Stewart from Bad Owl Presents had a chat with Trojan Horse guitarist, Nick, ahead of their upcoming StrangeForms appearance.
BAD OWL PRESENTS: Your latest album, The World Turned Upside Down, is one of the most diverse (and also proggiest!) records we've heard in a long, long time. Can you tell us a bit about your influences and the recording process?
NICK: The proggiest you've heard in a while? Haha, wow thanks! Well we tend to take ages with recording as we luckily have a studio of our own so it's all really just about taking our time and making sure we get the best out of each song. The last two records took three years each from starting the recording to the final mixes, and during that we end to rework a lot of material in and out of the studio as things morph and evolve as time goes on. We're really bad at not knowing when to stop, so as soon as someone has an idea its like "oooh lets add THIS!", that ends up being the 56th idea of the 800, in just one song.
As for influences, I think WTUD has a lot more depth in terms of us experimenting with sounds. Our first record was us learning what the Trojan Horse sound was ourselves as it was all recorded as we were writing each song, so there a definite innocent fumbling kind of thing going on with the first record. WTUD is us knowing what we're about and stretching ourselves further. Theres a lot more folky elements in it than i'd personally envisaged when we started writing, Elliot Smith, Nick Drake were on heavy rotation. As well as a lot of early electronic music such as the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, specifically Delia Derbyshire's output, that whole early experimentation with sounds and textures, and they'd have to build machines to make noises and physically cut up and stitch tape. I have a wholly romanticised version in my head of what I'm certain it was nothing like..haha...but thats a big influence, just "fuck it, lets make some weird noises that's music or isn't - it's just something good". Apart from all that we're all into stuff like At the Drive In, Black Flag, Converge, XTC, QOTSA, so we have that heavy element but with really catchy melodies strewn across what we do.
BOP: We hear that John from Cleft will be moonlighting on drums for your set. Are you worried that he might try to veer off into Cleft drum riffs halfway through a song?
NICK: John is an amazingly gifted musician, and I have every confidence that the electro shock collar we make him wear will keep him in check for the duration of our set. Nah, he's superbly talented and has really put his own spin on our stuff and kicked us into touch a few times when it comes to getting stuff tightened up and sounding crisp. †Plus theres been a few moments when we nearly broke him with some of the songs, so I mean, if you're breaking John from Cleft with songs, you know you're doing something very very right.
BOP: Trojan Horse are set to play ArcTanGent this year - are you looking forward to legitimately taking the stage (Nick famously stormed the stage during Cleft's set and starting singing down the microphone)?
Oh god, yeah, i try not to think about that *shudder*. Funnily enough I watched the video back of that, and it actually wasn't as cringe-worthy as I had imagined considering how inebriated I was by that point. But yes, its a festival that, since its inception, has been something we've really wanted to play as they do such a good job of it. It's going to be an honour to be part of it this year.†
...And i guess it will be nice to actually get on stage at ArcTanGent this year and not have to dodge a security guard trying to drag me off.
BOP: Trojan Horse will be playing on the Sunday at StrangeForms - are you planning on sticking around for the day or weekend and, if so, who are you looking forward to seeing?
NICK: Unfortunately we won't be able to get down on the Saturday due to blasted work commitments, but on the Sunday yeah its a strong lineup. To be quite honest I'm looking forward to seeing everyone (I know that's such a cop out answer) mainly because I've never managed to catch any of them live before for whatever reason so, yeah, it should be a good day to listen to some excellent noise in Leeds.
BOP: Trojan Horse are asked to curate their own gig - what four bands, past or present, would you have on the bill?
NICK: Argh, tough one that ok, so this is just me, sod the other guys; My War era Black Flag, Tears For Fears from The Songs From The Big Chair tour, Cleft because...Cleft, and the 1969 line up of King Crimson. I think that's a fair strong gig right there, I'd pay a fiver to see that.
BOP: And finally, other than StrangeForms, what are Trojan Horse's plans for the rest of 2015?†
Well we're deep into writing and recording album 3, and that's interesting as we're totally starting from scratch on this one and writing from nothing as opposed to having a few songs in the bank, so it's interesting to see where we'll take it.
Other than that we've got a few festivals line up for summer - Dot2Dot in Manchester, ArcTanGent, EppyFest. On top of that we'll be supporting the new Field Music off shoot band SLUG at Soup Kitchen in Manchester on 16th April, and a few of our own headline shows. Theres also a bit of a secret project in the works that we're not allowed to talk about yet, but fingers crossed if all goes ahead we'll be announcing that soon!
All the details for the gigs are on our website www.trojanhorseuk.com
Trojan Horse play StrangeForms at 8pm on Sunday 5th of April.
Weekend tickets cost £15 and can be purchased from Jumbo Records, Wharf Chambers or online at https://badowlpresents.bandcamp.com/merch
Day tickets cost £9 and can be purchased online at https://www.wegottickets.com/f/8765