INTERVIEW: Black Horse Motel

Hi Galen, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?


Can you talk to us more about your song “Bones”?

Sure, we’re really proud of that track.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

It’s a weird mishmash of ideas and images really. It feels like every day’s news cycle has some new horror being introduced to a kids life. But the story in that song really got going with the first verse. (Oh god, I’m so sorry that feels so obvious, but a lot of times I don’t write the first verse first.) Anyway, my grandfather had this white pickup truck that slowly rotted in the driveway for years. When I started writing the song I was just trying to describe what it was like as a kid to sit in that pickup truck. The idea of the broken windshield and why it would be broken, kicked the song in its final direction.

Any plans to release a video for the track?

We haven’t gotten serious about it yet, but I do have a dream plan for a VR ready 360 music video where the story is being played out while the band appears to be playing in a corner. So you might be watching the band, but then the father figure might storm past you with murder in his eyes.

The single comes off your new album Parable – what’s the story behind the title?

Hopefully without letting you have too much a view behind the curtain I’ll say that picking the album title was ridiculously difficult for us. Other ideas seemed too directly drawn from songs on the album, or too much of an inside joke. In the end we knew we wanted to get at the idea that the songs were all sort of cautionary tales. I’ll twist my invisible handlebar mustache and say I was pushing hard for Apologue, but Parable felt more true to what was going on.

How was the recording and writing process?

We’re a band that really performs under pressure. We had a studio date lined up and then had to finish writing everything in a few months. When we finally got the recording studio, everything really came together. It was honestly kind of magical to be in that space and watch each other put the best of themselves into a permanent state.

What role does Philly plays in your writing?

Philadelphia is such an incredible place to just experience everything that’s going on in the world right now. We’ve got class issues, race issues, gender issues, ancestry issues, and then right on top of all that we’ve got this amazing us versus everyone else thing that somehow holds it all together. You can stand on one street corner and watch people at the top of the food chain and people who have been kicked to the bottom. You’ve got meth labs, opioids, craft beers, farmer’s markets, small batch distillers, corrupt politicians and folks trying to make a difference. You can talk to life-long residents of the same neighborhood who are holding on to the sacred stories of their street’s past and new blood moving in in search of something more vibrant than they grew up with. We’re classic rock, and country; public radio and the morning zoo.

What made you want to write a somewhat dark record?

I think we gravitate towards darker themes. We really love finding that line where you’re presenting discomforting stories in a danceable way. Even though the songs on PArable are fictional tales, the overall sentiment of the album visits a somber time in our lives when a lot of things were changing for a lot of us personally – divorce, death, loss, grieving – and that is reflected in the music. 2016 was generally a wash for most people, but there happened to be a significant amount of personal turmoil within the band. A lot of it centered around relationships and ‘home’. What makes a home? What makes a home? What makes family? How long do you stand by someone to your own detriment? How do you find the strength to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, etc.

We’ve been writing new material since then that still has shadows of that dime, but it’s continuing to evolve into difference spectrum. You ride the wave of life. Sometimes you can’t see the lights the end of the tunnel and sometimes, things are absolutely amazing and you couldn’t be happier.

What aspect of anxiety and life struggles did you get to explore on this album?

There’s so much of this album that lives in that precipice of accepting one’s adulthood. There’s that huge sense of looking back and seriously confronting whatever skeletons were abandoned in the rush to get out of there.

Any plans to hit the road?

Oh, yeah. Philadelphia can’t be the only amazing place to be. We want to see it all, and let everyone hear.

What else is happening next in Black Horse Motel’s world?

We’re already frantically working on the next set of recordings.


T:  @blackhorsemotel

I:  @blackhorsemotel

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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