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20th October 2008
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(Nathan Winneke on HORSE the band's intermediary appeal)
"We’re too big to be underground; we’re too underground to be big."
Erik, Dave, and Nathan on their tour bus - Rock City, Nottingham, 20th October 2008
Photograph copyright © 2008 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
METAL DISCOVERY: I gather you got the Dragonforce tour support two years ago because they’re fans of yours?
ERIK ENGSTROM: I think a couple of them.
DAVID ISEN: He writes all the songs.
MD: How was your music received by Dragonforce audiences?
NATHAN WINNEKE: Maybe. Maybe at one point they were.
EE: That was when we got heckled the most was that tour!
NW: I actually met a lot of kids who’d never heard us until that tour which was cool, but we got a lot of just dead faces. But I actually caught the keyboard player walking along the hall one night singing to himself - “I’m not a robot…”…so I think he’s a cool dude!
MD: Are you fans of Dragonforce at all?
NW: No! But the keyboard player’s a cool dude! The drummer really helped out our drummer at the time who didn’t know anything about anything at all who we subsequently kicked out. But he was a real helping hand to that young boy that we called a man.
EE: Sam is cool too.
NW: Oh, Jack Sparrow, yeah! Did they kick him out yet? I know they were talking about it.
NW: Oh, they’re not gonna kick him out. He’s the fucking coolest one probably.
EE: I think there are some other people in that band, but don’t really remember them at all.
NW: Their tour manager kind of shit in our face, but that wasn’t them right, that was their tour manager. I think he liked me though; I think he liked me.
EE: If I was Karl, I would shit in our face just because I could and it would be funny I guess! But Nathan wore his Hawaiian shirt on stage buttoned up wrong and then played the whole set in it, and it was really funny. And then, later, Karl was like - “have you guys seen a Hawaiian shirt anywhere?” - and he didn’t know where it was, and that was funny!
NW: It was like covered in beer and sweat and missing a button, and we thought it was a left behind shirt! [laughs]
MD: I’ve read you have a dislike for tour managers you say on your MySpace page, apart from your own….but the tour manager contact I was given for this interview was you actually so…[looking at Erik]
EE: [laughs] I hate myself! Yeah, I mean, you know, tour managers - what are they really for?
MD: To manage tours?!
DI: They’re like a secretary, but for some reason their name has manager in it.
NW: They’re a laziness band-aid for bands who don’t chose to do it themselves. Which is awesome because it sucks to do all that shit! You’ve just gotta find a sweet dude…or lady.
MD: When you toured with GWAR last year, were there any attempts to out-crazy each other on tour because they seem like nutters…or was it all quite sane?
NW: Oderus Urungus said I was a sick bastard!
EE: [laughs]
NW: Does that count for anything? I used to listen to GWAR when I was fourteen; me and my friend would listen to this girl we knew pee in the bathroom, and we would listen to GWAR all day and then listen to her pee and it was just kinda like a joint experience!
MD: You associate GWAR with girls pissing?
NW: Well because it happened all on the same day - it was kinda like stealing from Target; listening to girls pee; making fun of my friend’s Christian mother…
EE: They’re not really that crazy though.
DI: They’re all like forty years old, what are they gonna do?
NW: They’re very mature dudes…
MD: Crazy on stage, but…
NW: Yeah, their show’s crazy, but they’re like just real regular dudes who are just cool to hang out with and they’re not like a bunch of fucking mutant freaks or something.
MD: For those who have yet to discover HORSE the band and who will be reading this, why should people go and check you guys out?
EE: ….[long pause]….I really don’t know!
NW: Yeah dude, you got me on that one! I mean, we don’t look that good; we’re definitely not part of something that’ll get you laid…I like the songs a lot, that’s a good reason. The shows can be kind of entertaining, you know, exciting, funny.
EE: We’re the coolest band in the world!
NW: We’re too big to be underground; we’re too underground to be big. You know, we cancel ourselves out.
MD: What have been your proudest achievements with HORSE the band so far, and are you happy with the progression of the band as at 2008?
NW: I am!
EE: You know like once you do something it doesn’t seem like anything special to you anymore ‘cause you actually did it? That’s like kind of how I always feel. Like I guess I know we’ve done some cool things, especially the world tour, but it doesn’t seem like anything to me, and it just seems like I’m 27 and can’t afford the rent, and like get really bored and depressed on tour, and see other bands succeeding more than us that I think our…I don’t know…I just wish I could pay my rent! [laughs]
NW: On the other hand, I’m a 31 year old failed Starbucks employee who pulled his life out of a near-suicide to go into exotic places, and every day I’m ecstatic I’m not dead or at Starbucks. And er…I think this is the best thing possible for me….although I might be an alcoholic now!
DI: At least you’re not on meth anymore!
NW: Oh for real! That’s what got me into this band!
MD: Finally, what are your aims for HORSE the band in the future, or do you not really think about the future at all?
DI: We’re from the future!
MD: I’ve read this, yeah!
DI: [laughs]
NW: I wanna write an album that I think is awesome from head to toe and people agree with me…and then play it live the way it sounds or it should sound. That’s my goal.
EE: I want to have more inspiring shows than we do now. Like now, it’s like one in every ten really feels like it was a fun time. Like every show used to feel fun, you know, but now it’s just like unless the show is really awesome you know that it sucked. [laughs]
MD: How about yourself? […to David]
DI: I guess both of those things would be nice.
MD: How have the shows on the tour been so far in terms of audiences and reactions to your band?
DI: It’s kinda like pretty stupid ‘cause it’s the number of people in a crowd that would be fun in a small venue, but it’s in a huge venue and there’s like a fucking six foot barrier between you and the crowd, so it’s like the big show atmosphere but with small crowd numbers.
NW: It’s kinda like practising making out in the mirror ‘cause all you see is darkness, and you’re trying to rev up a bunch of people you can’t see and that aren’t saying anything because they don’t understand what you’re saying because you’re speaking broken Californian slang so fast.
DI: Or complete gibberish at the top of your voice! [laughs]
NW: Which I often, you know…it’s inspiration.
MD: Rock City’s a bit of a shithole, so it seems like a small-big venue I think.
EE: Isn’t this the best venue in the whole of the UK? That’s what it says up there.
MD: By reputation!
NW: We did a good show here last time.
MD: You played in the main hall or the basement?
EE: [laughs] The basement!
DI: All the twelve year olds were making out with each other next door at the dance floor!
NW: Oh, that was so sweet!
MD: That’s a general crowd at Rock City.
NW: If you smashed both of them together they’d still be like seven years younger than me!
MD: Well, thank you very much for your time.
EE: Have you seen the Refused DVD?
MD: The…?
EE: Refused…the band from Sweden?
MD: No, no.
EE: Well if you ever watch that, it’s pretty much the same story as this band except we’re like three quarters of the way through the DVD!
MD: That’s a good analogy then for where you’re at in 2008?
EE: Yeah!
MD: Cool!
[Nathan belches loudly]
EE: Gross! [laughs]
Official HORSE the band Website:
Official HORSE the band MySpace:
Secret Rhythm of the Universe (2001)
R. Borlax (2003)
The Mechanical Hand (2005)
Ferret Music Website:
A Natural Death (2007)
Thanks to Hannah Sylvester for recording the interview.
Thanks to Andy Turner for arranging the interview.
Cheers to Nathan, Erik, and Dave for the interview and their hospitality!