Oklahoma band Horse Thief were recently discovered by Flaming Lips’ management and were signed to esteemed label Bella Union. The Americana quintet are scheduled to release their debut album Fear In Bliss on April 14th. Before the record’s out, A Music Blog, Yea? had the pleasure of speaking with Horse Thief’s Cameron Neal. Read our conversation below as we discussed the several meanings behind the title “Fear In Bliss”; the influence of Poverty, Youth, and Fear; being eccentric, persistent, and rhythmic; and ridiculous nicknames.
AMBY: Hello Horse Thief, welcome to AMBY. Please introduce yourselves to our readers.
Horse Thief: Hello AMBY, Cameron Neal here typing, we are a five-piece rock band from Oklahoma City, OK. We are currently about to release our debut record “Fear in Bliss”.
AMBY: How would you describe each member of the band in one word?
Horse Thief: Cameron Neal – Singer/Guitar: Dad, Cody Fowler – Bass: Eccentric , Alex Coleman – Lead Guitar: Persistent, Alberto Roubert – Drums: Rhythmic, Zach Zeller – Keyboards: Zany
AMBY: You release your debut album Fear In Bliss in April of this year. While recording the album, what was one of the best moments you had?
Horse Thief: Right at the beginning of writing this record we had just recently moved into a large warehouse space that used to be an old furniture store in downtown Oklahoma City. Spending late nights writing the record or just playing was the highlight for all of us. For the first few months the heater was broken and we were all wearing multiple jackets and drinking whiskey to keep warm.
We recorded the record in Los Angeles to remove ourselves from the city where we wrote the record, and to put into focus where this record came from. We did the record with Thom Monahan and most of the record was recorded in his studio at his house. He has about 6 cats that live in his backyard and while recording you’d step outside to get some air and be surrounded by these cats. Such a surreal place and sounds a little insane but it was quite charming. It seemed like when the music would start up in the studio they would all slowly come closer to the door. Maybe for food but I like to believe it was cause they wanted to hear the songs.
AMBY: When it comes to the title, what is the significance behind Fear In Bliss?
Horse Thief: It has several meanings behind it. One was the formation of this new line-up and not knowing how it would work. Knowing that it was the right choice to move forward but also terrifying not knowing what would come of it. The fear in something you know is good. It also stands for the struggle with anxiety and depression, knowing how to see the good in things. How sometimes you can feel hopeless and enveloped in fear but knowing that bliss will come soon and finding your way out of it. It’s a common theme throughout the record lyrically and musically.
AMBY: As far as songwriting goes on Fear In Bliss, what or who were your influences?
Horse Thief: Religion, Poverty, Youth, Fear, Love and Tribulation.
AMBY: Which other artists from Oklahoma should we look into?
Horse Thief: Aaron Pierce, Deerpeople, Colourmusic, Tallows.
AMBY: If you could trade places with another artist in the music industry for one day, who would it be?
Horse Thief: For me, personally, in an alternate universe I’d have to choose Jerry Garcia. For an infinite number of reasons, but to list them all would require another article.
AMBY: Which Horse Thief lyric is your favourite?
Horse Thief: “Trouble on the bridge underneath raging waters,
Never had to pass these encompassing problems,
Sitting in the mouth of a big tooth giant,
Looking out his lips and enjoying the silence”
AMBY: What has you most excited for the rest of 2014?
Horse Thief: Touring and getting to play to new audiences, getting to travel to cities we have never been to and play this record for people who have not heard of us yet.
AMBY: Lastly, what’s something about Horse Thief that nobody knows yet?
Horse Thief: We all call each other ridiculous names, listed below:
Alex Coleman: Checotah
Zach Zeller: Zellerstieno
Alberto Roubert : Berta
Cody Folwer: CoCo Pup
Cameron Neal: Shrimp Neal aka Dad
Thank you Horse Thief, for giving us your answers!
Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout