Tuesday, May 9, 2017

All You Ever Talk About is Vocals - The Next Stage of Horse Mode

Old horse, new tricks. Horse Mode dishes on latest EP (image credit).

The members of Billerica’s Horse Mode harnessed the DIY spirit roughly six years ago with a gruff, 6-song demo and have since turned their passion project into a true hustle, scoring a recent recording opportunity at Converse Rubber Tracks, executing a 9-stop spring tour stretching from Brooklyn to Montreal and making a master decision that will keep the band competitive in the local music scene.

“To be honest, you can only hear, "You guys should add vocals", so many times before you have to consider it.”

Although the band dabbled with vocals during live performances, Horse Mode was established as an “unconventional, instrumental rock and roll band”, recording their debut LP ‘All You Ever Talk About is Jazz’ (2015 Ocelot Records) as a strictly lyric-free record. Despite the lack of audible content, the 9-track composition flowed effortlessly through a 32 minute melodious journey. Unapologetically it made our Spotify’s list of top listened to albums of 2016 (#1 instrumental band to zone out to IMO - get it fo' free ::at a name your price donation:: on Bandcamp today).

But the handicap of being an instrumental band within a quick churn local music scene can hinder the potential for a viable spot on a show or competition, including the notorious Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble which has historically excluded all-instrumental bands to comply with judging criteria.

By the end of the year, Horse Mode had positioned itself to gain new opportunities in 2017 by releasing their first recording featuring vocals, a 3-song EP entitled ‘Defenestrator’.

“To be honest, you can only hear, "You guys should add vocals", so many times before you have to consider it,” Ryan Sunderland (drums) explains. “[The band] continues to write songs instrumentally first, but incorporates vocals when we feel they fit. We’ve also added lyrics to a handful of previously released instrumental tracks that we now play live.” Experimenting with writing lyrics to older material, Horse Mode plans to enhance and re-release five songs from ‘All You Ever Talk About is Jazz’ later this year.

Based 25 minutes outside of Boston, Horse Mode has been riding the wave of the North Shore music scene resurgence. Sunderland describes the band’s good fortune to have always had a home in Lowell. “When we first began to play in the area we were always welcome and well received at The Last Safe and Deposit Company with Dee Tension booking shows. Since then we've found a new spot at UnchARTed on Market Street. Michael Dailey has setup a beautiful spot with art, food and talented local musicians.”

In addition to representing the local music scene, Horse Mode alumni have also founded Rock ‘n’ Lowell Fest, an all-day, all-ages event featuring a mix of area and out-of-area bands, so far celebrating two sessions at UnchARTed. “We hosted the second bi-annual event in March and are already planning for the fall. It's a day of music (10 or so bands), pizza (try the Mushy Goat), beer and just a killer time supporting the scene. There are so many great bands from Lowell that we simply can't list them all.”

Catch Horse Mode during The Big Sway release show at UnchARTed on May 19. Buy your copy of 'Defenestrator' as a digital download for $2 or CD for $5 on Bandcamp and follow Horse Mode on Facebook for additional show information.

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