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Belgium’s best-kept guitar secret. Up until today, at least.
Some bands are stuck for years. Others manage to immediately set everything ablaze. Horses on Fire resolutely chose the latter. These young foals are stamping with impatience to light your fire. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
Somewhere in 2008. Two graphic designers can no longer avoid each other. Firstly because they are working together to animate Kabouter Wesley, a short animation movie starring a gnome. Secondly, because something else is lurking around the corner: their passion for music. One graphic designer, let’s call him Thijs, already travelled across at least two continents with Aborted, a renowned metal band. Meanwhile he has left that band -without hard feelings- and is looking to broaden his musical horizons. Right at that moment, the other graphic designer, Michélé, sings a tune that reaches Thijs’ ear. A spark ignites. It’s the start of a romance that is lived especially at nightfall. During the day it’s all about Kabouter Wesley, the gnome, but in the evening the real fairy tale begins. Is this the beginning of a new band?
Back to Michélé. He and his brother Alessandro, with whom he shares the same Italian roots, are more than eager to respond to Thijs’ interest. The purpose: a new band. October has come and somewhere in the distance we can hear a galloping horse. A freshly graduated bass player joins the company and Ghent becomes their operating base. Horses on Fire is born. On their signposts we can read names such as Queen, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top and The Raconteurs. “Didn’t Guns’N Roses’Appetite for Destruction also made it as one of the best rock records ever?” says the bass player, while dreamily fondling his tattoo. Anthony is definitely the band’s walking music-encyclopaedia.
And then things start to go really fast. In 2009 Horses on Fire make it to the finals of the Global Battle of the Bands, a talent show that leads the band from Merksem to London. In the legendary Scala, the Belgian band becomes one of the favorites, but they can’t beat the Asian avant-garde band that eventually wins the vote of the jury. No great matter, because after London the band meets up in Aarschot, where they dive into Red Tape Studio’s for a self-financed demo. Monsieur Paul (Triggerfinger) puts his ear to listen, and likes what he hears. This only stirs up the fire and two recording sessions later, the songs of their debut album take shape, with the help of producer Ian Clement (Wallace Vanborn). These facts take place in the Acid Avenue Studio in Voorde. Meanwhile, Michélé’s voice becomes more versatile and Thijs’ riffs even tighter. The person responsible for the final touch of this promising band is Maarten Heynderickx, also responsible for Paradisiac of Millionaire - another fantastic project.
“We recorded everything live, at a brisk pace and with a lot of vintage material” says Thijs. “A large part was also recorded on tape, blame it on our love of the seventies. As a band we prefer the sound of The White Stripes to the sound of Muse, composed of hundreds of layers of sound.” Michélé explains that his lyrics contain quite some anger. It’s the result of a difficult year, you know what I mean. So yes, the lyrics somewhat reflect personal experiences, but every listener has the right to interpret them the way he/she wants to.
What it sounds like? Well, if you listen to the single Draw the line, you’ll hear a dash of Dan Auerbach, a pinch of Black Mountain, but more than anything, you’ll hear a song when played live, only gets better and better. (“We want to have a live reputation”). If you listen to Glassmade giants, you’ll be introduced with the frontman’s a head voice floating over a groovy southern rock rhythm. If you put on Season of Hate, you’ll be drumming along the rhythm on your steering wheel in a blink. That’s what it sounds like.
They’re all songs that seem to find a balance between brute force and bluesy bridges, between machismo and melody, pop and rock, pathos and a wink, and between, yes indeed, roses and guns. Songs you can take to war. Or to a record company. “We’ve been shopping for record labels for weeks”, they say in one voice. “We visited a lot of label companies, but in the end our gut feeling told us that V2, an indie label, would be the best choice. Especially since they already knew all of our song titles after only one visit. Even though the label is very selective in signing with Belgian bands, we could feel we weren’t the only interested party.”
The untitled debut album of Horses on Fire will be released on February 6th, 2012, on V2 records. Can you feel the fire?
HORSES ON FIRE are:
Thijs De Cloedt - music, guitar
Michélé De Feudis - music, lyrics, vocals, guitar
Alessandro De Feudis - music, drums
Anthony Statius - music, bass guitar
V2 RECORDS BENELUX
BOOKINGS BELGIUM: Peter Verstraelen - email@example.com
BOOKINGS NETHERLANDS: Rock 'n Roll Highschool firstname.lastname@example.org
PUBLISHING: Strengholt Music Group
Released by: V2 Benelux
Release date: Feb 7, 2012