INTERVIEW: Behold A Pale Horse | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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At the present moment, the music scene within the North East is arguably the most diverse it ever has been. Behold A Pale Horse can easily be considered amongst the pinnacle of all this diversity. Their raw and intense sound – a dense fusion of psych, kraut, neo-folk, dance and garage rock ‘n’ roll – was borne out of the desire to make music that tapped into all the things that made them love music in the first place, instead of bowing down to conventions or trends. “Over the years my perception of what ‘success’ is has changed. It used to be getting signed and touring and whatnot, but now ‘success’ to me is being able to make a record, put it out on vinyl, and just get it out there for people to hear.”

This sentiment from guitarist Kev Douglas, is one that is shared by John Nellist (vocals), Ed Blazey (bass), Rob Blazey (synths) and Matty Stoker (drums); they’ve all had their fair share of experience in bands, and they’re all now in the position where they’re ready to follow their passion instead of the rulebook. Matty rounds off their philosophy perfectly: “When I was in other bands, there were times when we’d play some songs and I’d think ‘for fuck’s sake man, I can’t be arsed with this one again’. But that never happens with this band, because we’re all doing exactly what we want to do; there’s no hierarchy or model to follow. We just all make the music we want to make.”

Over the years my perception of what ‘success’ is has changed. It used to be getting signed and touring and whatnot, but now ‘success’ to me is being able to make a record, put it out on vinyl, and just get it out there for people to hear

This reckless experimentation pays off in their full-formed and energising debut EP. Phenomenally produced, it has a scuzzy, bold, primal and daring sound that acts as a flawless mission statement with a majestic blend of sonic ruthlessness. Ed and Matty make for an utter powerhouse of a rhythm section, whilst Rob conjures up enthralling soundscapes that complement Kev’s dextrous, subversive fretwork. John Nellist’s vocals are as powerful an instrument as any other; he constantly twists and manipulates his voices in brilliantly unconventional ways, foregoing the more tired clichés of the frontman, and instead exploring off-kilter vocal techniques, such as drone and Steve Reich-esque repetition. The music comes to them naturally, sometimes subconsciously, through jams: “The music is rarely not spontaneous, even mistakes that we make during jams can end up becoming influential to the songs that eventually come out of them.”

Although it was all written in around six weeks, the EP took nearly a year to perfect, as Rob explains: “The EP was an educational experience, but without it I don’t think we would’ve realised how great our camaraderie as a band is. It proved a lot to us.”

Behold A Pale Horse have the kind of chemistry that many bands would kill for; and their manic refusal to stick to one genre never comes off as self-indulgent. They succeed because their priorities are in the right order: the music comes first, and what bloody amazing music it is.

Behold A Pale Horse launch their EP at The Cluny 2, Newcastle on Thursday 14th July.

 

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