Artist Interview: 6/25/2008  

An Evening with Calico Horse

Calico Horse is primed and ready to be the next band to break out of San Diego. On the eve of their CD Release show and West Coast tour, we sat down with them to discuss their musical backgrounds, influences, day jobs and karate lessons...

Calico Horse at The Luce Loft - Photo by Carly Ealey

Sezio: Go ahead and introduce yourselves...

Calico Horse: Petti, Matt, Tom and Emily.

SZ: How did you guys start playing music together?

Emily: Petti and I met in college.  We were both art students at UCSD.  We started playing music and eventually formed The Clockwork Army, which was cool... I guess.


Petti: The previous band was always a struggle finding the right members to play with.  It pretty much just fizzled out.  


Matt: Tom and I come from the so called "indie rock" genre, more guitar driven, a little bit louder.  We were in different bands, but on the same label, and have toured together quite a bit.


Goodbye Blue Monday played a show with Clockwork Army in 2004 at some random art college.  I remember really liking them and I kept it in my mind for a long, long time.  I sent Emily a Myspace message to see if she was playing music, and I kind of strong armed into getting together.


Tom: I would get emails from Matt all the time saying "this is it man, come on we're not doing anything, lets go try this."  We were in a dry spell, which is weird, cause we've always had bands.  My band was fizzling out at the time and I think Matt's was too.

SZ: Tell us about the album you guys just put out. 

Petti: (When Clockwork Army ended) We had about five tracks for an album. Basically, Emily had to go in and finish the album on her own.


Emily: Which at first I was freaked out about. It was an interesting process, going in there with a general idea but pretty much just figuring it out along the way.


Emily: We recorded with Paul Jenkins from The Blackheart Procession. I started in his house, which was insane. You walk into his home, and he has crazy shit everywhere. It was dark with weird paintings, and immediately I was thinking "This is going to be weird, but awesome." He didn't have a talk back mic, and his studio was in another room and I was in his living room, so he would end up just yelling at me through the walls... it was hilarious.

Story time - Photo by Carly Ealey

SZ: Is song writing a disciplined thing for you?


Emily: Not at all, I have only sat down at a piano and said "I'm gonna write a song right now", I've only done that once.  I don't sit and think about lyrics for weeks at a time, and I totally respect who can and have the patience to make it perfect.  Most of the lyrics are just what came out right when that song was written.  I don't know if thats a good or a bad thing, but it's a thing.

Happy Placebo Syringe Day

SZ: Walk us through Happy Placebo Syringe Day... Do you have an older sister? Did you use to do ballet? Explain the line about wooden boxes...

Emily: I don't have an older sister. I never did ballet as a kid, I was mostly into playing piano and sports.  Also did karate.  I have some pretty sweet photos of me doing some awesome kicks and whatnot.  


Basically, placebo is an ironic song.  I like the idea of just an upbeat song with strange, almost creepy lyrics.  I guess if I'm gonna write a happy song in a major key, i have to pair it with an element of sadness. The song is about how we do dumb things to impress other people who may seem so much better, older, bigger, more experienced than you in things.  You may get a type of satisfaction from receiving compliments and acceptance from these people, but it's like a placebo pill:  you take it, you feel better, but you haven't actually done anything to better yourself.  It's just a mind trip.  We've all struggled with trying to fit in.  I'm probably still struggling with it today, but just ignore it.  In the end, we all end up in wooden boxes buried deep in the ground. 

CD Release Show at the Casbah - Photo by Carly Ealey

All four members of Calico Horse spoke about Radiohead's influence on them personally in the video portion of the interview. They recently recorded a cover of Idioteque, have a listen...


Calico Horse wraps up their first tour Thursday, June 26th at The Belly Up Tavern.  The night should start around 8pm, also on the bill The Album Leaf and Manuok. Find Calico Horse on Myspace.

Tags: casbah, interview, Calico Horse, Matt Mournian, Luce Loft, Sezio Session, San Diego, Emily Neveu, Dave PettiJohn, Tom Peart, Paul Jenkins

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