31 July 2010 (released)
31 July 2010
Hailing from the Americas, Brooklyn-based City And Horses delivers a soft pop sound with a twist. Their last album 'I Don’t Want to Dream’ certainly allows us dream while listening to the eleven tracks on it. After reviewing it last month I was hugely interested in what this surprisingly pleasant musicians had to offer, I took it upon myself to find out who City And Horses really is, and their inspirations. I spoke to Marc Cantone, the witty and inspiring man behind the group.
How did City And Horses begin?
I've been writing songs since I was a teenager. I'd release them on cassette, then CDR and then mp3. All self distributed and all free. Then in 2007 I met Neil Lipuma of White Shoe Records and he wanted me to record a proper album that he could release. At first I was just going to record the songs myself like I've always done, but Neil encouraged me to form a band and play shows. At the time I wasn't very keen on playing shows (in fact, I'm still not keen) but he really pushed me to do it so I posted an ad of Craigslist and met most of my awesome band mates there.
How would you describe your musical style?
Generally I'd say late '60s British pop with a smattering of early '90s indie rock. But we like lots of different kinds of music so we try to write songs in a few different styles. We're recording a new album now that will run the gamut from the traditional indie pop we usually play to freak out jazz, anti-folk, and electronic. This doesn't sound very appealing but we try to insert strong melodies into each song so there's always something nice sounding to grab onto. I also wrote two duets which I'll sing with one of the most awesome singer-songwriters around today, Katie Costello. In fact, there's one song that Katie will sing by herself... a pleasant reprieve from my caterwauling.
What inspires you when writing lyrics?
Clever honesty. If you're just honest it can come off as corny. If you're just clever it can come off as glib. A combination of the two, I think, keeps both honest, so to speak. Lyrics are really the only thing left in pop music that can be almost totally original. There's no chord progression that hasn't already been written. There's no melody that doesn't already exist. But an interesting lyric can be wholly original.
It should also be said that I have no idea what I'm talking about.
Does New York have a big influence in your music?
Not really. I think a lot of that kind of thing comes from being part of a scene. We live in Williamsburg, the cultural epicenter of Brooklyn's music and fashion worlds, but we're not really part of the scene. First, we're too short. You have to be at least 5'10 to be noticed. Second, we're not very stylish. That alone keeps people at a distance. I've seen fashionable types cross the street to avoid walking on the sidewalk with us.
That said, we are part of a tiny scene that includes some of the best bands in the borough like The Exeter Popes, Scaresthedaylights, Cheer!, and The Secret History.
What do you think of the artists that do not write their own material?
That’s fine by me. They're probably awesome singers. That's hard enough to do without having to worry about writing the words and music, too. If that's not what that question was asking then I'm an idiot.
Which are your biggest musical influences?
Beatles, Kinks, Smiths, Belle and Sebastian, Sebadoh.
What music do you listen to on your ipods?
The above. Plus girl groups (Ronettes, Shirelle's, Shangri-Las) and American comedic genius Phil Hendrie.