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Night Horse, ‘Perdition Hymns’ — New Album

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Los Angeles’ Night Horse aim to make their brand of rock ‘n’ roll timeless and classic, and there a lot of ways to avoid the trappings of time. Equipment, producers — like one who has worked with everyone from Pearl Jam to Isis — and a band’s spirit are just a few ways to achieve that goal. Their latest slab of rock, ‘Perdition Hymns,’ is out via Tee Pee on Aug. 3.

“To make it timeless, I believe you have to be true to the nature of a group’s sound and spirit,” vocalist Sam James Velde told Noisecreep. “I think it starts with writing well-crafted songs that speak to the heart of the group’s sound. Then picking the right songs that flow together in a cohesive manner. All the best records have an incredible thread that links one song to the other in some way. It creates that journey. Otherwise, you’re just putting a bunch of singles together, and to me that dates a record. An actual recording style can lend itself to being dated. I think a lot of that has to do with the producer’s approach.”

James continued, “Night Horse is a band heavily, heavily influenced by rock ‘n’ roll. With that said, we love all eras of rock ‘n’ roll and have never taken a ‘retro’ approach. When we started speaking with [producer] Matt Bayles, we liked the idea of working with someone that could capture the organic basis of [who we are] and what we’re doing. We’ve always wanted to be looked at as a modern rock band that definitely acknowledges our influences and where we came from. It’s important for us to make records that sound like Night Horse records. I think that attitude can help dictate a timeless sound. Because it’s one that the band rightfully owns and is solely responsible for.”

Guitarist Justin Maranga also weighed in, saying, “I think that a timeless record is one that is, ironically, just right for when it was made. It lets you in on something about the time and place the band was in when they wrote and recorded it. Something about the feeling that’s conveyed on a record like that is timeless. It brings people back to that time and place, whether or not they were ever even there. That’s a special thing, and in my opinion it can’t be consciously created; it’s just something that happens or it doesn’t. I think that’s the reason why so many bands have created one timeless record and were never able to do it again.”

‘Perdition Hymns’ was recorded in five days, which left little margin for error, retakes or sleep. It also required an arsenal of faith in the man twiddling the knobs. “Matt Bayles had to really take the role of drill sergeant,” Velde said. “There wasn’t a moment for down time. We just came in every morning at the crack of dawn and just started recording. We rarely even listened back to what we had recorded. We just put our faith in Matt when he would tell us it was good. Matt sat at the control board from the moment we got to the studio until we left late into the night. I only saw him get up to use the bathroom, and once to enjoy In-n-Out Burger for about four minutes! The time frame we had to make the record was so small we really had no other choice. It was kinda do or die.”

Maranga recalled a brief power outage during the process, where the lights went out but the equipment still functioned. “We just kept recording,” he said. “We went through about five hard drives before we were able to get a hold of the hard drive that Matt needed. He started to get pretty frustrated with us because every day we would bring in a different hard drive and none of them worked right. It was pretty ridiculous. We also kept having intonation issues between the two guitars and ended up using the same guitar on a number of parts where the two guitars had to be pitch perfect.”

Velde said the band is most happy when they are making music and keeping busy, so expect to see them laying waste to stages soon.

‘Perdition Hymns’ track list
1. ‘Confess to Me’
2. ‘Angel Eyes’
3. ‘Rollin’ On’
4. ‘Good Bye Gone’
5. ‘Black Clouds’
6. ‘Come Down Halo’
7. ‘Blizzard of Oblivion’
8. ‘Hard to Bear’
9. ‘Shake Your Blues’
10. ‘Choose Your Side’
11. ‘Same Old Blues’

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