Spook The Horses make sounds that promote deep introspective thought, in every conceivable sense. While their recent release, Rainmaker, sees the Wellington-based outfit moving away from dense, engulfing guitars to more spacious tones and diverse instrumentalisation, the innate sense of urgency that brought them together is still at their core.
Supporting Ufomammut and Monolord on October 3 at the San Fran with mates Earth Tongue, we chatted to frontman Callum Gay as part of our Two Minutes With series.
Describe your music in five words or less.
Heavy music for heavy moods.
What’s going on in the world of Spook the Horses?
We're currently sitting on a finished new record, which will come out soon. We're also writing a lot and playing a few shows here and there—usually only when something cool comes up, like playing with Ufomammut and Monolord!
What motivates you to make music?
Compulsion. We all suffer in our own ways if we haven't played in a while. We've all been playing for long enough to have it be part of our lives now, so we can't escape it—even when we aren't feeling especially motivated.
What have been the high and low points of your musical experiences so far?
My personal low point is being responsible for no less than three false starts at a show in the very early days of the band. My guitar was chronically out-of-tune because I'd restrung without stretching the strings out afterwards. It wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't assumed it couldn't possibly be me causing the problem and barrelled forward regardless. I eventually figured out the whole thing was my fault but, by then, there was no reclaiming the mood. The show was very average.
My high point was definitely packing and hand-numbering all the Rainmaker LPs. It's very satisfying spending all that time and effort on something to then have boxes and boxes of super heavy vinyl show up at your door. It makes you feel like you're making good life choices.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
Mgla, Plebeian Grandstand, the new Clutch album, the new Terra Tenebrosa album and Leprous. I realise being into Leprous is almost completely unjustifiable, but here we are.
If you were stranded on a desert island, which member of the band would get eaten first? And why?
Probably Max (Telfer), just because he has the least transferrable skills in a survival situation. He's a digital VFX guy and has probably never used a rock to make something useful out of another rock.
Here’s an opportunity to bitch about something, whether music related or not. What really pisses you off?
Those stupid forced laughs you hear some black metal vocalists do. You aren't some fucking tyrant prince; you aren't going to convince me you are. Nothing destroys the dark mood you've been creating like suddenly acting like a Scooby Doo villain. I'm prepared to suspend my disbelief and fully buy that Mark from down the road might be channeling some sincere evil, but acting like the elves have walked right into your nefarious plot? Fuck off.
You’re putting together your perfect gig featuring Australian/New Zealand artists. Who would you get to play and where? Feel free to include acts/DJs/bands/venues that no longer exist.
The Drones are easily the top of my list. I'm mostly out of touch though, so I don't know everyone. I'd love to check out Portal at some stage. Gatherer are kiwi-expats, but have been in Australia long enough to be locals now. They always raise the bar every time I see them.