Interview / Ryan Kennedy / Horsebeach
Recreating the classic indie jangle of the C86 era with Horsebeach, and going somewhere a little more Balearic (to be honest the C86 bands are Balearic for me) as Half Silk for Aficionado, we threw a few questions at Ryan Kennedy.
Where are you from?
Where are you based?
Still here in Manchester, living in a small flat in Chinatown, it’s great here!
What made you start?
I’ve been messing about with whatever instruments I could find since I was five. I learnt piano first then at some point ended up with a guitar. There’s something about the structure of scales & notes on a fretboard that make sense to me so that’s when I started to feel comfortable writing. Horsebeach started about two and a half years ago, born out of dropping out of university & spending too much time by myself.
What makes you continue?
Loads of things but mainly having people appreciating the music I create. I try and write the kind of music that I want to hear myself so most of our listeners are probably into the same stuff as me. It’s nice to have that support and know that when I create something new I have an audience out there to share it with.
How would you describe your sound?
I think the “Horsebeach” sound to me is a reflection of the hazy American guitar-pop sound but filtered through the red bricks and cobbled streets of Manchester. Not quite sunny or dark but maybe teetering indecisively somewhere in-between.
When I reviewed the Horsebeach LP I made comparisons to C86 “shambling” bands, The Wake, Primal Scream, Stockholm Monsters, The Smiths, The Bodines, Metro Trinity. Early Cure. Were any of these groups an influence on you?
Yes you’ve hit the nail on the head there! The Smiths, Early Cure, Three Imaginary Boys era, & The Bodines are all up there in my influences along with loads of other C86 and similar bands like Field Mice, The Clean, and a lot of contemporary bands too.
Who would be your guitar heroes?
Would probably have to be between Matt Mondanile of Ducktails / Real Estate & Connan Mockasin for the reason that they both are experts at smashing out perfect guitar melodies.
Are there any other groups making this melodic guitar-led Indie rock at the moment? In the review I raised Real Estate as possibles, but are there any others that I should look out for?
Yeah there’s loads of contemporary stuff thats inspired me whilst writing the LP I was Listening to loads of Foxygen, Mac Demarco, Twerps, The Mantles, Dream Boys, The Prophet Hens, Wild Nothing, Magic Bullets, TOPS, Family Portrait, and loads of other stuff. Guitar-pop is still going strong!
Where is your favourite place to play / party / other?
I think my favourite place to play so far was the Deaf Institute, the space has a nice sound and I think it looks great too. Followed closely by The Castle (both of these venues are in Manchester), it’s so small but it has a really nice atmosphere when there’s enough people in there. I don’t party very often now, you’ll instead find me hunched over my guitar in my flat, but when I do I’ll hang out at places like Common or Soup Kitchen.
What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of the LP so far. The album is made of songs written over about a year so the physical release of the LP brings everything together into a snapshot of the sound, how I was feeling and all the time I’ve put into the songs. All finally coming together to make something I can hold and other people can hold and hopefully enjoy.
Who are you working with?
I’ve been working with Ruf Dug recently, just hanging out and capturing some jams. There maybe a new project in there somewhere. I’m also looking into doing a release with a guy called “Rain Paints” from Japan, a split 7″ perhaps. I`ve not worked out the details yet. Of course I have to mention that I’ve got the irreplaceable Jason Boardman managing us & playing records at most of our gigs too.
What are Horsebeach`s plans for 2015?
As for releases, hopefully I’ll have the second album ready for late August. We’ll be doing some shows around that time to support the album launch as well.
Half Silk`s “Delicious Crime” is one of my favourite tracks from the last couple of months. Moonboots told me that you wrote and recorded this in an afternoon. Is this true?
Thank you! Yeah that’s right, sometimes I can slave over a song for months and other times it’s just all there and you just have to get it down quick enough before you forget! “June” was done the same way. “Delicious Crime” and other Half Silk stuff I’m working on is really fun to do when I’ve been spending so much time writing “songs” in the traditional sense with structure and lyrics, for Horsebeach. “Delicious Crime” just involved getting the beat down then being able to freely improvise over the top.
Are all of the instruments on the track played by you?
Yeah, the bass was the most fun to do. I had to hold back from the track becoming one long bass solo though! I’d been wanting to do a track with that particular drum beat for a while but it was never quite right for Horsebeach.
I can hear the Style Council in there, but what / who were you thinking of when you made “something a bit more Balearic” for Aficionado?
I was listening to loads of Eleventeen Eston & Andras Fox at the time so it was great to actually end up on a record alongside one of them. I was also maybe channeling some inspiration from Uku Kuut & Thundercat.
Will there be any more from Half Silk?
Absolutely, I’m working on a few tracks at the minute. I recently got a Roland JX-3P & an old Casiotone so that should open up some possibilities. Watch this space.