 
Nick: Our local pals in The Long Hunt are doing stuff I've never heard before that blows my mind. I'm continually humbled by being able to hang out with them and see them play new tunes on the reg. Curse The Son, Void King, and Demon Eye are some other great bands I've had the pleasure to share the stage with in the last year who I keep going back to listen to more.

Will: Tell us about the new album.
Brendan: We're very excited about the new album. It's a big step up for us in terms of songwriting and collaboration. We all have different interests and backgrounds musically, and I feel like that all comes through in different ways. It was a very collaborative effort.
JD: It's Horehound but on a whole new level. More confident, sonically better, and really heavy.
Nick: We started writing the songs on Holocene shortly after I joined the band and shortly after our second guitarist left. Rather than bringing on a new guitarist, Brendan and I added some magic to our guitar and bass rigs to fill up the sound... these new songs also have more dynamics, more space, I guess? It's a cool dichotomy that somehow makes it heavier overall. JD's playing some insane drum rhythms and Shy's really expanding the vocal style on these tunes. We try to write stuff that people haven't heard 1,000 times before. I'm hoping yinz dig it as much as we do!
Will: What do you think is the best new album of the last few years?
Brendan: Yob's Our Raw Heart was pretty unbelievable. Hard to think of another one with that much power that's been released recently. I'm hopeful for the alleged new Tool album, whenever that gets released.
JD: Gojira - Magma. The minimalist approach to this album made it extremely heavy. Also a fan of Killing Joke's Pylon album.
Nick: High Reeper and Tortuga both put out self titled albums in the last couple years that have stayed at the top of my playlist. They both popped up on YouTube autoplay randomly and really took hold of my earballs.

Will: What's your proudest moment as a musician?
Brendan: We got to record a live performance for a local radio station recently. We were able to invite our best fans, and our close friends and family. It was really great to play a good set for them, particularly my family, who've gotten to see me grow as a musician.
JD: To date, finally getting to play in NYC, and in the Bronx no less. Also, opening for one of my all-time fav's, Prong. On a more personal note, passing on a love for music to my kids.
Nick: I've been in several bands in the last 10 years that you just knew weren't going to go anywhere past a first album, if that. Being in Horehound for the last year and several months has been amazing. We all have day jobs; if it didn't stay fun, we wouldn't stay together. Just being where we are now; writing new music, playing out of state shows, meeting awesome new people, farting in tiny hotel rooms, it's all been amazing. So my proudest moment is right now.

Horehound links: Facebook, Bandcamp